New and notable appointments at Expleo, Mazars, Apex Group Ltd., Hiscox Ireland, IQ-EQ, Lewis Silkin, Simply Blue Group, Starcircle, The Montenotte Hotel, The Salocin Group, Baker Tilly Mooney Moore, W5, and Wellington IT

By Business & Finance
20 January 2022
Pictured: Xavier de Bustos, Director for Life Sciences and Engineering, Research and Development (ERD) at Expleo

This week sees new and notable appointments at Expleo, Mazars, Apex Group Ltd., Hiscox Ireland, IQ-EQ, Lewis Silkin, Simply Blue Group, Starcircle, The Montenotte Hotel, The Salocin Group, Baker Tilly Mooney Moore, W5, and Wellington IT.

Xavier de Bustos, Director for Life Sciences and Engineering, Research and Development (ERD)

Expleo, a global engineering, technology and consulting service provider, today announces that it has appointed Xavier de Bustos as its director for life sciences and engineering, research and development (ERD). Xavier will be responsible for bringing engineering excellence to digitally transforming businesses, while also expanding Expleo’s market share in Ireland’s life sciences sector.

As businesses’ digital transformation journeys evolve, they are setting themselves apart not only through digital prowess but also through the application of game-changing engineering solutions. In his new role, and with more than 20 years of experience in digital transformation and change management, Xavier will help enterprises to embrace the convergence of IT and OT (operational technology) to gain significant competitive advantage.

The convergence of IT and OT will be a major focus area for Expleo in Ireland, and Xavier is currently building a team to support its success.

Xavier will also lead Expleo’s life sciences practice in Ireland, contributing to the company’s rapid global growth in the sector. He will work alongside domestic and international life sciences companies, helping them to excel in R&D and innovation; digital manufacturing and operational excellence; and quality assurance and regulatory affairs.

Prior to joining Expleo, Xavier was director of life sciences for Capgemini for one year. He also ran his own innovation and management consulting firm, Nathema, for 10 years. Xavier has a Master’s in politics, economics and law – as well as a DESS in European Business Administration – from Sciences Po Strasbourg in France.

Tom O’Brien, Managing Partner

Pictured: Tom O’Brien, Managing Partner, Mazars

Mazars, the international audit, tax, advisory and consulting firm, has elected Tom O’Brien as its new Managing Partner for Ireland. He will succeed Mark Kennedy, who has led the business since 2015.

Tom O’Brien will lead the firm’s continued growth and expansion in Ireland, where the firm employs over 500 people in Dublin, Limerick and Galway. Turnover has increased by 75% since 2015 at the fast-growing firm, which has expanded through a combination of organic growth and targeted acquisitions of other accountancy firms.

He joined Mazars in 2000 and has been Head of Advisory services since 2014. A Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, Tom has extensive experience in insolvency, restructuring, corporate finance and advisory services and has advised many progressive privately owned Irish businesses on a range of issues such as acquisition opportunities, raising debt, restructuring, succession and reorganisation matters.

Commenting on his appointment as Managing Partner of Mazars, Tom O’Brien said; “I am delighted to be taking on this role at a really exciting time for the firm. Having grown our business throughout the pandemic, we are looking forward to supporting clients with new opportunities and challenges as business and the economy continues to open up.

“Our client-led approach, which focuses on high-quality professionals delivering value-added specialist services, has really resonated with the market, which now clearly sees Mazars as a true alternative to the traditional large players. We have ambitious growth plans, and I look forward to driving these plans while also developing other key strategic service lines and sectors”.

Mark Kennedy commented on the appointment, “It has been a privilege to lead Mazars in Ireland since 2015. I’m extremely proud of how the business has grown in recent years, how we have invested in our people and fostered a culture of diversity and inclusion. Mazars in Ireland is very well positioned to support clients with the range of new opportunities and challenges that we see in an increasingly dynamic business environment. Tom is an excellent leader and has developed our Advisory practice considerably in recent years. I am very pleased to be handing over to him and know that he will lead the firm to continued success”.

Mazars in Ireland provides audit, accounting, consulting, financial advisory, outsourcing and tax services to large corporates, small and medium-sized indigenous businesses and private clients.

Colin Hickey, Chief Commercial Officer

Pictured: Colin Hickey, Chief Commercial Officer at Starcircle

Starcircle, a Cork-based talent sourcing technology provider that helps companies source and engage with hidden talent, is pleased to announce the appointment of Colin Hickey as its Chief Commercial Officer.

As Chief Commercial Officer, Colin will be responsible for leading the Starcircle’s Global Commercial Team to advise, enable and empower their clients to find the best talent. Colin will also be responsible for developing company-wide departmental strategies, streamlining processes, implementing innovative solutions and frameworks, and expanding the team. Starcircle’s clients include high-profile multinationals such as Facebook, Amazon, Dropbox, Cisco, Doordash, Epic Games and Sonos.

On his appointment, Colin Hickey stated, “This is an exciting time for Starcircle and I am delighted to be a part of the team at a time of ambitious growth. The Starcircle rocketship has an amazing team of highly motivated and passionate people on board and a core group of clients who we partner with, to explore and uncover hidden gem talent in the broad space that we like to call the ‘Talent Universe’. We have the scalability and capacity for many more people and clients to join us on our journey and I look forward to helping steer the ship.”

Colin joins the Starcircle team as an experienced management consultant with a history of leading digital and commercial transformation projects across a number of industries including; Search & Staffing, Film, Utilities, Internet, Technology, FMCG and Market Research. Prior to joining Starcircle, Colin held senior-level positions with Grant Thornton, LinkedIn and Unilever.

James Galvin, CEO of Starcircle commented on Colin’s appointment, “We have no doubt that the passion, drive and expertise that Colin brings will further strengthen Starcircle’s positioning and business growth.”

Throughout his career, Colin has been committed to his professional development and is currently engaged in a Professional Diploma in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership in UCD’s Innovation Academy. He also recently completed Project Management Professional accreditations (PMP) with the Project Management Institute. In addition, Colin holds a first-class honours Master of Business Administration – Strategy and International Business with the NEOMA Business School in France and a Masters in Strategic Management and planning with UCD Smurfit Business School.

Mike Dodds, Board Member
The Salocin Group

The Salocin Group is boosting its senior leadership team with the appointment of former Proximity Worldwide Global CEO Mike Dodds to its board.

Dodds will assist with The Salocin Group’s growth strategy as it embarks on an ambitious buy-and-build plan to create a unified, multi-disciplined, data-powered marketing group. He will report to Nick Dixon, Chairman & CEO of The Salocin Group.

As advisory board director of The Salocin Group, Dodd’s remit includes working closely with the leadership team at Edit, with a core focus on building and increasing the value of the agency through new business, new capabilities, and new talent.

Edit, the London and Bath based data and technology driven marketing agency, was acquired by The Salocin Group at the end of 2021. The group secured private equity backing from NVM to fund the purchase.  Edit recently hit the headlines as one of the big winners at the DMA Awards in December, including landing Gold in the Automotive category for its work for Jaguar Land Rover.

Dodds, who left Proximity Worldwide as CEO in January 2021 to pursue a portfolio career, has an enviable track record in the personalised customer experience industry that spans over 30 years.  This includes the leadership of two agencies that have been considered the best in this sector at various points over the last 15 years, OgilvyOne and Proximity London.  During this period he also played a key role in many of those agency’s significant relationships with brands including the BBC, Lloyds Banking Group, BT and VW.

Nick Dixon, Chairman & CEO of The Salocin Group, said: “Mike is a serial winner with an enviable track record of building fantastic businesses and driving growth in this sector. He’s worked with the biggest clients and led two significant agencies in the connected customer experience space. We can’t wait to tap into that knowledge and expertise. Mike’s arrival couldn’t be better timed in terms of accelerating the plan we have put in place for The Salocin Group and Edit.”

Dodds added: “I’m super excited to be supporting Nick and the management team at Edit. I’ve been around the block enough to recognise that Edit is a hidden gem that we will be hearing a lot more about over the next couple of years.  This, combined with Nick’s ambitious plan to build a significant connected customer experience offering, is going to create another very significant player in this dynamic sector of the market.”

Steve Innes, Head of Fund Accounting in Irish Funds

Steve Innes joins IQ-EQ as Head of Fund Accounting in Irish funds following a successful year for the region’s existing client base.

As an experienced senior director, Steve has over 20 years of financial services industry experience, bringing expertise in fund accounting, business development, client relationship management, and business analysis.

Before joining IQ-EQ, he was a director in regulated funds for a leading global fund administration business. He has an MA in Accountancy and experience in senior positions with numerous financial services competitors, including new start-up operations.

Steve is joining IQ-EQ at a pivotal time as the Group’s client base in Ireland continues to grow. As part of his new role Steve will be responsible for strengthening the firms existing Irish Fund service offerings and helping to raise the Group’s reputation as a leading global investor services provider.

Commenting on his appointment, Steve said, “I’m delighted to join IQ-EQ as we seek to grow our Funds business in Ireland. I look forward to getting to know and working with my colleagues in the Funds teams in Ireland and across the wider business to ensure that IQ-EQ becomes known as the Fund Administrator of choice in Ireland.”

Joanne McEnteggart, MD for Ireland & Head of Corporate Services (United Kingdom & Ireland), added, “As we embark on the next step of our growth journey, I’m really pleased to welcome Steve to our expanding team in Ireland. I look forward to benefiting from Steve’s extensive industry experience and working with him to help us establish a strong and hugely successful Funds business in Ireland.”

Des Chavasse, Chief Operations Officer
Simply Blue Group

Simply Blue Group, a leading blue economy developer in floating offshore wind, wave energy and low-impact aquaculture has expanded its team and opened a new office in Dublin.  The new office in Dublin at 43 Fitzwilliam Square will cater for the recent growth in staffing levels which has seen the company recruiting professional expertise in engineering, project management, finance, and communications.

Headquartered in Cork, Ireland, Simply Blue Group has a pipeline of over 9 GW of floating offshore wind projects, primarily in the waters off Ireland and the British Isles. The recent team expansion highlights an increase in project activity as momentum builds in the Irish and global renewable energy sector.

Des Chavasse, who has been appointed as Chief Operations Officer, is a senior operational leader. He has spent much of his career with Population Services International (PSI), a Washington DC based social marketing organisation delivering health solutions in 55 counties.

Others attracted to join the rapidly growing renewables industry and this growing Irish company include: Michael Galvin, a chemical engineer with over 16 years’ experience in the energy industry; Adrian deAndres, a recognized expert in floating offshore wind renewables who joins Simply Blue from Xodus; Sara MacKeown, a media professional with extensive experience in marine infrastructure projects having spent 15 years with the Port of Cork; and Graham Stewart, an experienced oil and gas engineer who is now applying his skills to the energy transition.

Meanwhile, in October 2021, Simply Blue Group announced its expansion into the US with the launch of a new partnership with TotalEnergies called TotalEnergies SBE US. It aims to deliver gigawatts (GW) of clean, climate-friendly power to millions of American electricity consumers. Amongst the more recent joiners is Peter Cogswell, Director of Government and External Affairs, West Coast and a former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor on Energy and Telecommunications for Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Commenting on the appointments which brings the Simply Blue team to almost 60 people, Sam Roch Perks, Co-Founder & CEO said, “The interest in the Offshore renewables sector and the potential we can unlock in Ireland and elsewhere is truly exciting. We are humbled to be able to attract such passionate people as we grow internationally”.

Laura Ensor, Senior Associate, Employment, Immigration and Reward & Jack Balmer, Associate
Lewis Silkin

Pictured: Laura Ensor, Senior Associate, Employment, Immigration and Reward at Lewis Silkin

Lewis Silkin is expanding its team across Ireland with the appointment of two new associates in its Dublin and Belfast offices. Laura Ensor has been appointed to Senior Associate, Employment, Immigration and Reward in its Dublin office, and Jack Balmer has joined as an Associate at the Belfast office.

Laura has a wealth of expertise in employment law advisory matters, employment disputes and corporate immigration.  Prior to joining Lewis Silkin Ireland, Laura worked for law firm Matheson for over seven years, advising on matters including successfully representing clients before the Workplace Relations Commission, the Labour Court and the civil courts in a variety of claims including unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing claims.

In her new role, Laura will advise both multinational and domestic employers on the full range of employment issues (both contentious and non-contentious), including HR processes and procedures, HR investigations, grievance procedures and employment disputes. Laura will also advise on immigration law, advising multinational companies on the employment and immigration law considerations in setting up a business or having a workforce in Ireland.

Laura holds a Bachelor of Business and Law from University College Dublin, as well as an Advanced Diploma in Applied Employment Law from The Honorable Society of King’s Inn.

Commenting on Laura’s appointment, Síobhra Rush, Partner and Head of Office at Lewis Silkin ROI, said: “I am thrilled to welcome Laura as a Senior Associate to our Dublin office, where our employment team’s growth continues at pace driven by the rise in demand from our clients for our market leading employment services across the Island of Ireland.”

Pictured: Jack Balmer, Associate at Lewis Silkin

As an associate in the Belfast office, Jack Balmer will be responsible for advising local and multinational employers, as well as public sector organisations, on contentious and non-contentious employment law matters. This will include representing clients in the defence of claims in the employment tribunals and civil courts, advising clients on complex employee terminations, disciplinary, grievance, sickness and absence issues, and advisory work regarding employment contracts, policies and statutory obligations.

Before joining Lewis Silkin, Jack worked with Belfast corporate law firm Tughans Solicitors for over six years. Jack’s experience includes advising a wide range of employers, both local, UK-wide and multinational, on their employment obligations in NI and the UK. This includes some of the largest public and private sector employers in NI, as well as new, mainly US headquartered, entrants to the UK / NI market. He has specific experience of advising technology, healthcare and information security and IT related start-ups.

In addition, Jack has provided employment support on a number of high profile and value corporate transactions in NI, including M&As and private equity investments

Jack holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Post-Graduate Diploma from the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University Belfast.

Speaking on Jack’s appointment, Ciara Fulton, Head of Office at Lewis Silkin N.I. LLP said: “I am delighted to welcome Jack to our Belfast based employment team, his expertise advising a wide range of clients on both contentious and non-contentious employment matters including many high-profile transactions will further bolster our Northern Ireland team’s capability, continuing the expansion of our NI offering to our clients and increasing our Island of Ireland presence.”

Barry O’Brien, Senior Director, Business Development
Apex Group Ltd.

Pictured: Barry O’Brien, Senior Director, Business Development at Apex Group Ltd.

Apex Group Ltd. (“Apex” or “The Group”), a global financial services provider, today announces that it has appointed Barry O’Brien as Senior Director, Business Development.

Based in Apex’s Dublin office, Barry reports to John Bohan, Co-Founder and Country Head Business Development (Ireland) who he will be working with to drive the firm’s continued growth in Ireland, a key hub for the Group.

Barry brings over 27 years of experience working in fund solutions business development and joins Apex from U.S. Bank Global Fund Services where he was most recently Director, Business Development. Prior to its acquisition by U.S. Bank, Barry was Head of Fund Client Relations – Europe for Quintillion and held commercial fund services roles at international organisations including Bank of America Merrill Lynch (where he acted as Executive Director and Board Member), Fortis Prime Fund Solutions, and MeesPierson.

Ireland has long been recognised as a destination of choice for investment funds, ranking amongst the most flexible and advantageous in the onshore world. Apex opened its first office in Ireland in 2007 and has since grown to four locations, employing over 350 experts.

This strategic appointment is further evidence of Apex’s continued commitment to growth, providing clients with the broadest range of locally delivered solutions in the industry across fund, financial and corporate solutions.

John Bohan, Co-Founder and Country Head Business Development (Ireland), Apex Group comments: “Further to what was a record year of growth for the Apex Group, we are delighted to welcome Barry O’Brien to our Ireland Business development team. Domiciled funds in Ireland have exceeded over €3.5trillion last year and we look forward to capitalizing on the industry success as we roll out our single source solution across ManCo services, Fund Administration and Depositary & Custody services.”

Michael Branniff, Business Services Partner
Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

Pictured: Michael Branniff, Business Services Partner at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

Leading accountancy and advisory firm Baker Tilly Mooney Moore has appointed Michael Branniff as Business Services Partner.

Michael brings over 20 years’ experience in the sector, having joined the firm’s Graduate Training Programme in 2001.

Previously Business Services Director, Michael consults across a wide range of sectors including Construction and Engineering, Hospitality and Entertainment and Waste Management. The senior appointment comes amid a period of sustained growth and development for Baker Tilly Mooney Moore, which specialises in Audit & Assurance, Taxation, Restructuring & Insolvency and Consulting.

Michael joins Stephen McConnell at the helm of the Business Services department and has ambitions to continue expanding the consultancy service throughout 2022.

New Business Services Partner at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore Michael Branniff said: “I am thrilled to become Partner at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore. This is a significant time for the firm as we continue to grow and expand, and I am pleased to begin 2022 as Partner. Dealing with the outworking of the pandemic, Brexit, and the constantly evolving business landscape in Northern Ireland places significant pressure on entrepreneurs across a range of sectors who require sound and reliable support.”

“After beginning my career within the highly regarded Business Services team at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore, I am delighted to be working with Stephen to expand and grow our consultancy service to enable us to provide advice and support to more companies in the coming months and years.”

Welcoming the appointment, Business Services Partner Stephen McConnell said: “It is a pleasure to see Michael progress to Partner after so many years delivering for clients at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore. A regarded advisor who provides full consultancy and support services to many businesses, Michael is a respected and trusted member of the Business Services team both here and right across the industry in Northern Ireland.”

 “With clients exposed to more external pressures than ever before, the need for specialist business advice has never been greater. This appointment further strengthens our strategy to grow our practice and continue offering a depth of experience and knowledge to businesses operating in Northern Ireland.”

Elaine Donohoe, Consulting Director

Pictured: Elaine Donohoe, Consulting Director atW5

W5, the award-winning customer experience consultancy, has appointed Elaine Donohoe as Consulting Director.

Elaine is an ardent customer experience champion, focusing on shaping and delivering customer-led strategies that deliver meaningful benefits across organisations, their customers, and employees.  Elaine brings almost 20 years of strategic customer-focused experience across multiple industries, including Telecoms, Financial Services, FMCG, and Consulting.

Elaine said, ‘I am excited to join the W5 team and look forward to working with our clients to shape their customer-led future for commercial success and growth to benefit organisations, their customers and employees.’

Commenting on the appointment, Tim Farmer, Managing Director, said, ‘We are delighted to add to the strength of our business with Elaine’s appointment.  She brings a strong CX and consulting background which will be pivotal to our goal of supporting our clients’ success by building the strategies and structures to get closer to their customers.’

Martin Breen, Customer Care Manager
Wellington IT

Pictured: Martin Breen, Customer Care Manager at Wellington IT

Wellington IT, the tech partner to the credit union sector, today announces the appointment of Martin Breen to the newly created role of Customer Care Manager.

He will be responsible for streamlining and standardising customer support processes and proactively managing the relationship between customers and the support team. He will also work to continuously improve Wellington IT’s customer service and guarantee the best possible care for credit unions by following best practice and working in tandem with customers to ensure priorities are aligned.

Prior to joining Wellington IT, Martin spent six years as Service Delivery Manager at Terex Corporation where he managed the IT support function for its European sites, covering 22 locations throughout Europe and more than 2,000 end users.

Previously, Martin worked as a Senior Business Analyst with Citi in Belfast, and before that he was a Business Analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Dublin office.

Martin is both ITIL and Prince 2 certified and holds a BSc in Finance from Queens University Belfast.

Martin Breen, Customer Care Manager, Wellington IT: “I am delighted to join the Wellington IT team as the first Customer Care Manager.

“My previous roles have all been customer facing, and I believe I can bring critical real-world experience to this new position. Not only have I managed previous engagements in line with KPIs and SLAs, I have also strived to implement root cause analysis and problem management and I aim to draw on this experience in my new role.

“The support team are doing some fantastic work and I’m looking forward to delivering best-in-class care to customers.”

Frits Potgieter, General Manager
The Montenotte Hotel

Pictured: Frits Potgieter, General Manager at The Montenotte Hotel

The Montenotte Hotel is delighted to announce the appointment of Frits Potgieter to the role of General Manager at the family-owned, multi-award winning, luxury destination hotel in Cork.

Frits Potgieter is a seasoned hotel manager, with over 22 years international experience in the hospitality sector working with a variety of luxury properties.

Originally from South Africa, Frits has held senior management roles within The Red Carnation Hotel Collection and The Doyle Collection in London.

Since 2015 Frits has called Cork home and became very involved in the business and hospitality communities in the region.  Most recently he was General Manager of the five star Muckross Park Hotel Killarney and before this was General Manager of the Imperial Hotel Cork.

Frits’s extensive knowledge and experience of the luxury hotel market will be an important asset at the ever evolving Montenotte Hotel which has exciting development plans over the coming years.

A firm believer in building business success through people development, empowerment, engagement and inspirational leadership, Frits graduated from the University of Johannesburg, with a Bachelor in Commerce in Industrial Psychology before gaining an Honours degree in Strategic Business Management.

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at The Montenotte Hotel, ” said new General Manager Frits Potgieter. “This is a vibrant, destination hotel in a city that I love. I am looking forward to leading such a diverse and talented team across many different departments, as well as making my own contribution to the hotel’s exciting plans.”

Bernard Kelly, Compliance Officer 
Hiscox Ireland

Pictured: Bernard Kelly, Compliance Officer at Hiscox Ireland

Leading commercial and private client insurance firm, Hiscox Ireland, is delighted to announce the appointment of Bernard Kelly as Compliance Officer, joining the team headquartered at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin.

As the Compliance Officer at Hiscox Ireland, Bernard’s primary role is to drive the understanding of regulatory risk, provide advice and help establish and improve control frameworks where necessary. Bernard will work with all stakeholders to provide advice and challenge in a constructive effective way, contributing to the team’s overall success.

Bernard is delighted to be appointed Compliance Officer at Hiscox Ireland and is looking forward to developing his career during a time of focused growth with the company.

Bernard is an established professional and joins the team with a wealth of experience in the insurance industry, having worked with AmTrust International, Grant Thornton Ireland, The AA and Allianz Ireland, prior to joining Hiscox.

Bernard has been committed to professional development throughout his career and in addition to a Masters in Business Management from University College Dublin, he is a Certified Insurance Practitioner with the Insurance Institute of Ireland, Licenced Compliance Officer of Ireland and holds a Professional Certificate in Consumer Protection Risk, Culture and Ethical Behaviour in Financial Services with the Institute of Bankers.