Pictured (L–R): Ian Hyland, President & Publisher, Business & Finance; Imelda Hurley, CEO, Coillte & President Ibec and Seamus Hand, Managing Partner of KPMG Ireland. Photo: Andres Poveda
This year’s Business & Finance Awards, in association with KPMG, took place on December 1st at the Convention Centre, Dublin. Imelda Hurley, CEO, Coillte and President, Ibec, won Business Person of the Year and Ornua was awarded Company of the Year. Rachael Blackmore was also honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Brand Ireland Award.
The 48th annual Business & Finance Awards, in association with KPMG, hosted over 1,000 leading Irish business figures including President Ursula von der Leyen, former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, Ukrainian ambassador Larysa Gerasko and Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
A number of industry leading business figures and companies were recognised for their outstanding contribution to Irish business throughout the night.
Partners for this year’s programme included Ibec, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Coillte, Indeed, Sia Partners, Expleo, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, I-RES, Smurfit Kappa, Arachas, Salesforce, Sky Ireland, CPL and Aviva along with Business for Good Partner, UNICEF.
Sarah Freeman, Editor of Business & Finance Magazine hosted the event alongside Irish broadcaster Pat Kenny.
The awards continued the Business & Finance tradition of rewarding progress and the incredible contribution the EU has made to Ireland over the 50 years of its membership.
Ian Hyland, President and Publisher of Business & Finance welcomed attendees to the event.
“I’m really delighted to welcome you all to the 48th Business & Finance Awards,” he said.
Hyland spoke about the importance of the occasion in the context of the current geo-political climate:
“Tonight is a particularly special occasion for Irish business,” he continued. “We are fortunate to have domestic, European and US leaders supporting Ukraine.”
Business Person of the Year
Imelda Hurley, CEO, Coillte and President, Ibec, won the award presented by Seamus Hand, Managing Partner, KPMG Ireland.
“At Coillte, Imelda has led the launch of a strategic vision to help Ireland achieve its climate goals. She oversaw Coillte’s involvement in the community including nature rehabilitation projects and mental health intervention initiatives, creating employment and opportunities in rural Ireland,” the judges said.
“In 2021, Imelda launched the 19 million euro world class visitor destination, ‘Beyond the Trees Avondale’ which has attracted 225,000 visitors to date. She is an advocate for sustainable business practices and a leader in sustainability discussions.”
The Business Person of the Year Award acknowledges the achievements of the highest-performing Irish business leader. Last year’s winner of the award was Mark Roden, CEO, Ding.
Company of the Year
Agricultural co-operative Ornua won Company of the Year as announced by Seamus Hand. The firm, led by CEO John Jordan, markets iconic Irish brand, Kerrygold, to the world.
The judges credited the company’s growing presence in the US as well as its significant output amongst the reasons for Ornua winning the award.
“Ornua’s continued and successful product innovations, along with their growing presence in the US, has copper-fastened its reputation as one of Ireland’s most valuable and robust organisations.”
The Company of the Year award recognises Irish businesses who, along with having a significant impact in Ireland, operate with an international focus and have annual revenue exceeding €350 million. ICON Plc were the recipients of the award in 2021.
Outstanding Contribution to Brand Ireland
Champion Irish jockey, Rachael Blackmore, was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Brand Ireland Award. The special recognition award recognised Blackmore as an Ambassador for Ireland internationally through her outstanding achievements as a Jockey and Sportsperson, reinforcing Brand Ireland worldwide.