New and notable appointments at Virgin Media Ireland, FitzGerald Nurseries, CCAB, ifo Institute, and Screen Ireland

Appointments | Thu 16 Jul | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: Andrew Byrne, TV Project Manager, Screen Ireland

This week sees new and notable appointments at Virgin Media Ireland, FitzGerald Nurseries, CCAB, ifo Institute, and Screen Ireland

Paul Higgins, Vice-President of Commercial,
Virgin Media Ireland

Pictured: Paul Higgins, Vice-President of Commercial, Virgin Media

Virgin Media Ireland has appointed Paul Higgins as Vice-President of Commercial at Virgin Media. Paul Higgins has been with Virgin Media for five years, most recently in the position of Consumer Director.  Prior to joining Virgin Media, Paul held senior level commercial positions in the Telecommunications, Media, Technology and FMCG sectors in Ireland, the UK and Australia. In his new board–level appointment, Paul will oversee all aspects of Virgin Media’s commercial strategy including sales, marketing, product delivery, and digital channels and will continue to drive growth in the company’s entertainment, connectivity and mobile business.

Tony Hanway, CEO of Virgin Media Ireland, said: “At Virgin Media we are big believers in promoting talented people from within and Paul has demonstrated that he delivers superior results through teamwork and a laser like focus on  Customers.  He joins our senior management team at exactly the right time as we continue to keep Ireland connected, informed and entertained through our market beating products and services.”

Paul Higgins, Vice-President of Commercial, Virgin Media Ireland, said: “Virgin Media has a fantastic set of assets; our brand, our network and all our front line teams while our products and services have never been more important or being used more widely than they are today. I’m looking forward to being part of the next chapter in the Virgin Media growth story as we’ve an exciting opportunity to deliver great products and experiences that our customers will truly value.”

Erick Westerman, General Manager,
FitzGerald Nurseries

Erick Westerman, General Manager, FitzGerald Nurseries

Internationally experienced plant production expert Erick Westerman is FitzGerald Nurseries’ new General Manager, and his wealth of knowledge and experience in the optimal production of young plants for international markets is a huge boost to the expanding, export-led, family owned enterprise.

The Dutch-born specialist joins the company having spent the last five years as General Manager of multinational plant company Florensis, in Ethiopia. Welcoming Erick into the Beotanics group, founder and Group CEO, Pat FitzGerald, highlighted the need in these challenging times to remain positive, upskill the team and keep a firm focus on its critical export market which accounts for 95% of FitzGerald Nurseries’ sales across more than 30 countries.

“While we are going through a very difficult period with lots of uncertainties, we are continuing with our plan to expand and invest,” Pat FitzGerald said. “Now is not the time to lose commitment. With Erick to the fore, our company will be more prepared to reverse the negative, medium-term market insecurities that prevail and to introduce efficiencies and cost savings – while guiding our staff towards maximising their own efforts,” Mr FitzGerald added.

In April of last year, the Beotanics group announced significant investment into its focus on plant-based foods and this move strengthens this ambition further.

Pat and Noirin FitzGerald and staff have welcomed Erick and his wife Marijke to Ireland and specifically to rural Kilkenny and all the FitzGerald team look forward to learning from Erick’s immense knowledge in their specialist field.

Erick is an experienced Operations and General Manager. He served in several key horticultural companies in The Netherlands, Israel and Ethiopia.  He knew of the ground-breaking work being done by FitzGerald Nurseries and Beotanics through his work in Ethiopia and from his many visits to Ireland where he took a keen interest in the company as well as the Irish people, culture and nature, Mr FitzGerald explained. The new role offers him the ideal opportunity to live in Ireland and experience its open spaces.

Speaking about his appointment, Erick described FitzGerald Nurseries and its sister company, Beotanics, as “very innovative in terms of their product development”.

“Besides ornamentals, the group has a strong specialist focus on plants for the food industry. This suits my skills set. I look forward to further organising and developing the company in order to accomplish FitzGerald Nurseries’ specific ambitions and contribution to the plant-based food product development ambitions across the globe.”

Paul Henry, Chair,

Paul Henry, Chair, CCAB

Paul Henry, Director of Osborne King and President of Chartered Accountants Ireland has been named as Chair of CCAB for 2020/22. CCAB (The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies) is an umbrella group of the accountancy profession in the UK and has a combined membership worldwide of 408,000. Its core purpose is to promote sustainable growth in the economy through the accountancy profession.

Paul Henry takes over as Chair from Mike McKeon CA, President of ICAS (the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland). During his two year tenure, Paul will lead the CCAB’s work in identifying and capitalising on the opportunities that the rapid pace of change in the business and accountancy world brings in 2020. Equally he will lead the CCAB’s response to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 for its members and the wider business community.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul said: “I look forward to engaging with as many members and stakeholders as possible in the coming months to help our profession to adapt to all the changes that affect us, from rapid technological advancements to increased regulatory requirements. This of course all takes place in the context of a business community worldwide that is facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on the way we all live and conduct business.

“Another area of focus for me in the coming 12 months will be strengthening the reputation of our industry to ensure that we can attract the best and brightest individuals. The lifeblood of any profession is the young talent that chooses to join its ranks.”

Paul Henry is a Director with Belfast based property consultancy Osborne King and has extensive experience of real estate, insolvency and corporate finance. A resident of Belfast, he qualified with Pricewaterhouse in 1989. Prior to his current role, he held positions with the Industrial Development Board, Enterprise Equity, PricewaterhouseCoopers and ASM Chartered Accountants.  He also served as Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society in 2014.

The CCAB was established in 1988 to coordinate the representation functions of the participant professional bodies in areas of common interest to the profession. It has a number of committees which respond to Government and regulatory initiatives in their respective areas.

Lisandra Flach, Center Director,
ifo Institute

Lisandra Flach, Center Director,  ifo Institute

Foreign trade expert Lisandra Flach has been appointed as the new Director of the ifo Center for International Economics. Flach will commence her new role on July 1. Her appointment is linked with a professorship for the Economics of Globalization at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich.

“With Lisandra Flach, ifo gains an expert in the field of international economics. She is extremely knowledgeable and has an excellent international network. In times of rapid changes in geopolitical power structures, international economics plays a key role in connecting economic areas. For this reason, we are delighted for her to be joining us as the director of a strategically important ifo center of research,” says Clemens Fuest, President of the ifo Institute.

Flach studied at Santa Catarina State University, Brazil, obtained her doctorate at the University of Mannheim, and has conducted research at Harvard University and Columbia University. Her memberships include the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London and the CESifo network.

She most recently held the position of Assistant Professor at LMU. Her research focuses on international economics theory and policy and on empirical international economics theory. She also addresses questions of industrial and development economics and taxation.

Flach holds German and Brazilian citizenship and speaks four languages.

She succeeds Gabriel Felbermayr, who was appointed President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy last year. You can find more details here.

Andrew Byrne, TV Project Manager,
Screen Ireland

Earlier this year, Fís Eireann/Screen Ireland, the national agency responsible for the film, television and animation industry, announced plans to increase funding across TV production in a bid to help build and support the Irish TV drama sector. The agency also announced the first high-end episodic television drama projects funded by Screen Ireland, which included Element Pictures’ wildly successful Normal People directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie MacDonald. The series has achieved outstanding critical acclaim and commercial success globally, breaking records to become the most successful series ever on both BBC3 and the RTÉ Player.

In an effort to increase our commitment to funding television production across live action and animation, Screen Ireland is now delighted to announce the appointment of Andrew Byrne to the Production and Development team in the newly created role of TV Project Manager.

Screen Ireland supports TV drama series and animation originated and creatively led by Irish directors, writers, and producers, to create indigenous content aimed at both Irish audiences and the international marketplace. Screen Ireland aims to drive the expansion of the indigenous TV drama and animation sector providing opportunities for Irish talent to develop both creatively and professionally. Ireland is a recognised leader globally in TV animation with millions of children around the world watching Irish award-winning animated TV shows.  Screen Ireland is the largest investor in Irish animation content in Ireland and has supported a wide number of successful animated TV series including Puffin Rock, The Day Henry Met, Becca’s Bunch and Little Roy.

In his new role, Andrew will work across TV drama and TV animation projects supported by Screen Ireland, from initial concept and development stage through to production.  Andrew joins Screen Ireland with in-depth experience across the editorial and strategic development of scripted content for the television production sector.

Commenting on the appointment Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive, said “Screen Ireland remains committed to supporting the continued growth of Irish high-end TV drama and animation that engages audiences worldwide. We are delighted to welcome Andrew Byrne, who brings in-depth knowledge and extensive TV experience, to this newly created role supporting Irish creative talent across TV development and production.”

Commenting on his newly announced role with Screen Ireland, Andrew Byrne said“I am very much looking forward to working with the entire team at Screen Ireland in this new key role. We will continue to evolve the supports available to the industry, building on the increased success of the animation and drama sectors to date and introducing an ever diverse and inclusive mix of new talent, artistry and storytelling to Irish and International audiences”.

Andrew has over 15 years of experience at Virgin Media Television and 5 years as Head of Commissioning for the broadcaster, commissioning some of the most successful and globally recognised Irish TV projects including returning award-winning dramas “Blood” (starring Adrian Dunbar, winner of the Writer’s Guild UK Award for Best Longform Drama and sold in 60+ territories),  “Red Rock” (VMTV, BBC, Amazon Prime) and most recently Lisa Mc Gee’s exciting new psychological thriller “The Deceived”  (airing on VMTV and Channel 5 in Autumn 2020).

He has also supported and helped establish a significant slate of Irish features & documentaries including, “My Name is Emily”,” A Date for Mad Mary”, “Black 47” and “Cardboard Gangsters” alongside hybrid docu-drama “Trial of the Century” and most recently the ground breakingseries “The Guards – Inside the K”.

Andrew is also committed to a diverse slate of Irish stories and creativity on screen that supports new emerging talent (VM Discovers Short Film Competition – Winner “Innocent Boy” & Irish Student Short Film Seasons) and enables new platforms to an array of diverse voices and skillsets.