New and notable appointments at Matheson LLP, ACCA, Community Finance Ireland, Irish Beverage Council, CarTrawler, Virgin Media Television and Azets Ireland

By Business & Finance
06 April 2023
Pictured: Sally Anne Stone, Head of Commercial Real Estate, Matheson LLP.

There were new and notable appointments this week at Matheson LLP, ACCA, Community Finance Ireland, Irish Beverage Council, CarTrawler, Virgin Media Television and Azets Ireland.

Sally Anne Stone, Head of Commercial Real Estate

Darren Maher & David Fitzgibbon, Co-Heads Corporate
Matheson LLP

Sally Anne Stone has been appointed as Head of Matheson’s Commercial Real Estate group.  A very experienced and highly-regarded lawyer, she now heads the 40-strong team, which is led by eight partners.  Stone also re-joins the firm’s Management Committee following her recent return from maternity leave. She has been involved in many of the landmark transactions across Dublin and is project lead on several of Dublin’s largest development projects advising on site acquisitions, estate set-up, development, letting and sale of commercial and residential / PRS assets.  She also advises several Irish and non-Irish institutional investors on the acquisition of large scale assets.  Stone also acts for some of Ireland’s largest occupiers (both tenants and owner / occupiers) on the development, letting and ongoing management of their office and technical space.

Pictured: David Fitzgibbon

Senior Corporate partners, David Fitzgibbon and Darren Maher have been named as Co-Heads of Matheson’s 170-strong Corporate team.  The group now consists of 36 partners and over 120 lawyers, and has more lawyers ranked by Chambers & Partners than the corporate department of any other Irish law firm.  In addition to jointly running the group, Fitzgibbon has also taken on the role of Head of Corporate M&A, while Maher has joined the firm’s Management Committee.

David Fitzgibbon has extensive experience advising international clients on doing business in and from Ireland including advising on acquisitions / disposals, compliance and governance rules, corporate migrations, cross-border mergers, joint ventures and reorganisations.  He has worked extensively with listed companies (Euronext Dublin / LSE, NASDAQ and NYSE) providing ongoing strategic and compliance advice on matters of Irish company law and securities regulation.  He has a broad-based practice reflecting his considerable experience across the agri-food, financial services, healthcare / life sciences and manufacturing sectors.

Pictured: Darren Maher

Maher advises clients on a wide range of leading domestic and international financial institutions on all aspects of financial services law and regulation including establishment and authorisation, development and distribution of products, compliance, corporate governance and re-organisations including cross-border mergers, schemes of arrangement, portfolio transfers and mergers and acquisitions. A member of the firm’s Brexit Advisory Group, Maher frequently publishes articles in financial services publications and is co-author of the Irish chapter of PLC’s Cross-border Insurance and Reinsurance Handbook, Law Business Research’s Insurance and Reinsurance Law Review, and a co-contributor to ICLG’s Guide to Insurance and Reinsurance.  He lectures at the Law Society of Ireland and the Insurance Institute of Ireland.

Matheson’s Managing Partner, Michael Jackson, said; “These appointments are a significant marker for Matheson and are just one example of the growth which the firm has created in two important practice areas.  Our Corporate team has consistently led the market in recent years, working on some of the most complex and challenging M&A deals in Ireland, and under the leadership of Darren and David I am confident that this will continue.  Likewise, our growing Commercial Real Estate team has been central in advising on some of the most high-profile developments in the country and with Sally Anne’s proven skills and experience, this critical area will undoubtedly grow.”

Stephen Doyle, Chair,

Photographed are: (L to R) Frank O’Keefe, EY Ireland Managing Partner, Stephen Doyle, Chair of ACCA Ireland and Head of Real Estate, Technology and Operations for EY Ireland and Stephen Noonan, Acting Head of ACCA Ireland.

Stephen Doyle, Head of Real Estate, Technology and Operations for EY Ireland, has been announced as the new Chair of the professional body, ACCA Ireland. The new Chair has called for greater focus on inclusion, advocacy and innovation during his 12-month term and commented on how the ACCA’s unique approach was instrumental in providing him with the best possible route to qualification as an accountant.

In his speech at the AGM of ACCA Ireland, in which he spoke candidly about the challenges he faced with exams, the new Chair’s core message was to keep your goals in sight and persevere to achieve your career ambitions. This positive mindset, combined with the unique opportunity that ACCA provides within the accountancy profession to strike a balance between studying at your own pace and working, was the secret to his success.

According to Doyle, his personal story illustrates this winning formula.  One of nine children from Killinarden in Tallaght, he failed and then repeated his Leaving Certificate, without successfully securing his preferred course. Through great mentors, persistence and the opportunity provided by the ACCA to blend work and study, he achieved his accountancy qualifications, enjoyed 18 years as an accountant and has continued to go from strength to strength in his professional career.

Having recently diversified into his current role as Head of Real Estate, Technology and Operations for EY Ireland, Doyle commented that the opportunity to move into the role was due, in part, to the strength of his accountancy foundations. He stated that his objectives as ACCA Ireland’s new Chair for the year ahead are built around the values of ACCA: inclusion, integrity and innovation:

“In terms of inclusion, it’s about advocating, supporting, and working with our member network panels and the initiatives they deliver. Helping to build ACCA communities across Ireland is at the forefront of my objectives for the year ahead. Innovation is also key; and I am keenly focused on supporting the Committee and our member networks, to showcase new ways in which we can deliver for our members and to broaden the reach of ACCA.”

Stephen Noonan, Acting Head of ACCA Ireland, commented: “Stephen’s story is an inspirational one.  At every turn throughout his education journey he faced adversity but he remained focused and determined to fulfil his potential, despite the challenges.  ACCA is a flexible and adaptable body that enables people to follow their chosen career path and gain professional qualifications at their own pace, while continuing to work and earn an income.   I know this is an area that Stephen is particularly passionate about and I look forward to seeing him lead ACCA in the year ahead as we continue to create opportunities for people throughout all walks of life.”

Colm Prendergast, Client Relationship Executive,
Community Finance Ireland

Pictured: Colm Prendergast, Client Relationship Executive, Community Finance Ireland

Bringing over 40 years’ of experience in financial lending, Colm Prendergast has been appointed as the new Client Relationship Executive in the Republic of Ireland for Community Finance Ireland, the fastest-growing social finance provider in Ireland and the UK. Prendergast joins an all-island team of 16 as the appetite for social finance solutions in the community and voluntary sector continues to grow.

A native of Kilcock, Kildare, and now living in Blackrock, County Louth, Prendergast will support organisations across the North Leinster and South Ulster regions, working with voluntary-led groups and social enterprises to make social change possible in their local communities.

Community Finance Ireland offers tailored financial supports for sports clubs, community projects, faith-based groups, and social enterprises. Between 2016 and 2022, the organisation funded 127 projects to the value of €16.6 million across the Leinster region.

Speaking on his appointment, Prendergast reflected on how his previous role with the Credit Union Group has put him in good stead for this new venture: “There’s something of a shared mission between credit unions and Community Finance Ireland – we’re here to help solve problems and create opportunities and every repayment is reinvested.

“While the credit union supports individuals, Community Finance Ireland provides tailored supports for community organisations and the volunteers who run them. We don’t ask for personal guarantees, we don’t charge arrangement fees on term loans and we’re flexible in a way that traditional high-street banks aren’t. If a client can repay their loan early, we won’t penalise them for that.]

Welcoming the appointment, Barry Symes, Head of Community Finance Ireland (ROI) said, “Colm brings a wealth of financial expertise to our clients and potential clients across this region. We’re delighted to welcome him on board and I’ve no doubt he’ll be a huge support for community and voluntary organisations in Leinster.”

Agnese Filippi, Chair,
Irish Beverage Council

Pictured: Agnese Filippi, Chair, Irish Beverage Council

The Irish Beverage Council (IBC), the Ibec group that represents the non-alcohol beverage industry, has appointed Agnese Filippi, Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland as the new Chair of the IBC.

As IBC Chair, Filippi will be responsible for representing an important industry at the heart of Ireland’s economy employing over 3,500 people directly and supporting an additional 3,000 jobs indirectly. Filippi has been the Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland since 2021 and in this role is responsible for meeting the evolving needs of consumers, positioning the organisation to drive success in the marketplace and ensuring continued delivery of the company’s long-term growth and success in Ireland.

Commenting on her appointment, Agnese Filippi, Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland and now Chair of The Irish Beverage Council said: “I am delighted to take on the role as Chair of the IBC at what is a crucial time for all of us operating in the industry. As the sector continues to navigate changing consumer demands and rising costs as well as economic uncertainty, the IBC is a vital partnership platform that enables industry to work together and grow into the future.

“Over the next two years, our industry is committed to working with policymakers and the broader business ecosystem to continue our growth journey while also taking firm action to achieve a net-zero future. This includes supporting Government in helping to introduce the Deposit Return Scheme which will become operational early next year. As Chair of IBC, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council to ensure a collaborative approach to its roll-out.”

Robert Kiernan, Director of the Irish Beverage Council, said: “I am delighted to welcome Agnese to her new role as Chair of the IBC. Agnese brings significant experience and expertise with her to this position, and I look forward to working closely with Agnese in what will be a very exciting time for both our industry, and the Irish economy as a whole”.

IBC members make a significant contribution throughout the supply chain – from agriculture to manufacturing, to packing, through to transport and logistics, retail, hospitality, and tourism. The industry generates an annual economic value of some €1.5 billion.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, Non-Executive Director,

Pictured: Zillah Byng-Thorne, Non-Executive Director, CarTrawler

CarTrawler, a B2B travel technology company, today announces the appointment of Zillah Byng-Thorne as a non-executive director to its Board. CarTrawler provides car rental and mobility technology solutions to the travel industry including easyJet, Emirates, eDreams Odigeo and American Express Travel. Byng-Thorne’s appointment coincides with a period of global expansion for the company with partnerships including Uber, United Airlines, Hopper, and Volotea.

Zillah Byng-Thorne is the outgoing CEO of global media business Future plc and is credited with transforming the business during her time there, growing its market capitalisation from £30 million in 2013 approximately £1.4 billion. Byng-Thorne is also an experienced Board member and is Chair-Designate of Trustpilot, Chair of M&C Saatchi plc, a non-executive director of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, and previously served as director of Flutter Entertainment, The Hut Group and Go Compare.

Commenting on the appointment, Patrick Kennedy, Chairman of CarTrawler, said, “We are delighted to welcome Zillah to the board, and look forward to benefitting from the contributions her extensive leadership experience and technology expertise will bring to the table. Zillah’s long history and proven track record as both a CEO and CFO in multiple sectors will be very valuable in supporting CarTrawler’s growth ambitions.”

Zillah Byng-Thorne, added: “I am honoured to have been asked to join the Board at CarTrawler, and see huge opportunity for the business to maximise on opportunities in the travel tech sector in this post-Covid travel era. I look forward to working closely with my fellow board members and sharing my experience to support CarTrawler’s ambitious plans.”

Tara Moran, Head of Sales,

Sarah Murphy, Head of Strategy
Virgin Media Television

Tara Moran, Head of Sales, Virgin Media Television

Virgin Media Television (VMTV) has appointed Tara Moran as their new Head of Sales. Moran has worked in VMTV for the past three and a half years as Head of Client Solutions. She was previously Head of Partnerships and Digital Innovation.

In her new role, Moran will have responsibility in leading the development and creation of new advertising solutions for Virgin Media Television, to help the business grow and diversify. Additionally, she will develop, maintain, and enhance relationships with key advertising clients and agencies to ensure VMTV is seen as a core strategic partner and solution provider.

Prior to her time at Virgin Media Television, Moran worked in Maximum Media, where she held the position of Head of Brand Partnerships. In this role she worked with media agencies, and directly with clients, on advertising and content partnerships across Maximum Media’s websites and social platforms, including JOE, Her, HerFamily and SportsJOE.

Moran is a graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Business School where she earned a masters in marketing and she also has a Bachelor of Commerce International (Spanish) from NUI Galway. Most notably, she was twice named in in the Business Post top 30 under 30 in Irish tech list.

Pictured: Sarah Murphy, Head of Strategy, Insights and Trading, Virgin Media Television

Virgin Media Television (VMTV) has appointed Sarah Murphy as their new head of Strategy, Insights and Trading. Murphy has worked in VMTV for the past two years as Investment Lead.

In her new role, Murphy will focus on creating and developing Virgin Media Television’s strategic vision and trading strategy going forward while also working closely with key partners on negotiating annual deals.

Prior to her time at VMTV, she worked in various roles across advertising agency Dentsu Aegis Network, most recently as Group Trading Director. Murphy has worked in the advertising industry for over 20 years, wherein she has sat on a number of TAM (TV and Audience Measurement Ireland) and industry committees over the years.

She holds a post graduate degree in Advertising and an Arts degree from University College Dublin.


Kate Prendiville, Partner,

Rory O’Shea, Partner,
Azets Ireland

Pictured (from l-r): Kate Prendiville, Rory O’Shea and Alma O’Brien, Azets Ireland

Azets Ireland, the professional services firm that specialises in supporting the needs of mid-market, entrepreneurial, owner-managed, and family-owned businesses, have announced the appointment of two new Partners, Kate Prendiville and Rory O’ Shea to help drive the planned ambitious growth of the firm’s tax advisory services following its recent acquisition of Baker Tilly Ireland.

Before assuming their position as Partners, Prendiville and O’Shea worked alongside Alma O’Brien and the tax team where they provided tax planning advice to high-net-worth individuals and privately owned companies, including tax structuring for acquisitions, disposals, reorganisations and Management Buy Outs (MBOs) transactions. Going forward, Prendiville will mainly focus on financial tax structuring and tax advice to the financial services sector. O’Shea will mainly focus on EIIS, employee incentivisation schemes and tax planning for SMEs.

They will also play a key role in driving the expansion of Azets Ireland. Azets aims to grow the firm in Ireland significantly over the next three years by building on in its current team of 100 people and expanding its current footprint in Dublin and Enniscorthy to offices nationwide.

The appointments come as the firm announced earlier this week that it is creating 120 new jobs. Azets Ireland is looking for candidates to fill positions across its core areas of audit and advisory, corporate finance, corporate governance, corporate recovery, EIIS fund management, examinership forensic accounting, tax and transaction advisory.

Alma O’Brien, Head of Tax at Azets Ireland, said: “Kate and Rory’s promotions will add immense value to the Partnership group and I am delighted for them both. Kate and Rory have been integral in growing the Tax department over the past number of years. I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate both Kate and Rory as we remain focused on supporting emerging talent within the business and expanding our team at every level.”

Commenting on her appointment, Kate Prendiville, Partner at Azets Ireland, said: “I am delighted to be promoted to Partner with Azets and to be part of Azets growth plans here in Ireland.  I look forward to continue working with our great clients and colleagues in my new role.”

Rory O’Shea, Partner at Azets Ireland, commented: ““I am very proud to be part of the Azets Ireland team. I started my career in the firm as a tax senior and I am hugely thankful to the Partners and the wider team for their continued support. I look forward to being part of the exciting journey ahead with Azets Ireland.”

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