New and notable appointments at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Platform94 and RSM Ireland

By Business & Finance
21 March 2024
Picture Caption: David McCourt, Adjunct Professor to support leadership in Artificial Intelligence at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
Pictured: David McCourt, Adjunct Professor, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

This week sees new and notable appointments at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Platform94 and RSM Ireland

David McCourt, Adjunct Professor
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School has announced that technology, media, and telecommunications entrepreneur David McCourt has been appointed as an Adjunct Full Professor to support the School’s national and global leadership ambitions in Artificial Intelligence.

As founder and CEO of worldwide investment firm GranahanMcCourt Capital and the Chairman of National Broadband Ireland, McCourt is described by The Economist as possessing “impeccable credentials as a telecom revolutionary”. Having spent his 30-year career at the intersection of public policy, business and society, McCourt has led major collaborations between private sector corporations and Governments, as well as bodies including the United Nations.

As an Adjunct Professor, McCourt will deliver a number of lectures on AI, technology, entrepreneurship, and leadership to students across all levels and will also provide guidance in programme development, thought leadership and industry engagement.

Professor Anthony Brabazon, Dean of UCD College of Business said: “David has been at the forefront of technology, media, and telecommunications for over 30 years and has been responsible for pioneering many industry firsts. His abilities and experiences as a leader, as an entrepreneur, and as a visionary in connectivity and technology will be invaluable in supporting the School in advancing our educational and thought-leadership activities in the area of Artificial Intelligence. The impact of digital technology will be transformative for global society and business and in line with the School’s mission to ‘lead transformative change’, I am delighted that David will be working with us to achieve this ambition.”

David McCourt, Adjunct Full Professor added, “It is an honour to join UCD as an Adjunct Professor and I am especially pleased to contribute to the School’s vision for AI. As a media commentator, I have been a vocal advocate for Ireland taking a more prominent role on the world stage to help lay the foundations for using AI for good. To support this, this summer we are launching a landmark series of events called “The AI Wealth of Nations” and Ireland will proudly host the first leg of a global tour, bringing together some of the most preeminent thought leaders in the world.

“Ireland has an enviable position hosting almost every big tech brand which have made the country their European home, plus we have an unrivalled track record of introducing bold and pioneering policy decisions, from electrification, to our road network, to free education, to same-sex marriage, to making it a birth right for every man, woman and child to have access to high-speed broadband with the National Broadband Plan.”

“As Ireland will quickly become the most connected country in Europe, it’s an exciting opportunity for leading institutions like UCD to help shape the future of AI, which will touch all of our lives.”

Marie Donnellan, Chief Executive Officer,

Picture caption: Marie Donnellan, CEO of Platform94

Picture: Marie Donnellan, CEO of Platform94

Platform94, the west of Ireland’s largest technology innovation centre, has announced the appointment of former Ernst & Young (EY) Director, Marie Donnellan, as its new Chief Executive Officer. She will take up her new role tomorrow morning, bringing more than 15 years of international finance and business development experience to the position. In addition to her internationally centric role with EY, Ms Donnellan has spent the last number of years working with entrepreneurs and companies across the midwest, west, and northwest, connecting businesses, and helping them to collaborate, scale and grow. She brings this experience and expertise to her new role and is committed to establishing Platform94 as an international centre of excellence for scaling technology businesses.

Joining Platform94 at a pivotal point on its growth journey, Ms Donnellan will build on the tremendous 30-year success story, further powering the regional ecosystem and enabling businesses from across Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, and the wider west and northwest region, to realise their global potential. Undoubtedly, her experience locally, nationally and internationally, will be of huge benefit. She intends to build on the inaugural Enterprise Ireland West NorthWest International Scaleup Programme – launched late last year by the Platform94 team – and to introduce a suite of international scaling services across the region, to help catapult businesses onto the global stage.

The announcement of Ms Donnellan’s appointment comes just weeks after Platform94’s 30th anniversary celebrations and opening of the new €5.2 million extension at its Galway headquarters. The extension was officially opened in late February by Minister Dara Calleary TD, growing its physical presence in Galway to 11 times its original scale. Formerly known as Galway Technology Centre (GTC), Platform94 was originally founded in 1994 to meet the needs of an emerging cluster of ICT companies outside the capital. It is owned by Galway Chamber and WestBIC, and supported by Enterprise Ireland.

Platform94 is recognised as a leader in accelerating innovation-driven enterprises in the west of Ireland. It recently significantly expanded its remit in facilitating the development and expansion of the tech cluster and knowledge economy across the entire western region.

A native of Co Clare but now living in Galway, Ms Donnellan has amassed a wealth of global business experience with EY. She has played a pivotal strategic role in the opening and subsequent expansion of its Galway office, whilst also spearheading the regional Entrepreneur of the Year programme across the midwest, west and northwest. At EY, her core focus was always on the global environment and she very much intends to carry that to Platform94.

Marie Donnellan, Chief Executive Officer, said: “When it comes to business expansion, we should always be looking through an international lens. Ireland has a world-leading ecosystem for fostering innovation and providing support for startup entrepreneurs. However, when it comes to supporting established innovative businesses to scale internationally, I believe there is a gap in the ecosystem, especially at a regional level. At Platform94, we will strive to address that gap, providing businesses with a suite of international scaling support services, regardless of where their business is physically located. I look forward to helping businesses from all over the region, not only in identifying growth opportunities, but in recognising and addressing both internal and external barriers to growth,”

“As a nation, we are naturally creative and entrepreneurial. I want to help showcase our world-class talent and innovations, escalating our efforts to attract more international investment,” she continued. “Entrepreneurship can be a lonely place. At Platform94, our highly talented team can provide those all-important links, helping businesses and key stakeholders to collaborate, and giving businesses the ideal platform for international growth.”

Dave Hickey, Chairperson of Platform94, said: that the Board was thrilled to welcome the new CEO. “Marie has vast experience and a proven track record. Her extensive strategic leadership, together with her financial and business development experience in a global-centric environment, will be of massive benefit. We look forward to seeing her lead Platform94 to expand its regional and national scale-up offerings, and to reach new heights in the international technology landscape over the coming years,” he added.

Paddy Stapleton, Head of Tax,
RSM Ireland

Picture Caption: L- R, Paddy Stapleton, Head of Tax, RSM Ireland, Niall May, Managing Partner, RSM Ireland, Michael Mulholland, Head of Audit, RSM Ireland. Photo credit: Jason Clarke

Picture: L – R, Paddy Stapleton, Head of Tax, RSM Ireland, Niall May, Managing Partner, RSM Ireland, Michael Mulholland, Head of Audit, RSM Ireland. Photo credit: Jason Clarke

RSM Ireland is announcing the appointment of Paddy Stapleton to Head of Tax and Michael Mulholland to Head of Audit.

These two significant appointments come at a time of strong growth for RSM Ireland. In 2023, the business achieved revenue and people growth of 19% and 21% respectively. These results were powered by significant demand across all service lines, particularly in the areas of Audit and Tax where year-on-year growth came in at 32% and 31% respectively. With specialist teams which Paddy and Michael head up, the firm continues to adopt an industry focused approach to market.

In his new role as Head of Tax, Paddy Stapleton will lead the continued growth of RSM’s tax practice, with teams of dedicated subject matter experts in key areas of corporate tax, transfer pricing, VAT, employment tax and private client tax services, serving clients across a diverse range of sectors. Paddy Stapleton will have a particular focus on leading the firm’s tax planning and structuring services for FDI businesses and will serve as the firm’s dedicated US Desk Leader. Paddy has been with RSM Ireland for almost 10 years and became a Partner in January 2020.

Paddy is a graduate of University College Cork, a fellow member of Chartered Accountants Ireland and a Chartered Tax Advisor.

Paddy Stapleton, Head of Tax, said: “I started at RSM Ireland at the beginning of my career and rejoined almost a decade ago. I’m honoured to have been appointed to the role of Head of Tax. It’s such an exciting time to be at RSM in this high growth phase, particularly in the context of our recent strategic investment from RSM UK, which will support us as we continue to invest in specialist tax services to support our clients on international and domestic issues.

Michael Mulholland, Head of Audit,
RSM Ireland

As Head of Audit, Michael Mulholland will lead the provision of audit and related services to RSM Ireland’s clients. Michael Mulholland is also RSM Ireland’s Financial Services Industry leader, and his areas of specialism include the audit of investment funds, investment management companies, structured finance vehicles, broker dealers, investment banking firms and wealth managers. Michael Mulholland is also the Chair of the RSM Global Financial Services Leadership Forum, which sets RSM’s global financial services strategy and has developed a network of expert contacts across RSM’s network of 120 countries. Michael Mulholland has been with RSM for over 10 years and was appointed a Partner in 2021.

Michael is a graduate of Dublin City University and is a fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Niall May, Managing Partner of RSM Ireland, said: “I am delighted to see Paddy and Michael move into these incredibly important roles for RSM Ireland. We are at a stage of growth where we have seen significant demand across all service lines, particularly in the areas of Audit and Tax. Both Paddy and Michael have significant experience in these areas, and we are thrilled that they will be heading up these teams for RSM Ireland as we continue to grow across sectors including Financial Services, Life Sciences and Technology.”

Michael Mulholland, Head of Audit, said: “Since joining RSM Ireland a decade ago we have been on an incredible journey of growth and transformation, from joining the RSM network in 2016 to the major strategic investment from RSM UK which will help create long-term growth and increased competition in the professional services sector in Ireland. I’m delighted to have been appointed to Head of Audit to help RSM Ireland continue the trajectory of growth we have seen since I joined.”

RSM Ireland is a member of RSM International – the sixth-largest network of assurance, tax and consulting firms globally.

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