New and notable appointments at Pfizer, Drinks Ireland|Spirits, Willis Towers Watson, Ardonagh Group, Home Plus, New Ireland Assurance, and Genesis

By Business & Finance
02 December 2021
Orlaith Gavan
Pictured: Orlaith Gavan, Country Medical Director at Pfizer Healthcare Ireland

This week sees new and notable appointments at Pfizer, Drinks Ireland|Spirits, Willis Towers Watson, Ardonagh Group, Home Plus, New Ireland Assurance, and Genesis

Orlaith Gavan, Country Medical Director,
Pfizer Healthcare Ireland

Orlaith Gavan has been appointed as Country Medical Director of Pfizer Healthcare Ireland. Orlaith has held various positions at Pfizer since joining the company in 2006 with her most recent role being Oncology medical sub-cluster lead for Ireland and Portugal.

Commenting on her appointment, Orlaith Gavan, Country Medical Director, Pfizer Healthcare Ireland said: “I am really pleased to be appointed as Country Medical Director and I look forward to delivering on our purpose: breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. In order to make that happen we must continue to work closely and collaborate with other innovators across the health landscape including healthcare providers, academic scientists, patient foundations, governments as well as other biopharmaceutical companies. The decisions and actions that we take is done with the patient in mind and to nurture an environment where breakthroughs can thrive.”

Prior to joining Pfizer, Orlaith was Head of Regulatory Affairs at the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) in Brussels, Belgium, a leading global cancer research organisation where she managed the entire regulatory function of the enterprise.

She also worked at the European Medicines Agency during this time as the EORTC representative, interacting with all EU member state competent authorities and managing the interests of the EORTC. Previous to this role she was a healthcare professional working clinically in leading centres in both the United Kingdom and Ireland. She holds a BSc. (Hons) in Radiography, a Diploma in Regulatory Affairs and an MSc. in Pharmaceutical Medicine.

Bryan Fallon, Chair,
Drinks Ireland|Spirits

Bryan Fallon

Pictured: Bryan Fallon, Chair, Drinks Ireland|Spirits

David Boyd-Armstrong, Head Distiller & Operations Director at the Rademon Estate Distillery, which creates Shortcross Gin, has also been re-elected as Vice-Chair of Drinks Ireland|Spirits.

Speaking about his re-appointment, Bryan Fallon said:“Despite sales and exports declining last year due to Covid-19, and other challenges such as Brexit and transatlantic tariff disputes, Ireland’s spirits sector has shown remarkable resilience. It’s one of the most exciting and dynamic industries, with innovation at its core.  I’m looking forward to working with the industry in 2022 as Chair of Drinks Ireland|Spirits, as we look to recover and grow.”

Vincent McGovern, Head of Spirits at Drinks Ireland said: “I’m confident that Bryan Fallon and David Boyd-Armstrong will continue to bring their invaluable experience and expertise to the roles of Chair and Vice-Chair, and I look forward to continuing to work with them.”

Darragh McHugh, Head of Life Insurance Consulting and Technology team,
Willis Towers Watson

Darragh McHugh

Pictured: Darragh McHugh, Head of Life Insurance Consulting and Technology team at Willis Towers Watson in Ireland

Willis Towers Watson in Ireland has announced the appointment of Darragh McHugh as Head of Life Insurance Consulting and Technology team in Ireland.

In his new role, Darragh will lead the Willis Towers Watson Life Insurance and Consulting team, combining strategic and analytical skills to solve practical business problems and applying the latest techniques and technology solutions. The team utilises its deep knowledge of insurance, leading-edge technology and Willis Towers Watson unified global presence to support clients in four main areas: risk and capital management, strategy and growth, technology and operational effectiveness and profitability.

Prior to taking on this role, Darragh worked for Willis Towers Watson’s Insurance Consulting and Technology team in a variety of roles and is also the proposition lead for M&A in UK and Ireland. He is a graduate of actuarial and financial studies from University College Dublin and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland.

Commenting on the appointment, Marcus Bowser, UK & Ireland Life practice leader, said, “We’re delighted to appoint Darragh to this role. His broad experience across multiple Willis Towers Watson businesses, working with clients at a national and international level, will be an asset to not only our business but also our clients. The insurance industry is in a period of transformational change; our Insurance Consulting team provides a powerful combination of advisory services that are integrated with leading-edge technology solutions to help insurers on their transformation journeys. The appointment of Darragh to the Ireland Life Team Leader role will ensure our life insurance clients continue to experience the best of WTW.”

Willis Towers Watson Ireland provides support to insurance companies in Ireland via its offices in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Limerick and Galway. The Irish team is backed by the Willis Towers Watson global organisation which employs 45,000 people across more than 140 countries and markets around the world.

Andy Higginson, Chairman of Ardonagh Retail,
Ardonagh Group

The Ardonagh Group, a leading global insurance brokerage and service provider, is pleased to announce the appointment of Andy Higginson as Chairman of Ardonagh Retail, its online consumer business which caters for 3 million customers in the UK and Ireland. Andy’s appointment is subject to regulatory approval. Ardonagh Retail trades under a number of leading brands including Swinton, Carole Nash and Autonet. It employs 2,400 colleagues at 12 sites and places c.£1 billion of premium income.

Andy was Chairman of Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc from January 2015 until October 2021. He worked with the executive team and Board on a turnaround of the business, culminating in its recent £7 billion sale to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Prior to Wm Morrison, Andy was Chairman of Poundland up to and including its 2014 stock market floatation.

He is currently Senior Independent Director at Flutter plc, Chairman of Evergreen Garden Care (UK) Limited and YourParkingSpace, and a Non-Executive Director of Majid Al Futtaim Retail (Dubai). Andy’s retail career includes 15 years as an Executive Director of Tesco, with four as CEO of its Retail Services Division including, Tesco Bank and customer data science division Dunnhumby.

As Ardonagh Retail Chairman, Andy will work with Ardonagh Retail CEO Ian Donaldson*, Atlanta CEO Emma Rawlinson* and Chief Commercial Officer Craig Ball to support the growth of UK personal lines broker Atlanta and other strategic opportunities. Atlanta was created from the acquisition and digital integration of van specialist Autonet, motorbike broker Carole Nash and Swinton Insurance. Its trading brands have expanded to include Lloyd Latchford, Marmalade, Healthy Pets, Be Wiser and Paymentshield.

Andy Higginson said: “The Ardonagh Group has successfully developed a number of complementary but independent divisions and I am particularly excited by the opportunities presented by Ardonagh Retail.”

Ian Donaldson, Chief Executive Officer of Ardonagh Retail, said: “There are few individuals with such deep experience in growing customer-centric, high volume and high profile businesses as Andy. I have long-admired the ability of retailers to adapt, move fast, and serve their customers in the way they want to be served and I’m personally thrilled to welcome Andy’s valuable perspective, guidance and challenge to the table.”

Andy Higginson added: “Getting to know Ian and the team I have been impressed by the businesses’ development from product specialisms and distribution nous to the successful turnaround of Swinton from declining high street sales to digital growth.”

“The pandemic has brought customer experience, brand and trust to the fore and the forthcoming changes in general insurance pricing regulation will accelerate that trend further still. I’m delighted to be joining a great leadership team and a strong business with proud roots in the North West and global momentum behind it.”

Chairman of The Ardonagh Group, John Tiner added: “The Ardonagh Retail platform is a significant business with a strong track record, ambitious growth plans and a high calibre leadership team, which Andy is ideally suited to chair. His relevant experience in the strategic evolution of customer centric businesses together with his background in chairing major retail groups brings valued additional knowledge. We welcome his appointment as part of the broader Group, deepening our bench strength across our highly diversified range of insurance-related services in the UK, Ireland and broader international markets.”

“I would like to thank Feilim Mackle for his excellent Chairmanship over the past three years and we are delighted that he will both remain on the Retail platform board as well as taking a pivotal role across our 4 platforms and specifically within our Advisory platform.”

*Subject to regulatory approval

Shane Robinson, Head of Business Development,
Home Plus

Shane Robinson

Pictured: Shane Robinson, Head of Business Development at Home Plus

Home Plus, Ireland’s home equity release specialist, is pleased to announce the appointment of Shane Robinson as its new Head of Business Development, effective immediately. In his new role, Shane will report directly to Home Plus CEO Ian Higgins and will be responsible for the development of new business opportunities for the company.

Shane is joining Home Plus following two years as Mobile Mortgage Manager at Ulster Bank. He has almost two decades of experience in the finance industry, having held a number of senior business development and advisory roles with banks and mortgage brokers.

Shane served as an Area Manager at Provident Personal Credit, where he worked for six years, prior to which he worked as a Senior Mortgage Consultant at Irish Mortgage Corporation. Shane’s extensive industry experience will assist Home Plus as the business seeks to expand its presence in the market.

Ian Higgins, CEO of Home Plus, said: “We are delighted to have an executive of Shane’s experience joining us in the role of Head of Business Development. His expertise, developed over the course of a long career in the financial sector will be a great attribute for Home Plus to draw on as we seek to grow our presence in the market.”

Shane Robinson, Head of Business Development of Home Plus, said: “I am delighted to take up this new role and I look forward to working with the Home Plus team as we work to provide a best-in-class service to our customers as the only active provider of home reversion plans in the country”

Richard Jones, Director of Product, Pricing and Distribution,
New Ireland Assurance

Richard Jones

Pictured: Richard Jones, Director of Product, Pricing and Distribution at New Ireland Assurance

Richard Jones has been appointed as Director of Product, Pricing and Distribution at New Ireland Assurance. Richard moves into the new role from Aviva, where he was Head of Product, Marketing and Pricing. Prior to this he held a number of senior commercial roles within the Bancassurance Division of the National Australia Bank, managing over $100B in AUM.

In his new role Richard will be looking to capitalise on the significant business and digital transformation taking place in New Ireland, focussing on ensuring New Ireland builds on its traditional strengths of people, customer relationships, product innovation and investment performance to be the first choice for brokers, advisors and customers looking to secure their futures.

Discussing his appointment, Michael Murphy, Managing Director of New Ireland Wealth & Insurance: “We are delighted to appoint Richard to his new role. He brings with him a wealth of industry expertise from a career in the Life Insurance Sector, and has held senior executive roles with a range of Insurers and Banks both Internationally (US, UK and Australia), as well as in Ireland.

Richard has significant commercial experience covering Product, Distribution, Bancassurance, Transformation and Strategy. Additionally, he also provides extensive experience in Group Defined Contribution Pensions, having helped establish NEST (now one of UK’s largest auto-enrolment pension schemes), as well as fund management having worked with Fidelity Investments in Boston.”

Following his appointment, Richard Jones said: “New Ireland is a great company, full of exceptional people and with an incredible heritage of delivering for both advisors and customers. I’m excited to be joining at a time when such a significant investment has been made in transforming the digital capability of the business to create an easy, digital experience for brokers, advisers and customers.”

Mark Nolan, Deputy Managing Partner,

Gary Joyce, Mark Nolan

Pictured (L-R): Gary Joyce, Managing Partner at Genesis & Mark Nolan, Deputy Managing Partner at Genesis

Genesis has announced the appointment of Mark Nolan as Deputy Managing Partner. Mark joined Genesis in 2019 as a Consulting Director and is the first Deputy Managing Partner to be appointed at the firm. As Deputy Managing Partner, Mark will assist Gary Joyce, Managing Partner with the growth and development of the business.

Mark has an extensive background in research, data and analysis and works with leaders, brands and organisations to help them to understand customers and markets and create sustainable value. Before joining Genesis, Mark was Managing Director of two of Ireland’s leading research companies. He is a former Chairperson of The Marketing Society.

Following the announcement, Mark Nolan said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as Deputy Managing Partner and look forward to working with Gary and the leadership team on the continued growth and development of Genesis. We are committed to supporting our clients as they face into a changing world. Genesis has always been focused on creating value through customer, market and organisation strategies and we are expanding our team and continuing to innovate to respond to the needs of our clients.”

Commenting on the appointment Gary Joyce said: “Mark brings a depth of technical, business and leadership experience in competitive environments that will enhance Genesis’s proposition for clients.  I’m delighted to welcome him as Deputy Managing Partner and look forward to working closely with him to build on the success of Genesis over the last twenty-five years.”