60 Seconds With

“My dad always said to me, don’t be afraid to take risks” – 60 seconds with Paul Connell, CEO of Pure Telecom

By Business & Finance
23 May 2023
Pictured: Paul Connell, CEO of Pure Telecom

Paul Connell is CEO of Pure Telecom, a leading provider of low cost broadband and phone services.

What was your first job? 

To do well, succeed, and make money have always been drivers for me. When I was still in school, I was very lucky to work for my dad in his engineering firm. He was an amazing mentor. He was a salesman inside the body of an engineer. He taught me much about business, and gave me the drive to succeed. At the same time, I could not work enough, be it caddying for £5 per round of golf, or selling Christmas trees out of the back of a van. I was a young pup, and I knew exactly where my work/life balance was!

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

After leaving college, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant and very quickly came to the realisation that working in practice was not for me. I knew that I needed a role where I could use my acumen and drive to grow a business in a fast-moving environment. I was very lucky to fall into telecoms, and it was a perfect fit. My first boss said when he was interviewing me: “although we are officially looking for a Financial Director, we are actually looking for a Commercial Animal”. A match made in heaven!

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

In 2002, I founded Pure Telecom with my business partner, Alan McGonnell. We started out with zero, worked very hard, and developed the company into one of the largest suppliers of broadband products to business and residential customers in Ireland. The emphasis was on supplying our customers with a product that exceeds their needs, at a cost-effective price, with great customer care. The model is very simple, but has worked very well for us, and has got us to the position that we are in today. 

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

I made great choices over the years. Some by intuition and others by pure luck. However, I often think that you make your own luck. I am a regular accountant who steered his career to become CEO of a successful broadband provider. 

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Success is different for everyone. I have built something worthwhile, have really enjoyed the journey, and I have made a few bob along the way. Is that success?

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My dad always said to me, don’t be afraid to take risks. The worst that can happen is that you fail, and in that case, you learn, you dust yourself down, and you go again. In every field, in every industry, every success story has in its history some sort of failure.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

It’s relatively simple to say, but hard to achieve. It’s important that you try to enjoy what you do and help others to enjoy it too. That involves attempting to employ the right people in the right roles, setting fair targets, and creating a great environment in which to work. Personally, I believe manners are very important, be it for me, our staff, or our customers.

How do you handle adversity? 

There’s no point in burying your head in the sand. Sometimes life and business throw you a curve ball, and the best way to deal with it is head it straight on. Never shy away. And never put off till tomorrow, what you can address today.

How do you relax?

Travel is a massive part of my life, and something that I really enjoy with my wife. We have five adult(ish) children, and home life is very important. I would go to any sporting event anywhere! And I play golf particularly badly.

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

Telecoms and broadband is an evolving and fast moving environment. The plan for the future is to keep doing what we do. Keep track of new products and trends, and provide these services to our customers. We are very good at what we do, and we grow our customer base from year to year. The level of data consumption has doubled in Ireland over the last few years, so our objective is to anticipate new markets, and move to those new markets ahead of our competitors.


Clodagh Hurrell of XDS Brand

Veronica Rahneberg of Fujitsu Ireland

Michael O’Hara of DataSolutions

Claire Carroll of Claire Carroll Coaching