Irish Director Summer 2015

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Irish Director Irish Director


ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT The win-win case for thinking big




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Letter from the editor Welcome to the summer issue of Irish Director. In our director profile, John Mullins updates us on the challenge and successes since leaving Bord Gáis and setting up his own solar investment company, Amarenco. Cartrawler boss Mike McGearty talks about his company’s progress as it expands its product offering from car rental solutions into other modes of transport. And we hear from Bernard Peillon, CEO and president of Hennessy, about the brand’s values, its Irish heritage and plans for the future. Environment is the focus in our ongoing CSR campaign, which looks at some of trends and best practices as companies become increasingly aware of the business benefits of operating more sustainably. Thanks to the IoD members and others who have contributed their time and shared their expertise and insights. We welcome feedback and suggestions to .


Grainne Rothery Editor, Irish Director

Editor: Grainne Rothery Managing editor: Sorcha Corcoran Designer: Keith Wealleans For all advertising and marketing queries, contact Sam Hobbs on ph: +353 1 625 1425 or email: Irish Director is published by Business & Leadership Ph: +353 1 625 1400 Email: Address: Office 4, 6 Main St, Dundrum, Dublin 14. © Whitespace Publishing Group Ltd

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ISSN: 1649-3621

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Irish Director The Official Magazine Of The Institute of Directors In Ireland

NEWS FROM THE IOD 4 A word from the Institute’s CEO Maura Quinn


UP FRONT News, tips and culture


VIEW FROM ABOVE 12 Leaders offer words of wisdom on sustainability DIRECTOR PROFILE 16 John Mullins on new challenges and opportunities

IoD MEMBER PROFILE 40 Denis Creighton, CEO, Fexco’s managed business solutions and outsourcing business ASIA STRATEGY 42 China and Asia to be core markets for future growth of Datalex SPECIAL REPORT 45 Corporate social responsibility and the environment

SENIOR APPOINTMENTS 60 Who’s moving where in Irish senior NEW FRONTIERS 20 management Cartrawler – looking to new products as well as new customers PERSONAL PICKS 64 Deirdre Keane, director, Crestcom FUTURE BUSINESS 24 Ireland, and Marty Carr, founder of iTagged and the augmented Carr Golf Group reality opportunity Gaming company Havok’s expansion strategy in Asia



WHAT’S ON 68 Cultural calendar dates for the spring

DOING BUSINESS IN 28 70 Looking at the opportunities in the NETWORKING News and photos from the launch Benelux countries of Asia Business Week Ireland What directors need to know about the Companies Act 2014 for further information LEGAL 32 A focus on the key concerns of the Companies Act 2014 For subscriptions, please contact BRANDED 36 +353 1 625 1422 Hennessy celebrates its first 250 years



Business & Leadership would like to thank the patron of Irish Director magazine – Merc Partners –­for its support

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view from the institute

Gender diversity on boards improving but challenges remain We recently conducted research with our women members to assess whether gender diversity on boards in Ireland is improving, given its increased focus in recent years, and to identify what challenges women typically encounter when assessing the boardroom. The Women on Boards Report 2015 found that awareness of the importance of gender diversity on boards in Ireland has improved in recent years, according to 82pc of women surveyed. Such growth in awareness has led many boards to place a higher priority on gender diversity and as a result, the level of representation of women on boards in Ireland is improving. However, while progress is being made there is, without doubt, still some way to go. Glass ceiling The ‘glass ceiling’ remains an issue of concern for one in three women, who believe it is preventing them from accessing the boardroom. There is also a shift in focus to particular sectors, with 27pc of the women surveyed saying that a ‘glass ceiling’ exists in sectors such as financial services, construction, manufacturing and property, a rise of 9pc since similar research was conducted with women members in 2013. Of significant concern is that women continue to feel locked out of the boardroom with the majority, 57pc, claiming that women do not have the same access to information as men when it comes to board positions and consequently, 76pc believe it is more difficult for them to become non-executive directors in Ireland than men. Interlocking directorships, a lack of networks and contacts and ‘male dominated’

boards are considered key barriers to women accessing the boardroom. Reluctance to put themselves forward The research also found that women have become increasingly reluctant to put themselves forward for board positions as a result, with 62pc saying they were more reluctant than men to do so, compared to 43pc in 2013. A lack of confidence, lack of contacts and a lack of female role models in such positions are cited as stumbling blocks, while there is also a sense of disenchantment among the women surveyed with the ‘who you know’ approach to board appointments. In terms of addressing gender imbalance in the boardroom, four in five say that women themselves need to take some responsibility for the low level of women on boards in Ireland, arguing that they need to be more proactive in their approach to securing directorships. Decreasing appetite for formal quotas There is a decreasing appetite for formal quotas, with a reduction since 2013 in the number who say that quotas are most effective in getting more women on boards and an increase in those who argue that quotas are entirely the wrong approach. The largest proportion of women are in agreement that targets would be the preference over quotas, as a means of increasing the number of women on boards in Ireland. While there are positive findings in the research in terms of improvements in recent years, women do not feel they are competing on a level-playing field and the ‘who you know’ culture of board appointments continues to prevail. It is clear that cultural changes are needed in terms of the way in which appointments are advertised and made and a greater focus needs to be placed on addressing issues of access if we want to ensure that the number of women participating in Ireland’s boardrooms continues to grow.

Maura Quinn Chief executive, Institute of Directors in Ireland


10 Sept



National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2

For information on upcoming events please contact Sharon Kirwan on 01 411 0010 or visit




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To book a place at the IoD Autumn Lunch 2015 please contact Sharon Kirwan on 01 411 0010 or visit



1 Oct Venue:

7 Oct Venue:


For information on upcoming workshops please contact Sheila Byrne on 01 411 0010 or visit

> NOT YET A MEMBER? To learn about your role and responsibilities as a director and to develop your professional skills, knowledge and expertise, why not join over 2,200 fellow directors who are already members of the IoD in Ireland. Call us today on 01 411 0010 or visit

Irish Director Summer 2015

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NOT A WISH. A PROMISE. For more than 150 years, a very special passion has driven the people of MSD. A leading global healthcare company, we have a longstanding presence in and commitment to Ireland and aspire to be the best human and animal healthcare company in the country. Our goal is to develop medicines, vaccines and animal health innovations that will improve the lives of millions. We employ over 2,000 people across eight businesses in Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Tipperary and Wicklow, including manufacturing sites, global financial services and commercial operations. A member of Guaranteed Irish, we are proud to be one of Ireland’s leading exporters, manufacturing and packaging many of our leading products in Ireland for the world’s markets. See all we’re doing at


Copyright © 2015 Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., One Merck Drive, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey 08889, USA. All Rights Reserved. CARD-1088502-0008

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Barbara Hepworth, Curved Form (Delphi) 1955 [©The Estate of Dame Barbara Hepworth]

SCULPTURE FOR A MODERN WORLD The first major Barbara Hepworth exhibition to take place in London since 1968 will be in Tate Britain at Millbank from 24 June to 25 October 2015. Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World features some of the artist’s most significant works in wood, stone and bronze alongside some rarely seen pieces. According to Tate Britain, the retrospective will emphasise Hepworth’s often overlooked prominence in the international art world. The exhibition will include over 70 works by the Yorkshire-born sculptor, following her progress from the earliest surviving works to the large scale bronzes of the 1960s. The exhibition will tour to the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo in the Netherlands from November 2015 to April 2016 and to the Arp Museum, Rolandseck in Germany from May to August 2016.


Barbara Hepworth, Squares with Two Circles 1963 [© Tate]

TO EXPLORE TRADE AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES Organised by independent, not-forprofit institute Asia Matters, Asia Business Week Ireland 2015 will take place in Dublin and Cork from 8 to 14 July and will include eight business and cultural events aimed at developing trade and investment opportunities between Ireland and Asia. Speakers at the event will include business leaders from Asia, the EU and Ireland, as well as Government ministers and EU officials. The official launch event also included the launch of Asia Ireland Business Yearbook 2015, published by Asia Matters in association with Business and Leadership.

Martin Murray, chief executive, Asia Matters; Minister for Energy, Environment and Local Government, Alan Kelly; and Alan Dukes, president, Asia Matters

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Thirty-one join Irish Fulbright scholar ranks


Brand champion:

Gary Gartland, co-founder of Coomara Irish Poitín Coomara Irish Poitín was set up by Gary Gartland and Bronagh Conlon in Drogheda, Co Louth in 2013.

Ruairí Robertson, Fulbright-Teagasc/Marine Institute student, UCC; and Gillian Murphy, Fulbright-NUI student UCC This year’s 31 Irish recipients of Fulbright scholarships were announced recently at an event in Iveagh House. The Fulbright Awards have been handed out each year since 1957 by the Irish and US governments and give Irish students, scholars, and professionals an opportunity to study, lecture, and do research at top universities and institutions throughout the US. So far, there are over 2,000 alumni of the Fulbright Ireland programme. “Year on year US and Irish Fulbrighters provide a fascinating insight into the direction of global research in a wide variety of fields,” said US Ambassador, Kevin O’Malley, at the announcement of the awards. “This year we have seen a particular increase in research in the areas of health and technology. The Fulbright programme provides a unique platform for international scholars to break new ground, to collaborate with other world class researchers and to make a difference.” The next round of applications for Irish Fulbright awardees will open on 31 August 2015 with submissions due by 30 October 2015.

Google is most reputable organisation in Ireland - Ireland RepTrak 2105 Google has regained the title of ‘most reputable organisation in Ireland’, followed by Boots, Kellogg’s, Bord Bia and Volkswagen making up the top five, according to the annual Ireland RepTrak 2015 study. This year’s report shows that organisations operating in the retail sector were among those with the top reputations with four ranked in the top 20 in addition to Boots – Smyth’s Toys (9th), Arnotts (14th), Penneys (19th) and Lidl (20th). However, the most trusted industry sector overall is food manufacturing with the least trusted continuing to be banking. The company showing the greatest improvement was Ryanair, whose score climbed from 39 to 54.1 in two years.

How important is a marketing strategy to your brand? We opened up a new category in 2013 by introducing an authentic Irish white spirit for export. Poitín is one of the very few products to receive a geographical indicator status, so we have a responsibility to this authentic Irish product for Gary Gartland, co-founder communicating its history, source of Coomara Irish Poitín and the quality of its production. Building relationships through engagement is core to our brand. We don’t have the same budgets as the major white spirit brands so Coomara works harder using each touch point to build brand name recognition, awareness of brand extensions, attention to detail on our packaging design, competitive pricing, promotion, merchandising and consistent consumer communication platforms. Creating a relationship with Tesco Ireland from the beginning has helped us greatly, in particular to launch the brand on a national scale quickly. We were selected as one of the 20 Irish companies for the Tesco Taste Bud programme, which has prepared us for entry into the UK. Our first export market was South Korea and the product is currently being tested in Holland and Spain. In terms of your own brand, what marketing strategies will you be adopting for the rest of this year and beyond? Coomara Irish Poitín was built on a platform of sharing. Our brand made it to market with the help and vision of Tesco Ireland. We will work hard to bring Coomara to the UK. Opportunities like this don’t come around that often so it’s all hands on decks to get Coomara Poitín on the shelves of Tesco UK. Building on our success of appointing an importer and distributor in South Korea will also be a focus with presentations being made in to China, Holland and Spain in 2016. We will work closely with Bord Bia to find suitable partners. What is your marketing philosophy? Building a brand takes time, commitment, patience and excellent working relationships - each one of these elements is just as important as the other. This is an extract of a Q&A article that first appeared on - http://www.businessandleadership. com/marketing/item/50884.

Summer 2015 Irish Director

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DES LAMONT ELECTED PRESIDENT OF INSTITUTE OF DIRECTORS IN IRELAND Des Lamont was elected president of the Institute of Directors in Ireland (IoD) at the end of May and will now serve a two-year term. He replaces Liam Daniel, director of Horizon Pharma plc. Lamont has a diploma in company direction from the Institute of Directors and originally joined the IoD board in June 2009. He is a director of Medisec Ireland Ltd, having retired as chairman in 2014. He is also a director of Mater Campus Hospital Development Ltd and of Mater Misericordiae & Children’s University Hospitals and was the first chairman of the board of governors from 2000 to 2009. In 2012, he retired as executive chairman of the L&P Group, a company he co-founded in 1987. A fellow of the Pensions Management Institute of Ireland, he also previously served on the National Pensions Board and is a former chairman of the investment committee of the Irish Association of Pension Funds. He has been a member of the newly-established national professional game board of the IRFU since February of this year and is also on the IRFU committee. “The effectiveness of directors and boards is central to good governance, which in turn, is a key driver of business performance in Ireland and the IoD has a critical role to play in this regard,” he said. “I look forward to underlining the business case for good governance throughout my term as president.”

The IoD has also appointed Elaine Coughlan and Gabriel D’Arcy to its board after both were formally elected at the institute’s AGM on 28 May.

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Si Des Lamont



IRELAND UP TO 19TH IN WEF RANKING OF WORLD’S MOST TOURIST FRIENDLY COUNTRIES Ireland has been ranked 19th in a new World Economic Forum (WEF) index of the world’s most tourist friendly countries. It’s a jump of two places for Ireland since the last WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report was compiled in 2013. Overall, Spain was found to be most competitive country for tourism, followed by France, Germany, the US and the UK. The report ranks the performance of 141 countries across 14 different categories, measuring the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector in a country. Ireland’s placings in each of the 14 categories are: Business environment – 14th; Safety and security – 15th; Health and hygiene – 50th; Human resources and labour market – 12th; ICT readiness – 30th; Prioritisation of travel and tourism – 28th; International openness – 5th; Price competitiveness – 122nd; Environmental sustainability – 2nd; Air transport infrastructure – 30th; Ground and port infrastructure – 24th; Tourist service




infrastructure – 11th; Natural resources – 72nd; and Cultural resources and business travel – 31st.

Round Tower and Church, Glendalough © Chris Hill Photographic

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how companies in Ireland are helping to make a difference Volunteer Ireland CEO Nina Arwitz discusses the growing interest in employee volunteering in Ireland It’s estimated that between 25pc and 40pc of the Irish population regularly volunteers. Economically, volunteering is estimated to be 2.7pc of GDP of developed countries Nina Arwitz – which in Ireland’s case equates to over €3bn. Volunteering is the engine that powers over 12,000 volunteer-involving organisations in Ireland, whose very purpose is to contribute to the common good. Volunteering plays a crucial role in providing a platform for those who are unemployed or underemployed to develop new skills, gain valuable experience to add to their CV and expand their professional network. Volunteering also provides an opportunity for professionals to contribute skills and expertise to a charity or community group and help to make a real social impact. I firmly believe that everyone has so much to give and gain from volunteering. So why doesn’t everyone volunteer? Well, in research recently carried out by NFPSynergy, one in five people in Ireland don’t volunteer because they don’t know where or how to get involved. The other big barrier to volunteering is time. NFPSynergy found that 50pc of Irish people feel they don’t have the time required to volunteer. This is where Irish companies can make a big impact in making volunteering more accessible, by giving employees the time and opportunity to volunteer during company hours. A well-developed employee volunteering programme offers myriad benefits to companies, employees and the community. There are many misconceptions when it comes to employee volunteering programmes – this is not about encouraging employees to work for the company for free, nor is it about telling employees that they have to volunteer for a charity during work time. An employee volunteering programme should always be focused on giving employees the opportunity to volunteer, without taking annual leave. Volunteering should always be carried out by choice; it needs to be something an employee elects to do. Employee volunteering programmes give staff the time and opportunity to lend their time, skills or expertise to a charity. Volunteering can increase job satisfaction, attitude and morale. We are also seeing a growing interest in skilled volunteering – matching employee expertise to a charity’s need for professional skills such as business development, marketing or IT. For a charity, the impact can be enormous. This is an excerpt of a piece that first appeared on businessandleadership. com -


KEVIN GAFFNEY WINS SKY ACADEMY ARTS SCHOLARSHIP Visual artist Kevin Gaffney has been named the Irish winner of the Sky Academy arts scholarship. The 28 year-old Dublin artist, who works in photography and film, will receive £30,000 (€38,000) towards the development of an artistic project and the cost of living for one year, along with mentoring from Sky and the arts industry. Gaffney’s work has been shown in exhibitions and film festivals internationally, including the Sapporo International Art Festival (Japan, 2014) and the Poetry Project at the Royal Hibernian Academy (Dublin, 2013). For his Sky Academy arts scholarship project, he plans to create and exhibit a new body of work, ‘Tectonic Plates of Conversion’, exploring areas of forgotten industries that remain as spectres on the Irish landscape. The Sky Academy scholarships are intended to help young artists across Ireland and the UK to develop their creative practice and take their work to the next level. This year, four scholarships were awarded in the UK and one was awarded exclusively to an Irish applicant.

Economic power of all women in society a key factor in female board representation - study Increasing the economic power of all women in society is a key factor in women reaching and staying on corporate boards, according to a recent study. Economic power is defined by factors outside the boardroom, including women’s expected years of education and participation in the labour force. Interestingly, Ireland was ranked fifth best in the world for female economic power, behind Australia, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Saudi Arabia, India and United Arab Emirates were found to be among the lowest performing countries. The study - The rise of women in society: enablers and inhibitors - focused on whether economic, cultural, political and legislative factors influence women’s representation and longevity on corporate boards. The research looked at 1,002 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 list across 41 countries spanning six continents and 51 industries over a 10-year period. “This research marks a step change in current thinking around quotas and highlights the importance of empowering and supporting women at all stages of their careers,” said Curtis Arledge, vice chairman of BNY Mellon and CEO BNY Mellon Investment Management.

Irish Director Summer 2015

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Mr. Markus Beyrer Director General of Business Europe

Mr. Haruki Hayashi

Managing Director, Mitsubishi International Corporation (Europe) Plc.

Mr. Colin Ellis

Ms. Jan O’Sullivan TD

Chief Credit Officer, Moody's Investor’s Services

Minister for Education and Skills

Mr. Phil Hogan

Mr. Sang Woo Kim

European Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development

President of Corporate Affairs Europe, Samsung

Mr. Zhang Feng

Mr. Danny McCoy

Director, Institute of Food Safety at Chinese Academy of Inspection & Quarantine

Chief Executive, Ibec


Ireland China Business Summit

Asia Ireland Education & Global Talent Forum

Asia Ireland Financial Services Forum

8 JULY 2015

9 JULY 2015

9 JULY 2015

Asia Matters Economic Innovation Award Dinner

Seventh EU Asia Top Economist Round Table

Asia Fashion Showcase

9 JULY 2015

10 JULY 2015

11 JULY 2015


Cork China Business Summit

Asia Ireland Food & Agritech Forum

13 JULY 2015


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view from above


2020 INSIGHTS The drivers for change Environmental sustainability over the next few years is going to be characterised by a number of game changers coming on stream at the moment. The circular economy, energy saving devices and transformational innovation are the key drivers. One of the most notable of these is Elon Musk’s Tesla Powerwall rechargeable battery, which was announced a couple of months ago. The battery can store enough surplus solar energy to supply a standard house with up to five hours of power. It’s not excessively expensive [from US$3,000 excluding installation] and should certainly come down in price over the coming years, particularly as Tesla has said it will make the technology freely available to other developers. It’s a game changer, because right across the globe there will now be areas where the idea of running electricity grids will come into question. In Africa, it will have huge implications and will

TINA ROCHE is chief executive of Business in the Community Ireland.

from some of Ireland’s business leaders

free people up from the limits of the electricity grid. While the batteries are primarily for domestic use at the moment, they will be developed and have huge potential for small manufacturing operations. This technology will really change the way people feel about energy. If you can get free or low cost energy, it changes how people innovate and produce things and how they think about doing that. Another important trend I see coming down the road is a more targeted approach to sustainability. For example, while drones have traditionally been used as a military intervention, now they can be used for the targeted spraying of crops. If there’s an infestation, it’ll be possible to pinpoint it and spray only the affected area rather than taking a blanket approach. Internationally, I believe there’ll be an increasingly targeted approach to some sustainability issues. Here in Ireland, meanwhile, companies are definitely trying to get to zero in some areas, zero waste to landfill, zero carbon emissions (net) and to minimise their energy usage. However, the bigger issue going forward will be how they produce shared value, how we get products that use less. I think people are thinking in that way and we’ve made that gear shift. When it comes to developing products, people are increasingly focused on energy ratings and what can be done to make improvements in this area, as well as considering what materials might be used to make them more efficient and whether they can be reused. So the circular economy is coming into play. This trend started with mobile phones but people are applying the learnings to many other products like packaging and electrical goods. They’re looking at what can be used from the items that are returned through WEEE. Product designers and manufacturers are increasingly looking to ensure that if they do get products back that these can be taken apart safely and can reused safely. We can take it as read that climate change is the most pressing problem of our times. But even if we got emissions under control, the planet still has finite resources. We need to find a way to ensure that we can feed 7 billion people and do that well. I think all the general trends are pointing in the right direction.

‘Even if we got emissions under control, the planet still has finite resources. We need to find a way to ensure that we can feed 7 billion people and do that well’

Irish Director Summer 2015

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The transformative power of getting sustainability right Sustainability has been in the business lexicon for some time now, but what exactly does it mean? As language, it has been used, and abused, in so many ways, from environmental to economic, or to brand chocolate, cars and corporations. And as a strategic concept? Surely no business thinks of itself as unsustainable? Like all dimensions of what is sometimes put together as the corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda, sustainability practice ranges from deep to very shallow. And like all CSR, doing it badly can do more harm than good. Customers and investors know greenwash when they see it. On the other hand, when it is done right it can be utterly transformative. Take energy. Ireland currently imports billions of euros worth of fossil fuels, wastes hundreds of millions of euros through inefficient energy use, and emits millions of tonnes of polluting greenhouse gases. All of these unsustainabilities must be addressed, and addressed as core strategic issues. Many businesses are already responding, realising how energy efficiency can reduce costs, increase competitiveness and, importantly, contribute to their sustainability. Apple’s recent major investment announcement for Galway made specific reference to the importance of renewable energy availability in Ireland. The Cork Lower Harbour Group, which brings together hi-tech companies DePuy Synthes, GSK, Janssen Biologics and Novartis, have invested between them over €20m in sustainable energy in the past three years, including the development of wind energy generation for their own use. Similarly, a growing number of firms are looking to local biomass resources to meet their need for heat, Aurivo in Roscommon and Abbvie in Cork being two recent examples. And at the same time, major new business investments, including by Diageo, Glanbia and Dairygold, have all put sustainability into the core design. There was a time when these kinds of actions and investments were rare, but now they are becoming utterly normal. Would we call this kind of behaviour CSR? When does CSR step out of that box and become core business? That I feel the need to ask these questions points to the risk of CSR becoming something other than core business – some kind of side project to make everyone look good or feel good. I don’t suggest that is what is happening – my own perception is CSR in Ireland is usually a rich and meaningful activity that is an important part of a firm’s identity. But I still worry when I see it marked out as a distinct activity away from the central business of the firm. No part of CSR, and in particular sustainability, benefits from this. Sustainability is no longer a fringe issue or optional extra, but a major strategic driver in business globally. A transformation in energy and resources is taking place. Last year, over £300bn was invested in clean energy around the world. In Europe, investment in clean energy assets is now larger than in fossil fuel assets. Businesses that are still viewing this as some kind of side event will get left behind.

BRIAN MOTHERWAY is chief executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

This agenda suits Ireland. We have rich clean energy resources, and these are the energy sources of the future, not those of the past. Equally, the engine of the global sustainability shift is ICT innovation. We are strong here, and new technologies and solutions are emerging all the time. An Irish technology that can help reduce energy bills and carbon emissions will find markets everywhere. A firm whose business depends on large amounts of expensive, imported, polluting resources will find it harder and harder to thrive anywhere. In an arena of rapid change, victory goes to those ready to adapt and capture new opportunities. Our innovative spirit is our strength, but only if we treat this seriously.

‘I still worry when I see [CSR] marked out as a distinct activity away from the central business of the firm’ Summer 2015 Irish Director

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The importance of standards

MARK O’CONNOR is associate director, Global Energy Group Committee of Expertise, EMEA, MSD.

Ireland has been internationally recognised as playing a leadership role in the area of energy management and as it is estimated that energy management standards could influence 60pc of the world’s energy use, Irish-based organisations are uniquely positioned to benefit. A wealth of experience exists in Ireland with regard to energy management and this permeates across the entire pharmaceutical industry. One of the first of its type in the world, the Irish energy management standard IS 393 was developed in 2005 by the National Standards Authority of Ireland in consultation with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and industry representatives. It led the way in providing the blueprint for a new European energy management standard EN 16001, published in August 2009. MSD Ireland’s sites in Brinny, Co Cork and Rathdrum, Co Wicklow have accreditation to this standard. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has since developed an international standard, ISO 50001, published in June 2011, which is now the industry best practice for operational energy management.

It provides the most robust framework for optimising energy efficiency in public and private sector organisations. Certification to this standard defines an organisation’s commitment to continual improvement in energy management. Implementation will enable an organisation to lead by example within its respective industries and ensure related legislative and regulatory requirements are met. Some countries already have energy efficiency requirements, such as existing legislation around energy efficiency plans in the Netherlands or tax breaks for having ISO 50001 in place in Germany. In Ireland, if you have a site that is listed as Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), it is deemed to have active energy management programmes. ETS sites are currently exempt from Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the local regulation (SI) 426. Despite this, three MSD Ireland sites are pursuing ISO 50001 certification this year - going above and beyond what is required as part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability and responsible citizenship. I am currently also advocating the use of a recently launched energy standard called IS399 Energy Efficient Design Standard which focuses on a best practice EED methodology that can be applied to any project that ensures energy efficiency is captured at the design stage and allow for more informed investment decision making. There is a lot of good energy work going on by Ireland Inc and MSD Ireland has participated in a number of high-level working groups in the area involving key stakeholders. Energy use accounts for around 10pc of operational costs in the pharmaceutical industry so it is not necessarily a key element of our business. What is really motivating the sector to improve energy management is mostly its environmental responsibilities and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Most GHG emission reductions will come from energy efficiency improvements at our facilities.

‘A wealth of experience exists in Ireland with regard to energy management and this permeates across the entire pharmaceutical industry’

Irish Director Summer 2015

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Rewarding excellence in energy management



Whether you’re an individual, business, public body or community organisation, you could get public recognition for your sustainable energy achievements. Enter now at Closing date: Friday 26th June 2015

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director profile



Former Bord Gáis boss John Mullins has gone from being at the helm of one of Ireland’s largest companies to running a start-up in a space that is at the cutting edge of how power generation is changing, writes Grainne Rothery


he decision to leave Bord Gáis at the end of 2012 after five years as CEO made setting up his own company – Amarenco Solar – something of an inevitable next move, says John Mullins. “You head up a company like Bord Gáis – one of the largest in the country – where do you go from there? There wasn’t a vacancy at ESB and after taking 500,000 customers from them I’m not too sure they’d welcome me with open arms.” Despite being something of an energy sector lifer, it’s been a varied career for Mullins so far. After an electrical engineering degree at University College Cork, he spent four years at ESB before going back to do a master’s in 1993. He returned to ESB to work with what is now Eirgrid and then moved into the corporate centre. Following an MBA at Smurfit Business School, completed in 1997, he spent two years in London with PwC as a senior management consultant, working with utilities, rail and telecoms companies. He returned to Ireland to head up ESB International’s European investment, a role that focused on projects in Poland and Spain. “Then, I moved on to NTR and was involved with all aspects of the business, particularly working on the initial phase of Airtricity, working with Greenstar, and setting up an ethanol company in the US. “I got a phone call one day at 39 – would I be interested in looking at Bord Gais.” He took over as chief executive in December 2007 and remained in the role for five years.

“Then the whole hoo-ha about people’s salaries and bonuses came up around that time. I was chief executive of a company where I thought I added a lot of value and am still of this view. The reality is that I’m a firm believer in performance management.” Timing also played a role. “It wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying the job – I was. But I was 44; I thought if I do another five years, what am I going to do at 50? So I decided to go and have a crack at something new while I was still young enough and still had the energy.” He had also recognised what he believes is a strong opportunity. “I had been involved in renewables and had set up a large renewables business within Bord Gáis from nothing. So I thought maybe I could do it again with a different form of technology in solar.” Amarenco is an investment company that sources, structures, finances and asset manages utility scale, long-term solar photovoltaic plants, with a focus on the French and Irish markets at the moment. According to Mullins, the company has been quite successful to date. “The investors that have come in with us so far have ended up with successful investments that are performing very well. Hopefully it’s going to be onwards and upwards for the company.” For Mullins, it’s obviously been a significant change. “There’s never assurance. It’s different to being in a semi-state position where you’re permanent and the company is large. Essentially, you’re moving from one transaction to another and you’re only as good as your last deal and your next one.”

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‘If you’re serious about something, you have to put a target on the wall and you have to keep on aiming for it’

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‘If you’re being well paid at the top level in a company then milestone management shouldn’t be a problem to you’ Paradigm shift He firmly believes that the energy industry is undergoing a paradigm shift. “I had come from a large scale utility where you had large plants. Now you have a very different world where power generation is happening at a distributed level. Even battery storage is at a distributed level. I am not so sure utilities actually understand or are catching up with what’s going to happen here. Technology is going to dominate how energy is done in the future. And it’s not going to be very large plants like Moneypoint or Poolbeg or North Wall. “I’ve seen that happening and coming and have taken a view that I wanted to be active in it and my partners are on this journey as well.” The aim is for Amarenco to build up an asset base that will grow to between €300m and €500m worth of assets. “We’re already at over €100m in the space of 14 months. We have seven projects in France that we’re working on at the moment that are worth over €200m. And in Ireland we have around €180m worth of development sites in motion.” He believes the company could easily reach the €500m mark in terms of solar panels on the ground in the two markets within two to three years. “And we still haven’t given up the thought of potentially moving into the UK market. “The plan is to build up scale and once we have that scale there’s going to be an exit for the company or a fund raise and that could be in the form of a trade sale through an institution or it could be a listing. That remains to be seen.” While he doesn’t think this will happen for at least two years, he says approaches will be made. “When you’re at that scale, people take notice of you.” While Ireland doesn’t have a renewable energy feed-in tariff for solar, Mullins is hopeful that this will change in the not too distant future. “It probably wasn’t an option up to now in the context that wind was filling the gap. But wind has its challenges. It is still the cheapest form of renewable energy but if we want to meet our targets we’re going to have to take the next best technology, which is solar in an Irish context. And that means you’re going to have to have a tariff and you’re going to have to have a subsidy. “Early indications are that there is greater engagement on this now. People are starting to understand that solar is the number one new power source in the world, and Ireland does get sunshine. Why would we not have a power business that doesn’t take any fossil fuels and will improve the balance of trade in Ireland and put money into rural communities?”

In addition to his day job, Mullins is active in a non-executive capacity as, among other things, chairman of the Port of Cork, Heneghan PR and Anam Cara. He also has a deep interest in the peace process and is involved in the Cork committee of Co-operation Ireland.

High expectations Asked about his leadership style he says anybody who’s worked with or for him would probably describe him as straightforward, motivating and open 95pc of the time. “But then there are times when, if you’re up against a deadline and you feel people aren’t pulling their weight, a different form of leadership kicks in that’s more milestone driven. “I’ve high expectations. And if you’re being well paid at the top level in a company then milestone management shouldn’t be a problem to you.” His general philosophy is that life is not a dress rehearsal. “You try to pack in as much as you can. And that’s really why I do what I do and why I stay driven.” Money is not his motivation, he says. “I’m much more interested in building a company that’s going to create jobs and gets stronger and stronger. As I say to people, I’m chairman of the port, but I don’t own a yacht. I have no interest in ever owning a yacht. I grew up in a humble background.” He stresses the importance of having an overarching vision. “My sense is that if you’re serious about something, you have to put a target on the wall and you have to keep on aiming for it. Even in this business I had fairly low moments where things didn’t happen the way I wanted them to happen. I had to retrace my steps and basically start again. “But we’ve got there to a certain point and now we’re moving on to the next phase where instead of managing one or two projects at a time, we’re moving to managing seven and even 12 projects at a time. That means new people and more formality attached to it.” Despite this change, he prioritises being personally involved in negotiating land deals with farmers around the country. “I go and visit them because they deserve the respect of somebody who’s going to be contracting with them for 25 years to turn up to do the deal with them. Trying to do a deal with farmers in Ireland is interesting. They are good businesspeople. But not many people write about how good they are at business.” There are no regrets about leaving Bord Gáis. “[If I were still there]

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I’d be dealing with the sale of the assets and with Irish Water and Gas Networks Ireland. It’s not that I’d run away from that challenge but I had it for five years. “The reality is that this is a very different challenge. If it doesn’t happen and if it doesn’t move forward it’s already benefited those who’ve invested in the company. We just announced a nine-month dividend for our first plant in France and it was 7.5pc post tax. I don’t know too many Irish companies that are providing that kind of dividend to their investors. I’m an investor myself so I’m happy with it. “We’ve built assets and we’re going to build assets. And that’s exciting. Thankfully, I still have the energy for doing it. I don’t think I


would have had the energy in eight or ten years from now. I certainly wouldn’t be putting in the mileage I do with the land deals.” Looking to the future, he says people often suggest his plan is to enter politics after making his money. He’s a former president of Young Fine Gael, so the suggestion has some weight. “You never know what you’re going to do later on life,” he says. “But I’m not too sure I’d have the patience. Ninety-five percent of the time I’d be fine, but five percent it wouldn’t be appropriate. But I get the sense that people are warming more to straight talkers. I think it’s refreshing to see people who’ll tell the truth whether it’s going to harm them or not electorally. That’s a good thing and it’s what you have to do in business every day of the week.”

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new frontiers

‘Airlines and travel companies were looking for ancillary revenue and wanted to partner with companies that weren’t core to their business’

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Trawling the


Dublin-based e-commerce company CarTrawler is expanding its multibrand car rental solution into other modes of transport having signed up 80 airlines as partners over the past eight years, writes Sorcha Corcoran


hen Mike McGearty joined travel technology company CarTrawler as chief executive officer in 2006 the then two-year old business was very much broker-based offering online car rental to the UK market. He and chief technology officer Bobby Healy, who had been appointed in mid-2005, wanted to internationalise it and recognised that they would mainly achieve this on the business-to-business front. The pair has steamed ahead with this vision as the company has gone from securing its first international airline customer in 2007 - Lot Polish Airlines - to having 80 on its books and grown its workforce from 10 people to 400 at its Dundrum, Dublin offices. It announced last October that it would be creating 400 new jobs in Dublin over a three-year timeframe. The first phase of the recruitment drive has been completed with around 200 of these positions already filled across a range of functions including senior roles in business development, customer operations, data science, finance and engineering, according to McGearty. With small additional offices in Boston and London, CarTrawler now provides travel brands with a direct connection to over 1,300 car rental agents in over 30,000 airport and city locations in 174 countries and has recently branched into other forms of transportation further to acquiring Finnish taxi booking solutions provider Cabforce. Last year, CarTrawler was responsible for 2.5 million car rental bookings equivalent to a total transaction value of €0.5bn. “At the time when Bobby and I came on board, airlines and travel companies were looking for ancillary revenue and wanted to partner with companies that weren’t core to their business. This was a great opportunity for us. So we decided to build the existing platform out to support that,” McGearty explains. Healy’s background was in middleware in the travel sector and he was used to dealing with large airlines and travel companies while McGearty is a qualified chartered management accountant who had previously held senior roles for five years apiece in software companies eWare and Point Information Systems. He was introduced to CarTrawler after a year spent travelling. “From the outset we realised that having the technology that

would integrate seamlessly into airlines’ existing systems was extremely important. It only took a year to get the new platform up and running and within 15 months we had transitioned all of our existing business across onto it,” says McGearty. “The key thing that differentiated CarTrawler from solutions already in place was that a lot of airlines were in single supplier relationships with car rental brands whereas we had multiple car rental brands on the platform. This means customers can base their choice on location, price or whatever parameters influence them. The conversion rate is much higher with this model than with the single supplier relationship.” The development strategy has focused on targeting key airlines and travel companies, rather than specific markets or regions. Trade shows have played an important role in this regard, with both McGearty and Healy often appearing as speakers on the international circuit, sharing thought leadership in the e-commerce space and updating people in the travel sector on latest advancements. “In the beginning, airlines would approach us if they didn’t have an online solution for car rental at all or wanted to introduce the multi-supplier model. Timing is everything. Car rental had previously been seen by airlines as simply offering a service to customers, but it transitioned 10 years ago into a revenue opportunity for them. Once it did they wanted to make sure they had all the choice customers would look for. “There has been a snowball effect in terms of how the business has grown. If we secure a large partner in one region, lots more suppliers want to work with us in that region because they see we have a big carrier as a client and lots of other e-commerce retailers will see us providing the solution and they’ll also want to work with us.” Emirates, Virgin Australia, WestJet, Finnair, Luxair and Air Asia are among CarTrawler’s airline partners. In terms of how the revenue model works, CarTrawler maintains all the relationships with suppliers and earns a commission on every booking, which it shares with its partners depending on where the booking was made. For example, if a

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An eye on CSR and skills CarTrawler CEO Mike McGearty was appointed to the board of notfor-profit organisation Enactus Ireland in April of this year to support its chairperson Terence O’Rourke and other board members in developing the programme here. Founded in the US in 1975, Enactus is an international organisation that encourages university students to make a positive difference to their communities, while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders of the future. “Corporate social responsibility is something that is coming onto everybody’s radar. I think it is important to look at things that allow you to say you’re working in that area while also highlighting it to employees,” says McGearty. “CarTrawler employees have gotten involved in the Enactus programme, providing training to students for example. For us, it is important that we get to talk to people outside of our normal environment. Talking to students and seeing the projects they’re working on helps us to develop our people and determine what courses universities need to be doing to supply us with necessary skills. “The skills market is becoming tighter again. We grew the business during a time when the economy was going through a lot of turmoil. Now it is much stronger, but this means more opportunities for talented people. It is becoming more and more difficult to get the right people; it’s just something everyone has to recognise.”

car hire booking is made on, CarTrawler generates revenue from that booking which it shares with both Aer Lingus as well as the car rental supplier. The latest development McGearty and Healy have been speaking about at international events has been the expansion of its product into new modes of transport, namely taxi booking. CarTrawler completed the Cabforce acquisition in April for an undisclosed amount, backed by funds advised by BC Partners and Insight Venture partners. With a unified service at over 200 locations in 54 countries, Cabforce is “the industry benchmark” for taxi booking, powering millions of business trips each year, McGearty says.

“CarTrawler already has the most comprehensive range of car rental available online. Now with the addition of Cabforce content and specialist expertise to our existing portfolio of ground transportation products, we will significantly enhance the level of service, product range and availability for customers. “The transaction will create tangible opportunities to further accelerate growth through expansion into the markets and trade channels to which both companies provide a gateway.” And McGearty and his team don’t want to stop there. “We are currently aggregating train and bus content ourselves. If there is an expert out there that has already built a platform for buses and trains and it would advance our position and accelerate our performance we would look at it. “Previously our entry point was to offer a multiple offering for car rental, but now it is actually about saying, if you don’t want car rental, what are you looking for in terms of transport to and from the airport? “We have invested a huge amount in data science to help us to identify what the correct product is for the person booking a flight. For example, somebody going on a one-day return from Dublin to Heathrow most likely won’t want to hire a car, but might want a bus. We use algorithms to determine which offers to display to which customers and this evolves as the environment and seasons change. “What everybody in e-commerce is trying to get to is where Amazon is today. As you’re expanding your product, you have to make sure you’re expanding it in the right way at the right time.” McGearty says he and his team knew from the beginning there were no barriers to restrict CarTrawler from growing on a global basis. “The key thing was to have good content. Once you create relationships with suppliers and sell those before going live, the content can come later and one satisfies the other. The key attraction for me with CarTrawler is that it is a highly global business that could be scaled very quickly once you got the strategy right. “There are 680 airlines in the world and we want to sign up as many of those as we can over time. For a lot of them now car rental is not core and they want to outsource it to a strong brand. At some stage we will look at expanding geographically in terms of offices and question for example where we should service Asia from.”

‘Car rental had previously been seen by airlines as simply offering a service to customers, but it transitioned 10 years ago into a revenue opportunity for them’ Irish Director Summer 2015

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future business

A new


A conference in Dublin heard recently how augmented reality (AR) will be the next big thing to impact the business world. Irish start-up iTagged has already tapped into its potential, writes Sorcha Corcoran


rish social augmented reality (AR) platform iTagged is opening a new office in Boston at the end of June, three years since it was founded by Keith Jordan, who was a speaker recently at the second European Augmented Reality Marketing Conference in Croke Park. AR is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is often associated with wearable technologies for consumers such as the Apple Watch or Google Glass, but gradually it is making its way into industry – for example, US AR development company Daqri has invented a ‘smart helmet’ that allows construction workers to see graphical directions while on the job. Having previously founded interactive sandwich board pioneer Adwalker and brought it to a London Stock Exchange initial public offering in 2005, Jordan saw a specific opportunity in the AR space in 2012 while at a Leinster Rugby match in the RDS in Dublin. “I looked around the crowd and I could see people taking photos and recording videos of the atmosphere and the crowd singing,” he recalls. “It was then it clicked with me that there was no way I could see all the content other people had captured on their mobile phones. “If I followed them on Facebook I might see it but I was surrounded by strangers and I obviously didn’t follow them. So I thought, ‘how can I enable people to capture content in context, capture the moment forever and share their experiences with the world?’.” This was the seed for iTagged and from there, Jordan decided to use AR as “the secret sauce” for real world sharing and the concept was born, he says. “If you go to the RDS today you’ll see our holographic tags floating around the ground on your mobile device with content from match days, videos and conversations between fans. These tags are essentially time capsules that people can view for years to come. “When the Leinster RDS ground has been redeveloped, iTagged can be used to see what was there originally - it’s a brilliant way of exploring the past and providing context for the content to the relevant audience.”

Developing the business

in Dublin 3 and is recruiting an initial two staff for the Boston office. Jordan says that while bringing Adwalker to an IPO was a “brilliant experience”, he wanted to make sure his next venture was mobile based to allow infinite scale. In terms of how he went about developing the business, Jordan says: “We’ve invested heavily in our application programme interface and back-end to ensure seamless growth and also invested in intellectual property including patent filings and trademark registrations. “Our market focus is primarily North America so we made sure to protect ourselves in that marketplace.” He decided to open an office in Boston because he finds doing business easier on the East Coast and the large Irish-American population “opens significant doors and opportunity”. “I enjoy going to Silicon Valley but the sheer amount of start-ups from around the world heading west makes it difficult to recruit talent and even more difficult trying to keep them,” he notes. “The competition in salaries from the billion dollar-plus companies is practically impossible to compete against and with the time difference I always feel like I’m losing days when based there trying to work with our developers in the Dublin office. “Boston can be easily reached in a few hours, has a large number of college graduates for recruiting talent and a large pro-Irish investment community so it ticks all the boxes for me.”

The future with AR Jordan sees massive potential for iTagged going forward as augmented reality is expected to outpace virtual reality by a huge margin. “Interestingly, the virtual reality market is getting all the press since Facebook bought Oculus Rift last year for US$2bn. However the most recent qualitative research [by Digi-Capital in the US] says that AR will be a US$120bn market and VR only worth US$30bn by 2020. “Such is the interest in augmented reality Google recently invested US$500m into augmented reality glass maker Magic Leap. AR is the future because it’s based in the real world and is inherently far more social than virtual reality. “Our plan is to make iTagged the leading social augmented reality platform globally - we are already working with several global tech companies in Silicon Valley so the future is very bright indeed.”

iTagged currently employs eight people at its office at The Distillery

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Keith Jordan, founder, iTagged

‘If you go to the RDS today you’ll see our holographic tags floating around the ground on your mobile device with content from match days, videos and conversations between fans’ Summer 2015 Irish Director

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Sorcha Corcoran speaks to chief executive of Havok David Coughlan about its expansion strategy in Asia following strong penetration of western markets


ver since it was founded in Dublin 15 years ago by Hugh Reynolds and Steven Collins as a spinout from Trinity College Dublin, provider of game development technologies Havok has been 100pc export focused, which has contributed greatly to its success, according to chief executive David

Coughlan. Acquired by chip giant Intel in 2007 for US$110m in cash, Havok developed a physics engine that is used in many of the top selling computer games for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms, and its technology has been used in films such as The Matrix, Kingdom of Heaven and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Coughlan says the Havok team was forced to think big and externally almost from the word go as there wasn’t a gaming industry in Ireland at the time that it could target its software solutions towards. “We had to go and knock on the doors of the largest entertainment companies in the world and were forced to prove our product line in some of the most challenging and largest markets in the world. This was a stepping stone to success in other markets.”

Looking East Having started with the US and built success there as well as in other western markets, Havok turned its attention towards Asia about eight years ago in the conviction that it had a globally applicable solution. Its three key markets in Asia now are Japan, South Korea and China. Experience has shown that each of these markets is very different from a gaming industry perspective, as well as in terms of consumer trends, Coughlan notes. “It is sometimes tempting to think of Asia as homogenous but this is far from the case. Japan has a mature gaming industry, a strong track record and is home to some of the pioneers of the original video games. “South Korea and China are newer to the gaming industry, but

represent enormous markets. South Korea is one of the largest consumers of video games in the world and a pioneer in PC online games while in China there are many large media companies such as Tencent that are major players in the global games industry.”

Japan first port of call Havok’s Asian strategy involved targeting the Japanese market first – knowing it would take a sustained effort to establish itself there – and setting up operations on the ground in each market from there on. “Before entering the Japanese market, the initial step was just to fact find. We networked and talked to anyone we could who was selling product into the region, particularly software related, and thought about how the product would best fit the market,” Coughlan explains. “We ruled out using a distributor at an early stage, simply because of the nature of the product. You have to evaluate different industries on their own merits in Japan. Because we are selling a complex software product, we felt we needed our own sales and engineering team on the ground. We incorporated an entity in Japan and Enterprise Ireland helped us to get an office set up in Tokyo. “We began relatively small, with two or three sales and engineering staff, and applied our standard business model proven out in western markets but on a smaller scale. From there, we grew our presence in a profitable way and then scaled the office in line with the overall growth of the business. “Now all major publishers of games in Japan are using Havok software tools as an important part of their production process. Japan has been a real market success for us.”

Local Focus Coughlan is confident of similar success in South Korea and China, both of which it entered four years ago by establishing local operations in Seoul and Shanghai respectively. “We hired local people to work at our offices in Seoul and Shanghai

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David Coughlan, chief executive, Havok

‘If you can prove your product to be a success in Japan, you will literally have battle tested exports anywhere.’ as we felt it was important to have our own employees in these markets and that they would feel that they are part of the overall company. We make sure the local sales teams come to global sales conferences and trade shows so they experience the way in which we do business elsewhere,” he says. “While we are at an earlier stage in South Korea and China compared to Japan, we are at a point where we look across Asia and see enormous plcs such as Nintendo and Sony using our software as an important component in game production. “We have started doing business with major players in South Korea and China and there is a lot of opportunity to drive our software as a standard in both.” Havok’s success in western markets put it in a position where it was able to at least get in the door of target companies in its three Asian markets, but Coughlan stresses that there was much more to it when it came to getting deals signed. “In a market like Japan it is absolutely critical that you have a proven market leading product as the bar is higher there than anywhere else in the world. If you can prove your product to be

a success in Japan, you will literally have battle tested exports anywhere. “When going to meet the Japanese companies however, a track record in the West doesn’t quite carry as much clout as you might expect. They will listen to success stories and they count for something, but Asian companies want to see how you do business in Asia. They want to see a sustained focus on the region. “Face time is very important and you have to have a local presence on the ground and attend trade fairs. Success and the quality of your product are important, but your integrity as a company and your visible commitment to Asian markets matters more.” This article first appeared in Ireland Asia Business Yearbook 2015, which was published by Asia Matters in association with Business & Leadership []. The Asia Matters event Asia Business Week Ireland is taking place in July (

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doing business in ...



The Benelux countries offer big opportunities to Irish companies that bring something new and effective, writes Sorcha Corcoran

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‘Benelux is also a good test market owing to the many diverse tastes and regional differences in a relatively small geographical area’


n the Benelux countries of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg there is a willingness to try new things and if an Irish company has something genuinely innovative to offer that makes a business process more efficient, for example, its case will be heard. Such is the view of Paul Browne, manager Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Enterprise Ireland (EI), who notes that Benelux is the third largest market for the agency’s clients, accounting for direct sales of €1.06bn in goods and services in 2014 (this doesn’t include goods that pass through these countries). “In some other cultures there is an edge of patriotism in terms of buying decisions - in other words an Irish offering would need to be 10-20pc better than a domestically made product or

service to overcome that bias,” he says. “The Benelux countries are very open-minded. It is a good trial market for Irish companies to prove their solutions are genuinely new and effective and when they go on to other bigger, more conservative markets this carries a lot of weight. There is a sense that solutions tried out here will be used elsewhere in the EU.” Benelux is also a good test market owing to the many diverse tastes and regional differences in a relatively small geographical area, as EI’s ‘Access Benelux’ guide published in 2014 points out. Browne adds that compared to other European markets, there is more of a willingness among consumers to go for value – defined as the trade-off between price and quality. He cites the example of the Bakfiet, a popular bicyclewheelbarrow hybrid used to transport children in the

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Netherlands, which costs around €2,200 to buy new. “The Dutch attitude is that they will sell the Bakfiet on in four or five years and get a good enough price. They will pay up front for quality and durability.”

Successful sectors In this context, there are a few sectors that continue to hold potential for Irish companies in the Benelux region. The first of these is construction and engineering. “Those Irish high-end construction and engineering firms that built the pharmaceutical plants in Ireland went to Belgium and did exactly the same thing there. A large chunk of pharmaceutical exports from Ireland now go into Belgium and increasingly the Netherlands,” says Browne. “Belgium has a strong biotech sector and as a location it is one of Ireland’s few competitors from a US foreign direct investment point of view. However, it has become a virtuous circle as Irish construction and engineering companies have taken advantage of that situation. “Having really got going in 2008/9, the process has since extended into the building of data centres and food processing facilities in the Benelux countries and there a quite a few projects in the pipeline.” Irish construction and engineering firms that have secured a foothold in Benelux include PM Group, Mercury Engineering and Dornan Engineering. The broad software and services area is also proving worthwhile for Irish companies and digital marketing is showing particular promise, according to Browne. He cites Dublin-based marketing agency CKSK, for example, which is “the voice of Heineken on Twitter” and has won similar accounts with beer brands in the Heineken group, which has its headquarters in Amsterdam. “Ireland has a strong digital marketing cluster. CKSK won local business in Ireland first and it is a mark of its strength that it won international business based on that.”

Numerous positives There is a high concentration of decision-making centres in the Benelux region and it houses headquarters for many European, US and Asian companies. Browne notes that this means there is a demand to buy in services ranging from financial, legal and human resources, all of

Surface Power Hone and Belgian partner win €10m contract Irish company Surface Power Hone and Belgian partner Mopac Systems International won a contract in April to build low cost ‘daylight’ fuelled zero energy homes in the €10m first phase of a major German government social housing project. Surface Power Hone said the two companies have developed the capacity to mass produce homes that are highly energy efficient, cost-effective to build and can be constructed in an average of one day. The partnership will be responsible for the new construction project in Aachen, which, according to Surface Power Hone, should see tenants paying average monthly rents of €620, including utility bills. Surface Power Hone’s expertise is based on a daylightfuelled heating nanotechnology that removes the need for a boiler. Its collaboration with Mopac Systems International leverages the latter’s ability to mass produce low-cost zero energy homes. The two companies now plan to add new manufacturing plants in Europe to meet the growing demand for their technology in the short-term. Surface Power Hone said significant global players such as BASF, Krauss Maffei and Randek AB are also partners in the breakthrough technology, which is the result of a combined 20 years of advanced collaborative research by all the companies involved. “Our daylight-fuelled heating and cooling systems are the perfect complement to Mopac’s highly insulated building components,” said John Quinn, CEO of Surface Power Hone. “According to a recent report by leading research firm Pike, the zero energy building market is to grow to US$690bn a year by 2020 and will nearly double by 2035 to US$1.3trn a year, with much of the growth occurring in the EU.”

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IASC a winner in Brussels

Pictured: Tara McCarthy of Bord Bia, Colin Ross and James Grimes of IASC, and Eamonn MacAodha, the Irish ambassador to Belgium

A line of shellfish butter products created by the Irish Atlantic Seafood Company (IASC) won the Prix d’Elite award at the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels in May – a first for an Irish company. Seafood Expo Global is the world’s largest seafood trade event, visited by more than 25,000 buyers, suppliers, media and other seafood

professionals from 150 countries. Designed to enhance the flavour of fish dishes, the awardwinning product branded as ‘Something Fishy’ combines

which are doing well from an Irish perspective there. Generally speaking, economic stability and openness to foreign trade are two of the factors that make the Benelux market particularly attractive to Irish companies. “The Benelux countries are in quite a positive position in terms of the more mature economies in the world with the Netherlands’ GDP expected to grow by 1.6pc and Belgium’s GDP by 1.5pc this year. Good exposure to the US, UK and Germany, which are all dong well, is driving their economies.” On top of the economic aspects, the markets don’t present the same linguistic barriers that exist in other European countries as English is widely spoken in business circles and the region is geographically close to Ireland.

shellfish protein with Irish butter, seaweed and seasoning to produce an ‘umami’ or ‘savoury delicious taste’. IASC has applied for a patent on the process of producing the butter and is the only company to produce the product globally. The product was also recognised at the World Food Innovation Awards held in London in March, when the shellfish butter won the award for best new condiment. Having started trading in 2013, Love Irish Food member IASC currently employs six people at its facility in Grange Industrial Estate, Ballycurreen in Co Cork. The company is planning to expand its current distribution from Ireland and the UK this year, into the US, Europe and Asia, and is in the process of filling its first order for Malaysia currently. It expects to launch a further 20 products over the next three to five years, in retail, food service and B2B channels.

Benelux – facts and figures GDP: The Netherlands €585.6bn, Belgium €371.2bn, Luxembourg €44.2bn (2013) Population: 28 million Total area: 74,640 sq km Capitals: The Hague, Brussels, Luxembourg Hub for headquarters: 820 company headquarters within a 5km catchment area around Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam; more than 300 multinational HQs between Brussels and Antwerp Languages: EU figures show that 86pc of the Dutch population can speak English, even though it is not listed as an official language. Belgium has three official languages: Dutch (spoken in Flanders), French (spoken in Wallonia) and German (spoken mostly in the East). Luxembourg also has three official languages: French, German and Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch) International dialling codes: The Netherlands +31, Belgium +32, Luxembourg +352 Accessibility: Belgium and the Netherlands are both extremely accessible from Ireland, with multiple flights most days from Dublin, of usually around an hour and a half’s duration. Since 2014, there are four flights a week between Dublin and Luxembourg with Luxair. From Dublin, Aer Lingus serves Brussels and Amsterdam. Ryanair flies from Dublin to Eindhoven and Maastricht in the Netherlands and Charleroi in Belgium. Some flights are also available from Cork Source: Enterprise Ireland ‘Access Benelux’ guide

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Following the recent commencement of the Companies Act 2014, Peter Osborne considers what are likely to be some of the principal practical concerns for members and directors of existing private companies


s expected, a ‘Big Bang’ approach has been taken to commencement of the Companies Act 2014 and most of its provisions came into force on 1 June 2015. Some provisions of the Act commenced on 1 June 2015 but do not apply to a company until its first financial year beginning on or after 1 June 2015.

electing to convert to the preferred type of company and adjusting their memorandum and articles (now the company’s ‘constitution’) accordingly. On 1 June 2015, every other type of then-existing company (eg guarantee companies, public limited companies, etc) automatically became the closest equivalent type of company under the Act.

They include: • The obligation on every ‘large company’ (balance sheet greater than €25m, turnover greater than €50m) to establish an audit committee; • The obligation on the directors of certain companies (balance sheet greater than €12.5m, turnover greater than €25m) to prepare a directors’ compliance statement; and • The requirement on every director of a company, the financial statements of which are being audited, to confirm that all relevant audit information has been provided to the auditors.


The Act also re-states and amends certain existing disclosure obligations on directors, which include the requirement in the Act for directors to disclose in the notes to the company’s financial statements details of gains made by directors and by connected persons on the exercise of share options. Again, these provisions in the Act will only be relevant for financial years beginning on or after 1 June 2015 although similar existing provisions in the Companies Acts 1963 to 2013 will apply until then.

Transition period Within a transition period of 18 months until 31 December 2016, an existing private company (EPC) may: •

opt (through its member(s) or its directors filing a Companies Registration Office (CRO) form N1) to become a private company limited by shares (an LTD); or opt to become any type of company recognised under the Act (other than an LTD), such as a designated activity company (a DAC); or do nothing (in which case the EPC will default to an LTD at the end of the transition period).

Most EPCs will choose to become either an LTD or a DAC. Comparison of key features New LTD company model

Designated activity company

It may have a single director (but if so, it must have a separate secretary)

It must have a least two directors

It may have from one to 149 members


It need not hold an AGM

It must hold an AGM unless it has only a single member

It must not have an objects clause so that it has full unlimited legal capacity to carry on any lawful business, subject to any restrictions in other legislation

The company’s constitution must include an objects clause, restricting its legal capacity (although third parties are protected when dealing with such a company)

It has a one-document constitution which replaces the need for a memorandum and articles of association

It has a ‘constitution’ which includes a memorandum and articles of association

It is eligible for the audit exemption (and the dormant company audit exemption) if financial criteria are met


It has limited liability and has a share capital

It has either (a) limited liability and a share capital or (b) is a private company limited by guarantee with a share capital

Well-managed companies will manage the transition process by

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‘Directors of an EPC should engage in dialogue with relevant stakeholders to decide which of the company types permitted by the Act is most appropriate to the then-existing company’s circumstances’

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‘Well-managed companies will manage the transition process by electing to convert to the preferred type of company and adjusting their memorandum and articles (now the company’s ‘constitution’) accordingly’ New LTD company model

Designated activity company

It may pass majority written resolutions (both special and ordinary)

It can pass majority written resolutions unless the company’s constitution states otherwise

The company’s name must end in ‘Limited’ or ‘Teoranta’ (an abbreviation may be used after registration)

The company’s name must end in ‘Designated Activity Company’ or ‘Cuideachta Ghníomhaíochta Ainmnithe’ (an abbreviation may be used after registration), unless qualified for an exemption.

Confusingly, under the Act, the DAC (the name of which must end in ‘DAC’ etc) is the closest company type to the EPC. Therefore the use of ‘Ltd’ in a company’s name before the Act and the use of ‘Ltd’ in a company name after the transition period ends in fact describes different types of company. Some companies (such as banks, insurers, semi-state entities and companies with debentures listed on an exchange) must not become an LTD and therefore need to convert to a DAC or another company type. In other cases a decision is required as to whether the features of an LTD are attractive to a company and its members or whether another company type under the Act ought to be adopted. Dialogue is necessary between directors, members and other stakeholders (including lenders) as to the structure to be adopted and the timing of the conversion/re-registration.

Constitution of an LTD The Act requires the constitution of an LTD to state: • the company’s name; • that it is a private company limited by shares and registered under Part 2 of the Act; • that the liability of members is limited; • particulars relating to its share capital; • the number of shares (at least one) taken by its original subscribers; and • any supplemental regulations which it is adopting. While most of what was previously contained in the company’s articles of association now applies by statute unless the constitution otherwise provides, companies need to review their articles of association and ensure that tailored provisions (such as those dealing with pre-emption on transfer) are included in the new constitution or that some provisions in the Act that only apply if included in the constitution are adopted (such as an indemnity for

directors). Previously, many EPCs relied on the regulations of Table A of the previous Companies Acts. Despite being repealed by the Act, the provisions of Table A can continue in force for a company (and do so if the company converts to an LTD by default or by retaining its existing memorandum and articles of association), provided they are not inconsistent with any mandatory provision of the Act. Where Table A refers to any provision of the previous Companies Acts, that reference is to be read as being to the corresponding provision of the Act. The provisions of Table A may be altered or added to by means of a special resolution.

Converting to a DAC An EPC may opt out of the new regime if its members pass a special resolution to convert to any other type of company, provided the requirements applicable to such a company as set out in the reregistration requirements of the Act have been satisfied. Up to three months prior to the expiry of the transition period (on 31 December 2016), an EPC has two re-registration options. An EPC: • may re-register as a DAC by passing an ordinary resolution (the consent of the relevant minister is required for a semistate company to do so); and • must re-register as a DAC if a member or members holding more than 25pc of the voting rights serve a notice in writing on the company requiring it to re-register as a DAC. Where an EPC does not re-register as a DAC before the end of the transition period (whether it is obliged to do so or not), any one or more of its members holding not less than 15pc of its issued share capital, or any one or more creditors holding not less than 15pc of its debentures, entitling them to object to alterations in its objects clause, may apply to court for an order directing the company to re-register as a DAC. Where the members pass an ordinary resolution to re-register as a DAC or where the directors resolve to re-register an EPC as a DAC (for example because a notice is served by qualifying members or it is ordered by the court or otherwise required), the effect is to alter the company’s memorandum of association so that it states that the company is to be a DAC. The company must file the resolution, the new memorandum and articles of association and a Form N2 with the CRO. The name of the company must include ‘Designated Activity Company’ (or the Irish language equivalent) unless the company is exempt from the obligation to do so. As with an LTD, the constitution of a DAC can adopt in whole or part the statutory rules in the Act or continue to use its existing articles (including Table A of the previous Companies Acts) provided

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they do not conflict with any mandatory provision in the Act.

Protecting members and creditors If any member considers that his or her rights or obligations have been prejudiced by the exercise or non-exercise of any power under the parts of the Act dealing with conversion, or of its exercise in a particular manner by the company or its directors, the member may apply to court for an order under the minority shareholder oppression provisions of the Act. Creditors holding not less than 15pc of the debentures of a company, entitling them to object to alterations in its objects clause, may also apply to court for relief.

Other matters The Act is huge both in scale and detail. While this article addresses what are likely to be some of the principal practical concerns of members and directors of EPCs, many more considerations also are relevant but are beyond the scope of this piece: as but two examples, every director is subject to new audit-related obligations and new evidential rules concerning loans between a company and any of its directors provide a strong incentive to document such transactions clearly and fully. Further information on all aspects of the Act is available from the Institute of Directors and at


Action required Directors of an EPC should engage in dialogue with relevant stakeholders to decide which of the company types permitted by the Act (perhaps a company type other than a DAC) is most appropriate to the then-existing company’s circumstances. Those directors and stakeholders should consider whether the constitution of the company should adopt the statutory rules or retain, as fully as possible, existing articles of association; however, in the latter event it should be recalled that the company’s constitution now is deemed to include the many mandatory provisions of the Act, irrespective of what the terms of the memorandum and articles of association the company’s constitution actually states. Although – having regard to the 18-month transition period following the commencement of the Act (likely to be to 31 December 2016) – there is no immediate urgency in this exercise, the benefits of adopting the form of a LTD can only be availed of upon conversion of an EPC to an LTD, by express process or by the deeming provisions when the transition period ends. Peter Osborne is consultant at McCann FitzGerald. Various briefings on the Act are available on

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Spirit of

ADVENTURE In Dublin as part of Hennessy’s 250th anniversary celebrations, president and CEO Bernard Peillon outlined the brand’s values and the importance of its Irish roots to Grainne Rothery


s it marks its 250th anniversary this year, a central part of Hennessy’s celebrations is a six-month travelling exhibition of artwork and performance by contemporary artists taking in five cities deemed by the brand to be “creative hotspots, steeped in history or shining in modernity” and chosen for their “significant historical and cultural affinities with the Maison Hennessy”. The tour has already visited Guangzhou and Moscow and will travel on to New York in July, Johannesburg in August and Paris in September. In a nod to the brand’s roots, meanwhile, the anniversary tour made a special stopover in Ireland in April for a dinner with 100 invited guests hosted by Hennessy president and CEO, Bernard Peillon, and the CEO of Edward Dillon, Andy O’Hara in Dublin City Hall. Representatives from the cognac brand included Maurice Hennessy, eighth-generation descendant of the company’s Corkborn founder Richard Hennessy, one of the ‘Wild Geese’, and seventh generation master blender, Yann Fillioux. Hennessy merged with Moët et Chandon in 1971 to create the Moët Hennessy Group, which joined forces with Louis Vuitton in 1987 to create LVMH. It is the world’s best-selling cognac, with around 40pc of the global market and sales of around 50 million bottles a year in 120 countries. It is also the second most valuable business brand within the LVMH group, after Louis Vuitton. “We are, overwhelmingly, the leading player in the region with a true international presence,” says Peillon. “We are over 99pc international and that makes us probably the most international French exporting company.” The company’s overseas strategy began in 1794 with its first shipment to New York. It was in the Caribbean by the end of the

18th century and the first shipment to Russia followed in 1818 and to India a year later. Between 1855 and 1878, the company added more than 15 new markets, including Australia, China, Chile, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and South Africa. The widespread geographical presence is an important factor in the company’s success, says Peillon. “It ensures that we can react to changing situations. The world keeps on changing and it’s how you adapt. It’s easier to adapt if you don’t rely just on one handful of markets but if you have a true international footprint.” As well as being the biggest selling cognac, Hennessy is currently the world’s third most valuable premium wine and spirits brand, Peillon says, adding that the goal is to get to number one. “We are not just obsessed with our role in Cognac. As a brand, my playing field is the world of premium wine and spirits. So my competitors would be the leading brands across the globe. That opens a much bigger opportunity for me.”

Brand values Hennessy’s growth and ability to stay relevant has much do with understanding its brand values and remaining true to them, Peillon says. “Defining brand values is basically a way for me and my team and the people who work on the brand on a worldwide basis to always have a point of reference, to know what our DNA is. How do I keep brand integrity as we develop across the globe? That’s one of the key challenges posed to any international brand company. “We believe it is important to do this introspective work of going back to our roots and extracting from our history – like we would a human being – the core values that identify Hennessy as different from another brand.

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‘We are a chameleon. Our skin can change and adapt to the environment, but we remain the same animal within’

Bernard Peillon

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‘We are not just obsessed with our role in Cognac. As a brand, my playing field is the world of premium wine and spirits’

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“I use this on a constant basis. When I’m approached with ideas or initiatives or whatever, the question in my mind is, ‘What is the right idea for Hennessy?’” Among the brand values is ‘the spirit of conquest’. “That’s literally what we are – the brand is 99pc international. It’s how the Hennessy family has looked at the world. We are next to the sea and their eyes have been wide open to the world. And that has been so from day one, since that first shipment to the US in 1794, to Russia in 1818 and to China in 1859. What is extraordinarily important is this vision of having a global approach.” Another is ‘the art of blending’. “That not only relates to the way we create and craft our cognacs; it’s actually the way Hennessy has approached the market. We’ve spent time understanding the market. And we’ve taken the time to learn and to respect that local culture.” The objective, he says, is to develop a relevant way of speaking to and resonating with these markets while retaining the brand integrity. “It’s not just a technical cold approach. It is looking at how we connect our customers emotionally to Hennessy. There is a deep respect of the culture while we remain true to what we are. We are a chameleon. Our skin can change and adapt to the environment, but we remain the same animal within.” Connecting and developing the emotional language to make the brand desirable to different demographics is the biggest challenge, he says. “But it is the incredible adrenalin of intellectual challenge that I and my team have.” The tone of voice around the brand is vital, he adds. “Hennessy – at least that is the absolute intent – not only speaks to the heart, but also speaks to the mind. It speaks to your intelligence. It respects your intelligence. And that’s why we need to understand the local culture. “When you are having a glass of Hennessy, you are associated with a brand that honours your intelligence. I never do anything that is second division with my team. We have this idea of excellence, not only in the product, but in the way we express the brand.” Another challenge is to remain relevant and to constantly recruit new consumers. “My job is to ensure that Hennessy will be alive for the next 250 years. And obviously as we are moving we need to ensure that we have new customers embracing the brand.” One way of doing this has been to emphasise Hennessy’s versatility. Peillon says he doesn’t want the brand to be “a frozen icon” that people only drink on special occasions. “Actually, outside of western Europe, the success of Hennessy today is its incredible flexibility. People are very relaxed and they enjoy Hennessy before their dinner, throughout the night when they go to trendy bars and nightclubs, and they can sip it if they want if they want to reflect on their day.” As regards the brand’s performance in individual markets, Peillon says European sales reflect the current economy and are quite flat at the moment. “We’ll see where this year will take us. Maybe we’ll start to see some vibrancy in economies like here in Ireland.” In Africa and Asia Pacific, outside China, sales are “booming”, while the US market is “just incredible”. “We really decided four or five years ago – although it was not the right cycle – that it was fundamental for Hennessy to be successful in the US. And today, we


are ahead of the wave. We had an incredible 2014. You do something and you expect to be up 10pc, but suddenly you’re up 20pc. It is massive. “Hennessy worldwide demonstrates its ability to move with agility, pragmatism, vision at preparing new markets, new cycles and so on. As a consequence, Hennessy keeps on being in that top three. And the idea is for it to become the number one premium brand in value in the world. There is no other position! I’m working on it.” The five-city world tour to celebrate the 250th anniversary is intended to acknowledge that Hennessy’s success has been built by numerous markets around the globe, Peillon says. The Irish visit, meanwhile, was a conscious move to send the message that Hennessy’s roots are in Ireland. While the company is French, Peillon says it embodies certain Irish traits. The first of those, he says, is character. “I think we have the Irish strength of character in terms of spirit of conquest and the way you develop a vision and go through hard times and always get back up again. We also have the Irish attitude of ‘the world is our oyster’. Ireland is not that big. I’ve travelled the world and I see Irish everywhere on the planet. I think we have that ingrained.” The other, he says, is the art of blending. “We know everywhere on the planet, the Irish retained their identity but at the same time they adapted as successful businesspeople and citizens of whatever country they were in. This is the essence of Hennessy.” Plans for the future include the brand remaining true to itself and continuing to expand, he says. “I want to be 15 minutes ahead of everybody else. I want to define the future. The celebrations are not only the celebration of our past. It’s a celebration of how we are entering into the next 250 years.”

Hennessy brand ambassador Maurice Hennessy; director and member of Hennessy’s tasting committee Alain Deret; Hennessy chairman and CEO Bernard Peillon; and Yann Fillioux, Hennessy master blender and taster

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IoD member profile



Denis Creighton is CEO of Fexco’s managed business solutions and outsourcing division. He has been a member of the IoD since May 2007 What is your current role and what does it involve? I am the CEO of Fexco’s managed business solutions and outsourcing division and responsible for the group IT division also. My role is to develop the strategy, review and adjust as necessary and execute the business plan. We work in a number of verticals and keeping up to speed with industry developments is a key part of what is required in the management of the business unit.

a positive outlook to all that I do and I enjoy creating opportunities for people to develop. I make myself as accessible as possible to offer support and guidance but I like deadlines and delivering on time.

Do you have any non-executive roles? Yes, as part of some personal investments I have a couple of roles. These tend to be in the software and product areas as I enjoy entrepreneurship and assisting in fast mobilisation. It’s also an opportunity to contribute from previous experiences and mentor teams towards success.

What has been your biggest lesson in business? Success in business depends on having the right people and you need the resources and skill sets in place to grow any business. The ability to understand business requirements, convert to action plans and execute with a clear focus is critical to achieving successful results. Investing your time in your people and rewarding the correct behaviours will inevitably lead to success in most cases. It is really important to create the right environment for people to flourish.

Tell us about your career background and some of the milestones along the way Initially, I had planned to be an accountant but switched to IT in the late 1980s, which turned out to be a great stepping stone for me. I held a number of management roles in Eircom in the IT space before moving to Eircell just as the mobile industry exploded. This was a key moment for me as the pace and dynamism was incredible and I made some great friends there also. Launching 11811 for Eircom was another key milestone and I learned quite a lot about the value of marketing and consumer behaviour. My move to Conduit and the experiences I gained there from growth, refinancing and acquisition provided me with some great insights into business and diversity. I was fortunate to work in a number of countries and that certainly exposed me to many different challenges and opportunities. What are the main skills or attributes that have helped you to get to your current position? I enjoy working with and developing people and that has certainly helped me succeed in my career. I am known for a ‘let’s just do it’ approach once a decision has been made. I take a ‘disruptor’ approach and challenge the norms regularly. Delivering on time is something that I constantly drive to achieve and I’ve always adopted the 80:20 rule. I am a strong believer in business process improvement (BPI) as part of standard management behaviour. I believe that physical fitness is critical to mental fitness and the ability to deal with stress and I attribute my high energy levels to this. Can you define your leadership style? I adopt a very open management style which is very inclusive of all contributors. I believe in clear communication with a structured approach that enables people to perform to their best abilities. I have

What is your philosophy in business? For me, I like to work with facts and relevant details and if it doesn’t look and feel right, it probably isn’t.

What have been your biggest successes and/or failures in business? I have been involved in the successful launch of a number of businesses in different countries – Ireland, the UK, Switzerland, Austria and Spain. The exposure to different cultures, regulatory challenges and language challenges has been a great learning experience. On the failure side, my biggest failure was around underestimating a competitor and the depth of their pockets! Who or what are your main influences? I have been really lucky to work with a great business coach in the late 1990s and also with a strong mentor. This has proven invaluable to me and I strongly believe that most successful business leaders have had exposure to great advice and guidance along their way. My parents’ work ethic and values have always stayed with me and continue to influence my decisions. How important is ongoing education? It depends on what your definition of education is but I believe that continuous learning is critical. Attending networking events and business seminars is all part of ongoing education and contributes to more informed decision making. Life is about learning and should never stop… Do you have plans for the future - inside or outside Fexco - that you’d like to share? I plan to continue at the same pace and with the same energy levels for a few more years yet! I will continue mentoring as I enjoy helping people develop their careers and increase their contribution to business. And of course I have my bucket list!

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IoD member profile


‘I strongly believe that most successful business leaders have had exposure to great advice and guidance along their way’ Summer Autumn 2014 2015 Irish Director

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Asia strategy



Datalex opened an office in Beijing in June 2014 and recently secured its second airline customer in the People’s Republic of China, writes Sorcha Corcoran


ublin-based e-commerce solutions provider to the travel industry Datalex secured its second airline customer in the People’s Republic of China in March, West Air, further to opening its new office in Beijing in June 2014. West Air is a low cost carrier that operates from Chongqing. Its parent company Hainan Airlines Company Limited is the largest privately owned air transport company and the fourth largest airline in terms of fleet size in the country. The Datalex commerce platform now serves the digital shopping needs of West Air’s scheduled passenger network across 18 domestic destinations. Founded in 1985, Datalex is headquartered in Dublin and employs 300 people across seven offices there and in Manchester in the UK, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Atlanta in the US, Manila in The Philippines and Minsk in Belarus – in addition to its office in Beijing. Datalex software and services enable a digital marketplace of over one billion shoppers covering every corner of the globe, driven by some of the world’s most innovative airline retail brands. An Enterprise Ireland client, its customers include JetBlue, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, WestJet, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, HP Enterprise Services and Aer Lingus. The game changing aspect of what Datalex does is that its commerce platform has become the core system of differentiation and innovation for these customers, according to CEO Aidan Brogan. “Many of our airlines transact 50-90pc of their products and services via our platform. We give the travel retailer the ability to control the offer and complete the transaction across all touch points, devices and channels.”

Growth potential China is important in Datalex’s strategy as Brogan says it will overtake the US as the world’s largest passenger market by 2030. “It continues to see double digit growth rates (20pc) in online digital travel sales and is set to become the world’s largest e-commerce market by the end of 2015. So, the market opportunity is significant for Datalex and we are committed to our investment in China to help drive the growth of the company.” Air China was Datalex’s first airline customer to be signed up in China, in 2011. Brogan says two key factors influenced its success in winning the contract – its global reputation and proven success as well as the Irish company’s preparedness to engage locally and align to the priorities of the Air China business. “At Air China, our commerce platform enables channels such as WeChat [Chinese equivalent to WhatsApp]; Qunar and Ctrip [the two

biggest online travel agencies in China] and TMall marketplace [Chinese Amazon] to access tailored offers from Air China,” Brogan explains. “Our dynamic pricing and promotions capability enables Air China to drive sales across multiple channels, which in recent times has

Double-digit growth in revenue expected for 2015 Dublin-headquartered Datalex reported a 69pc increase in profit after tax to US$2.7m in the year ended 31 December 2014 in March of this year. The company, which provides e-commerce solutions to the travel industry, delivered a 9pc increase in revenue to US$41.4m and a 12pc increase in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) to US$8.5m. Platform revenue was up by 11pc in 2014, driven by the full year impact of 2013 go lives at WestJet and Virgin Australia, together with the start of revenue generation at customers that went live in 2014, including Brussels Airlines, Air Transat, Virgin Atlantic and West Air. Datalex said these new carriers, together with the customers projected to go live in 2015 such as JetBlue and Swiss International Air Lines, will drive double digit growth in its platform revenue in 2015. “2014 was a year of continued performance and growth for Datalex,” said CEO Aidan Brogan. “We have not only delivered double digit growth in adjusted EBITDA, but also secured significant new business wins. These new wins will drive our growth in the years ahead and further expand our market presence.” According to the company, the continued momentum in platform revenue will help drive an expected 20pc to 25pc growth in adjusted EBITDA in 2015. The board is proposing a final dividend of three US cents per share, up 50pc on last year.

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Asia strategy

seen a tripling of daily sales figures.” The decision was made to establish a local presence in Beijing last year to support Datalex’s customers and develop new business. Currently employing six Chinese senior managers, the office will double its workforce by the end of this year. “To extend our market and product reach in China, we have also established a local partner programme, which allows us to certify value-add technology providers to work with our digital commerce platform. We have already signed a local technology partner under this programme which is working very well,” says Brogan. Aside from China, Datalex has a significant footprint across Asian markets, with its commerce platform enabling major airline retailers such as Philippine Airlines and Malaysian Airlines.


It also has a technology partnership with Abacus Travel Systems of Singapore, a provider of IT products and services to over 44,000 travel agency locations across Asia-Pacific. “We continue to actively develop new business and expect China and Asia to be core markets for the future growth of the company,” says Brogan.

This article first appeared in Ireland Asia Business Yearbook 2015, published by Asia Matters in association with Business & Leadership. Asia Matters is running Ireland Asia Business Week in July. More information can be found at

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CSR campaign

Environmental Impact As our CSR campaign turns to environment we look at the key role business has to play in safeguarding the environment for future generations. When there are win-wins for business and the environment real progress is being made. In this issue we talk to MSD on its role as a global citizen, An Post on its re-certification of ISO 50001 and Friends First on being a ‘Friend of the environment’. With the launch of the SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards 2015 we also talk to some of the 2014 winners who share their journey. Ireland has some way to go to meet the 2020 greenhouse gas reduction targets and the appointment of a climate change advisory group has just been announced to advise Government on the actions required to significantly reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions by 2050. Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White refers to the transition to a low carbon economy over the next 35 years as “one of the greatest projects of our age”. It’s is a project we have to deliver and deliver well. Many thanks to our campaign partners for sharing their inspiring environmental stories. As always more content is available online at We would love to share your CSR stories – please email us (details below) and we will get in touch.

Sam Hobbs Managing Director Whitespace Publishing Group Ltd Ph: +353 1 625 1425 Email: Irish Director is and Business & Leadership are published by The Whitespace Publishing Group Ltd Address: Office 4, 6 Main St, Dundrum, Dublin 14

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Ireland has some way to go to meet its 2020 renewables targets Ireland’s energy white paper is to be published in the autumn

Top companies pledging to switch to 100pc renewable power Trends, technology and campaigns

SEAI is seeking innovative solutions with strong replication An Post’s journey to ISO 50001 certification MSD’s focus on energy efficiency

The environmental aspect of Friends First’s CSR strategy Irish Director Special Report: CSR environment

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Target 2020


Ireland faces a considerable challenge in reaching its 16pc renewable energy target by 2020


ith 7.8pc of its final energy demand met by renewables in 2013, Ireland was nearly halfway to reaching its legally binding EU target of obtaining 16pc of its power from renewable sources by 2020. While considerable progress has been made in recent years – Ireland’s renewable energy usage has increased five-fold since 1990 and is up from 3.1pc in 2005 when the EU 2020 targets were set – getting to 16pc poses an immense challenge over the next few years. As well as an overall 16pc target, there are individual targets for electricity (40pc), transport (10pc) and heat (12pc). In 2013, 21pc of electricity, 4.9pc of energy used in transport and 5.7pc of that used in heat came from renewable sources. In 2013, Ireland was named by the European Commission as one of eight member states that are furthest from meeting their renewables targets, the others being Luxembourg, Malta, Lithuania, Belgium, Greece, Spain and Austria. And, in the Commission’s Country Report 2015 for Ireland, it said that while the proportion of renewable energy in 2012 was in line with the linear trajectory up to 2020, the existing policy, market and budget framework appears to be insufficient to enable Ireland to gradually achieve the 2020 objective. Ireland also has a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the non-emissions trading system (non-ETS) sector by 20pc between 2005 and 2020. According to the EC’s country report, this target is unlikely to be achieved. The report states that national

projections submitted to the Commission taking existing measures into account indicate that the target is likely to be missed by a wide margin, with 2020 emissions expected to be just 2pc lower than those of 2005. While emissions in non-ETS fell by 12pc to 2013, the report notes that agricultural emissions to 2020 are expected to remain stable while those in transport will increase significantly during the period. “This is mainly due to the lack of public transport, including the underdevelopment of rail and the lack of infrastructure to make it possible to reach national targets on electric mobile. Although Ireland has a carbon tax in place, it is not linked to the evolution of energy prices and it is not consistent across different energy carriers and climate pollutants.” The report also claims that policies to address climate-related commitments are insufficient. It noted that the Government had prepared the main parts of a Bill on climate action and low carbon development, adopted a renewable energy strategy, a second energy efficiency national action plan, an agricultural, food sector-specific economic development strategy, and taken measures to improve the household segregation of food waste. “However, no progress was made in identifying how Ireland commits itself to meeting its existing, binding climate and energy targets for the period up to 2020 in an integrated way and how best to use the earmarked, available EU support for the structural development needed in the different areas.”

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Ireland’s forthcoming energy white paper will set out the path to achieving the 2020 renewables targets and the transition to a low-carbon society, says Minister for Energy, Alex White


reland’s transition to a low-carbon society over the next 35 years is set to be “one of the greatest projects of our age”, Minister for Energy Alex White told an audience of nearly 300 ‘energy stakeholders’ at the final public consultation session before the publication of his Department’s energy white paper this autumn. Safeguarding the environment for future generations requires expediting the transition to a low-carbon future, the Minister told the group, which included citizens’ groups, academics, elected representatives, regulators and energy companies. “This vision comes with a pledge to all our citizens, our communities, industry, and those who work to provide energy to our homes and workplaces, that policy will ensure certainty, stability and affordability as we make the transition to a low carbon future.” He added, however, that achieving this vision will be constrained by the availability of capital and other resources. “Some of our decisions will involve costs as well as benefits. We will be presented with many difficult choices as we juggle the sometimes conflicting priorities of affordability, sustainability and energy security.” Community concerns about developing new energy infrastructure will be dealt with more sensitively in future, he said. “I think we have learned from the often insensitive approach to community concerns that has been seen in the past. The white paper will declare that the day of unilateral, top down energy policy is over. “The onus will be on the State and industry to demonstrate the need for new projects and to clearly explain complex technical issues.” He also said communities that host energy infrastructure should receive “commensurate benefits”. Eliminating waste and the aggressive targeting of improved energy efficiency will be central to the transition to a sustainable energy future, he said. “This is one of the few elements of energy policy that is completely in our national control. Indeed, technological developments like smart meters and mobile phone-controlled heating systems will increasingly allow citizens themselves to boost energy efficiency and save money through better control of their energy consumption.” As regards the renewables sector, the Minister noted that onshore wind has been at the centre of Ireland’s renewable energy generation so far. “It has served us well, and it will continue to do so. But the next period of energy transition will also see the development of new commercial and late-stage solutions, which

are likely to change the mix of renewables as technologies like solar PV, off-shore wind, and carbon capture and storage mature, and become more costeffective.” The forthcoming white paper will outline a number of initiatives that will contribute to achieving Ireland’s renewable electricity targets he said. “We are making good progress. Currently, around 8pc of our energy comes from renewables, so we are half way there. However, the second half of the journey will be very challenging and we will need to redouble our efforts as we continue along this path. The white paper will outline in detail how the transition is intended to be made, he said. “It will build on all the work undertaken since the publication of the 2007 white paper; work which includes a range of policies and initiatives including the establishment of the single electricity market, the development of renewable electricity and its integration into our grid, and the roll-out of a range of energy efficiency programmes.” He also stressed the importance of improved inter-connectivity during the transition process, including through projects like the North-South transmission line project. “This geographically peripheral nation will continue to rely on imported fossil fuels during the energy transition, although that dependence will diminish over time. This means that improved interconnectivity with other member states – an integral element of the recentlyinitiated European Energy Union – must be a high priority. So we will continue to work to unlock EU funding for interconnectivity projects like the recently-approved project to twin a 50km section of the gas transmission pipe between Ireland and Scotland.”

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Top companies joining the race to

100PC RENEWABLE POWER Twenty of the world’s largest and most influential companies have so far signed up to RE100, a campaign that aims to have 100 organisations by 2020 publicly committed to switching to 100pc renewable power within a specified timeline.

ed by The Climate Group and in partnership with CDP, the campaign was officially launched at Climate Week NYC 2014 last September. The companies that joined up right at the start – Ikea, Swiss Re, BT, Formula E, H&M, Mars, Nestlé, Philips, Reed Elsevier, J Safra Sarasin and Yoox – have since been joined by Commerzbank, Elion Resources, Infosys, KPN, Marks & Spencer, SAP, SGS, Unilever and Autodesk. Raising the awareness of the business benefits of going 100pc renewable is a key focus of the campaign. From the outset, the organisers said the project will celebrate companies’ successes in their journeys to being 100pc renewable and will work with others to help them find the best strategies for achieving this goal. “Tackling climate change is critical for our business, and for all businesses,” said Mike Barry, director of sustainable business Plan A at Marks and Spencer, when the retailer joined the campaign in May. “We developed Plan A with this in mind – which includes a commitment to sourcing 100pc of our directly procured UK and ROI electricity from renewable sources. Joining RE100 gives us an opportunity to share what we have learned and encourage other businesses to switch to renewable energy.” Unilever also joined the group in May and has set itself an initial target of reaching 40pc renewable energy by 2020 and said it will work towards 100pc in the future. When it signed up, the company had just reached the 1 million tonnes of CO2 savings since 2008 in its manufacturing network. Across the business, energy usage in that time has been reduced by 20pc, creating cost savings of €244m.


“Across our supply chain we are increasingly turning to energy provided by wind, solar and biomass, converting heat from our manufacturing processes into power for our factories,” said the company’s chief supply chain officer, Pier Luigi Sigismondi. “We are continuing to show that sustainability is a driver for growth, and the only long-term option for business in a volatile world.” The Climate Group’s RE100 campaign director Emily Farnworth is expecting more multinationals to join up over the coming months.”Science tells us that bold business action is needed to address climate change, and working towards a goal to be 100pc powered by renewable energy is one way that companies can make a real difference. With the cost of renewables falling around the world, 100pc clean power is increasingly within reach, and businesses are meeting this target more quickly.” On 10 June, Autodesk became the 20th company to sign up for RE100 and only the second US brand after Mars. The Californiaheadquartered company, which employs 8,800 people around the world, has pledged to source all of its power through renewables by 2020 or sooner. Is carbon footprint has already been cut by 27pc since 2009. Last year, the use of renewable energy in its real estate portfolio accounted for 40pc of its global energy usage, up from 33pc in 2013. Amy Davidsen, executive director of the US office of The Climate Group, is expecting more innovative US brands to come on board this year. “US companies are increasingly opting for clean, local energy supplied at competitive prices. The business case is clear – and 100pc renewable power is within reach.” Special Report: CSR environment Irish Director

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CLIMATE LEADERS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO CLOSE GAP BETWEEN CORPORATE GHG REDUCTION GOALS AND 2 DEGREES CELSIUS SCENARIO A global campaign aimed at recruiting the world’s largest companies to set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets that will be sufficient to prevent global temperatures from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius has been launched. The ‘Science Based Targets’ initiative – a partnership between CDP, UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute and WWF – has set a goal of recruiting 100 companies by the end of the year. According to the partners involved, while 80pc of the world’s 500 largest companies are setting emission reduction targets, only the most proactive companies match the scale needed to meet the internationally agreed upon goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.

GAELECTRIC AND TESLA TO COLLABORATE ON BATTERY STORAGE IN IRELAND Irish renewable energy group Gaelectric has agreed a new partnership with Tesla that will see it deploy the Californian company’s first battery power utility-scale project in Ireland. The two companies will also collaborate to develop a pipeline of multiple battery projects to build new transmission system services required to facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources. An initial 1 MW demonstration project is targeted for deployment in 2016 at a location that is yet to be decided.

Gaelectric CEO, Brendan McGrath

25 GLOBAL PUBLISHERS TO SHARE CLIMATE CHANGE CONTENT FREE OF CHARGE Twenty-five global media organisations, including The Guardian, The Irish Times and China Daily, have created a network to share content in the run up to the UN Climate Change Summit (COP21) in Paris in December. The founding partners of the Climate Publishers Network (CPN) have been brought together by The Guardian, El País and the Global Editors Network. The initiative is coordinated by the Global Editors Network. The network will allow the publishers to syndicate one another’s articles related to climate change free of charge ahead of COP21. The initiative will run until 11 December, the last day of the UN Climate Change Summit.

CLIMATE CHANGE EXPERT ADVISORY GROUP APPOINTED Details of the National Expert Advisory Council on Climate Change, including the appointment of former ESRI research affiliate Prof John FitzGerald as its chairman, have been confirmed. The 11-member group will advise Government departments and agencies on the actions required to significantly reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions by 2050. The advisory council will include four ex-officio members: Laura Burke (director general, Environmental Protection Agency), Prof Alan Barrett (director designate, ESRI), Dr Brian Motherway (CEO, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) and Prof Gerry Boyle (director of Teagasc). The other members are Prof Ottmar Edenhofer (co-chair of working group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Prof Frank Convery (chief economist, Environmental Defence Fund, New York), Prof J Peter Clinch (Jean Monnet Chair of European Economic Integration and University College Dublin Prof of Public Policy), Prof Anna Davies (professor of geography at Trinity College Dublin), Prof Alan Matthews (prof emeritus of European agricultural policy in the at Trinity College Dublin) and Joseph Curtin (senior research fellow, IIEA).

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IRELAND’S LARGEST ROOFTOP SOLAR INSTALLATION UNVEILED Ireland’s largest rooftop solar installation – a 3.6 MW system with 14,000 solar PV panels – has been officially unveiled on the roof of aerospace company Bombardier’s 50,000 sq m wing facility in Belfast. The system, which is the size of 10 football pitches, cost around £3.5m and took 10 weeks to install. Expected to generate 3 million KWhs of electricity a year, it was designed, managed and installed by Belfast-headquartered SALIIS Renewables.

OPENHYDRO PREPARES TO DELIVER ‘INDUSTRY FIRST’ Co Louth tidal energy company OpenHydro is planning to deliver two of the world’s first grid connected tidal arrays, in Canada and France, which it said would represent a tidal energy industry first. In the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, OpenHydro is working with Emera to deploy and grid connect two 16-metre turbines while off the Brittany coast at EDF’s Paimpol–Bréhat site, OpenHydro will also install two grid-connected, 16-metre turbines. Owned by French industrial group DCNS, OpenHydro has almost one gigawatt of projects under development – the equivalent of 25pc of Ireland’s electricity demand.

RENEWABLE ENERGY USE UP BY 10PC IN 2014 - SEAI Renewable energy use in Ireland increased by 10pc in 2014, according to data published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The data also shows that primary energy usage fell by 0.4pc while the economy (GDP) grew by 4.8pc. Wind accounted for 18pc of electricity generated and was the second most significant source of electricity after natural gas at 45.8pc. At 22.6pc, total renewable electricity share now contributes nearly as much as coal and peat combined (23.1pc). This resulted in the carbon intensity of electricity generation falling to a record low of 457 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour of electrical output, said the SEAI.

WORLD DISCARDED 41.8 MT OF E-WASTE IN 2014 The world’s e-waste – discarded electrical and electronic equipment – amounted to 41.8 million metric tonnes (Mt) and had a combined estimated value of US$52bn in 2014, according to a new report from the United Nations University (UNU). UNU said the volume of e-waste is expected to rise by 21pc to 50 million Mt in 2018. According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2014, just 7pc of e-waste last year was made up of mobile phones, calculators, personal computers, printers, and small information technology equipment. Almost 60pc was a mix of large and small equipment used in homes and businesses while less than one-sixth of last year’s e-waste is thought to have been diverted to proper recycling and reuse.

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Energy EXCELLENCE SEAI is looking for innovative solutions with strong replication potential for its annual Sustainable Energy Awards


s the annual showcase of the best of energy management practices and innovations across business and communities in Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Awards also reflect the changing sustainability culture and agenda. The awards, which are now in their twelfth year, will recognise the organisations, individuals and public groups driving the sustainable energy agenda when the winners are revealed in November. Presented by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and sponsored by Electric Ireland and Enprova, this year the focus of the awards is on innovative solutions to energy saving that have a strong replication across all sectors. According to Majella Kelleher, head of energy demand management at SEAI and head judge, entry numbers have remained fairly consistent since the awards were introduced in 2004, but the quality and the breadth of submissions have seen a marked change, reflecting a broader evolution in sustainable energy. “The culture of energy efficiency and sustainable energy has shifted,” she explains. “Energy management is now embedded in large and many small organisations in a very structured way. Sustainable energy is no longer a peripheral topic and you can see that coming through in the awards. “We’ve also seen activities move from being very much projectbased – the installation of a boiler, for instance – to being about excellence across organisations, about getting cross-organisational involvement and then expanding out to communities and other sectors.” A good illustration of this is last year’s winner in the Industry category, Queally Group’s 30-acre food processing and cold storage site in Naas, which includes Dawn Farm Foods, Simply Soups and QK Meats. The site, which comprises six factories and is aiming to be accredited with ISO50001 by the end of 2015, has cut its energy usage by 50pc over the last five years through a range of projects, including the installation of a de-superheater, condenser and oil cooling recovery system and the replacement of an old, inefficient boiler with a new gas boiler, which saved over €500,000. Operations manager Barry Brophy stresses that the site’s work on its energy management systems will be an ongoing process. The company decided two years ago to ring-fence the savings made from its energy initiatives to reinvest in new activities. “This is a journey we’re on – there’s no final destination,” he says. According to Brophy, the site’s initial energy saving projects – started in 2009 – helped create a culture that has permeated the Queally Group and is driven from the top down. The company has set up an energy steering group that meets every three months

and, demonstrating the commitment from the top, includes one of Queally Group’s senior directors. “We’ve transferred our knowledge among the other businesses and they are now replicating what we have done on the site in Naas.” The company is also sharing its knowledge with other organisations and with local sporting clubs. “We want to create transferable models and we want to be a leader,” says Brophy. “We’ve got our head out of the pack a little bit and we want to keep it there, continue to learn and spread that learning to our people in similar businesses.”

Growing ambition According to Kelleher, the ambition of the entries is also increasing each year. Reflecting this trend, an overall Ambition award category was introduced last year, with Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Árainn Teo (CFOAT) a co-operative that aims to develop the three Aran Islands as 100pc energy self-sustaining and carbon neutral by 2022, being named the inaugural winner. The co-op, which was set up in 2012, is in the process of retrofitting all the houses on the islands and is also trialling innovations in renewable energy and running energy awareness programmes among resident groups. “We want every house and every building on all three islands to be at a high level of energy efficiency,” says Dara Ó Maoildhia, chairperson of the co-op. “We’re in our fourth year now and by the end of 2015 we’ll have over 50pc of the houses completed. For us, retrofitting is just step one, because you try to reduce the need for energy in the first place. Then you start generating energy yourselves. “We want to make the Aran Islands an exemplar of a community that can get its act together around renewable energy and we want to build on that so it becomes part of our tourist product.” The 10-year programme to become energy efficient and carbon neutral is “very ambitious”, says Ó Maoildhia. “We’ve certainly got the first stage of the timeline that we’d set ourselves in getting some of the houses retrofitted, but it remains to be seen if we get the rest done. But we’re working on it and we’re very active on the ground trying to get things done.”

Celebrating design The awards categories are constantly evolving to reflect sustainability and general trends and to mark one-off initiatives such as this year’s Irish Design 2015. “One of the objectives of Irish Design 2015 is to celebrate design excellence across all sectors so we wanted to recognise design in sustainable energy,” says Kelleher, adding

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Pictured at the launch of the twelfth annual Sustainable Energy Awards are Paul Stapleton, general manager, Electric Ireland; Majella Kelleher, head of energy demand management, SEAI; and Paddy Sweeney, managing director, Enprova

that the category is quite broad. “It can be anything from how you brought design into a product or a building to products and services that demonstrate the fusion of bringing a technical energy solution together with creative design in how it’s executed.” The benefits of applying for and going through the awards process are multiple, says Kelleher. “When people get involved and achieve energy savings at a company or community level, they have the benefits of that anyway. But the awards allow them to showcase their achievement and get recognition for what they’ve done. It’s about profiling their own organisation as leaders in the field.” Caroline Sugrue, director at DCS Group, says winning the award in the Built Environment category has generated credibility and exposure for her company. The winning project involved retrofitting seven Tesco stores with LED lighting, which resulted in average energy savings of 50pc. Notably, the €2m project was the first to be financed through the €70m National Energy Efficiency Fund, which involves a ‘pay as you save’ model. Under the terms of the arrangement, DCS accessed the fund and Tesco is now repaying the company based on energy efficiency savings delivered. “It’s quite complicated to put a project like that together but it does give us huge credibility,” says Sugrue. “As a result we have made one significant contact with another funder who is very interested in going forward with us and being involved in other projects we have on the table.” While winning is obviously the goal, going through the application process can be a very positive exercise, says Kelleher. “You have to be a bit structured in your thinking around what the project involved, why you did it and its benefits. We also provide applicants with feedback if they’re not shortlisted to help them improve their submission next time around.”


The process The deadline for completing and submitting entry forms is 26 June 2015. This year’s categories are Innovation (sponsored by Glen Dimplex), Collaboration, Research, Community, Large Business, Public Sector, Small Industry and Business, Leadership and Design. This year, the SEAI is only accepting online entries – see A shortlist of three or four finalists for each category will present to a judging panel at SEAI’s offices in Dublin. The winners will be announced at a gala event in Dublin in November 2015.

What makes a winning entry? The entries will be judged under five main headings: benefits of activity; energy demand reduction; implementation approach; replication approach; and innovation. The judges are looking for activities that have led to the development of projects, systems, services or approaches likely to impact future energy use. SEAI is particularly keen to showcase activities that have significant potential to be followed by others and that will encourage the widespread uptake of energy efficiency. And it will reward activities that can demonstrate potential for significant reduction in energy demand. An evaluation or monitoring system should be in place to record the energy demand addressed. Applications should demonstrate how the activities have been carried out in an efficient and effective manner, with buy-in and support from the wider organisation. Special Report: CSR environment Irish Director

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Building on a

HIGH STANDARD Since addressing its energy management issues in 2010, An Post has recorded concrete benefits through a clear sustainability strategy and an eye on ISO 50001 certification


aving retained ISO 50001 energy management certification for the second successive year, An Post is taking stock of where the process began before setting its sights on the sustainability challenges which lie ahead. John Smith, facilities manager and part of An Post’s sustainability team, is pleased with the company’s achievements, explaining that the process stemmed from the need to find a solution to the energy management issues which faced it back in 2010. “An Post is largely process driven. Our core business of mail processing and delivery places us more properly in the realm of light manufacturing but, with a network on the scale of a national utility provider,” he says. “Our challenges began with managing a huge variety of building stock in use over 24-hour periods, without any oversight as to what the level of energy use by our staff was in buildings across the network.” While the initial concept for ISO 50001 was floated to senior management in 2010 the reality of wrangling information from the company’s day-to-day operations began as early as 2008. At this time An Post was paying for a variety of utilities including electricity, gas, oil, liquefied petroleum gas, water and waste - all as unconsolidated utility bills. Each service was being supplied on individual contracts and maintenance contracts were in place for about 40pc of properties. “A growing awareness of corporate social responsibility [CSR] and sustainability among Irish companies meant we needed to find a structure to use as a benchmark and then seek to make gains on our environmental performance,” Smith recalls. An Post became a member of the newly formed International Post Corporation’s (IPC) Sustainability Group’s Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS). “In our first year of reporting the company ranked second last, 22nd of the 23 postal operators participating. We were far from being bathed in glory but it was a starting point and it gave us access to information, expertise and other people in the same position that we could work with,” says Smith.

From there, An Post moved swiftly in response to its initial results. Sustainability became part of its ‘Change’ programme which involved investing in sustainable technology and initiatives, consolidating utility bills, measuring utility use, developing utility contracts and ultimately achieving savings to fund further investment in sustainability. With these early wins in place and against a background of falling mail volumes and contracting markets, the sustainability team moved to place sustainability on a more permanent footing within the business, focusing specifically on energy use. In 2011, with chief executive support, An Post created a strategic project group to gain the ISO 50001 energy management standard. “We knew we had to concentrate on where real gains could be achieved and made energy savings our objective. Our mail colleagues and others had applied ISO standards across the business with success and we were satisfied that the ISO 50001 energy management standard was the right fit for creating actual energy savings.” ISO 50001 is modelled on making incremental improvements across the business to continually garner energy savings. The sustainability team took the structure and applied it to key projects including a planned preventative maintenance programme for all offices and the creation of a structure for managing energy savings. An Post achieved ISO 50001 in 2013 using a framework of annual energy reviews, working with trained and motivated staff, a planned preventative maintenance programme, site audits and an internal communications plan. The standard has reaped a definite return on investment with sustainability initiatives in An Post now self-funded from energy savings made within the organisation. Smith shares other measures of the success achieved on the path towards ISO certification: “In terms of the bottom line we have reduced energy use at An Post by 9pc in 2014 and by 4pc year to date in 2015. That’s a strong performance by any standard but it doesn’t get easier as we go along. “We have become very targeted and really drill down into the figures and behaviours of our staff to find savings.

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‘Re-certification is as big a success for us as getting the standard was initially, but if you can stick with the process, it can become a very powerful tool’

John Smith, An Post receives the Green Public Sector Organisation of the Year award from Mark Keough, chief executive officer, Greenstar “An Post now ranks eighth out of 23 participating posts in IPC EMMS and we aim to go higher. We achieved silver ranking in 2014 that’s a big improvement and an endorsement of the route we chose to go with ISO 50001. As far as we are aware, An Post is the first postal operator to gain ISO 50001, certainly within IPC.” In tandem with its ISO achievement, An Post has been nominated for awards in the CSR and green business arena over the past few years and won the Green Public Sector Organisation at the 2015 Green Awards. “It does make a difference to everyone to have the hard work recognised and it’s a signal back to our staff, customers and to the wider industry that we are getting it right,” says Smith. The parent company’s success with ISO 50001 has been noted across the group with subsidiaries in diverse businesses including insurance and global distribution now looking at rolling out the same standard. This will provide a new focus for the An Post sustainability team along with implementing a utility monitoring project in real time for An Post properties, creating bespoke projects for the retail office network nationwide and working towards achieving the Government

target of 33pc energy reduction by 2020. Smith notes: “That’s the thing with ISO 50001, you have to keep going and keep pushing for continual improvement. Re-certification is as big a success for us as getting the standard was initially, but if you can begin the process and stick with it, it can become a very powerful tool.”

An Post at a glance n n n n n n n n

10,000 An Post staff Processes more than 2.5 million items of mail per day An Post has circa 200 properties and 2 million sq ft of managed space GPO (headquarters) Four mail processing centres 122 mail delivery offices 58 branch offices (retail) Four administration buildings

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Energy for

IMPROVEMENT Healthcare company MSD sees itself as a global citizen with a firm commitment to a reduction in environmental impact. The ability to positively impact the environment is not taken lightly by its employees in Ireland, thanks to a dedicated approach and commitment to sustainability


hile pharmaceutical manufacturing isn’t as energy intensive as other industries, healthcare company MSD takes its environmental impact very seriously and strives to reduce it by actively managing its energy and water usage. Being guardians of the environments in which MSD works is a key component of MSD’s corporate responsibility programme. In the same respect, being cost efficient in energy consumption is a key component of MSD’s business success. Combining the two is a win-win prescription. Energy efficiency improvement is often known as the ‘fifth fuel’ at MSD with its thousands of employees around the world following the mantra ‘the cheapest and greenest kilowatt-hour is the one you don’t use.’ With this in mind MSD makes a US$10m Global Energy Fund available to its manufacturing sites each year on the basis that it should be used to support energy efficiency projects that have a payback of three years or less. Across the full MSD global network, Ireland has continuously led the way when it comes to the energy efficiency mindset, according to Mark O’Connor, associate director, Global Energy Group Community of Expertise (CoE), EMEA at MSD. “The Irish sites represent 30pc or more of the EMEA region and have over the past number of years engaged heavily with the EMEA portion of the Global Energy Fund. Some 40-50 projects in Ireland accounted for 50pc of the amount allocated over the 2011-2014 period which translates into investment in the region of US$5-6m.” MSD employs over 2,000 people across six sites in Ireland – Brinny, Co Cork, Co Carlow, Ballydine, Co Tipperary, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow and Swords, Co Dublin. O’ Connor notes that Brinny, for example, has invested in various efficiency projects over the past three years, such as chiller and cooling tower hydraulic optimisations that will reduce the associated thermal demand. As a result, savings of over US$1.5m will have been delivered at Brinny by the end of this year. The Carlow site has delivered energy improvements such as the installation of a high efficiency modulating boiler burner which will

deliver savings of US$250,000 in 2015. The site is also currently installing two water boreholes that will significantly reduce the cost of water usage on the site – a particularly relevant area in overall sustainability development. Such efficiencies have led to sites reaching targets early on, for example at Ballydine savings of 23pc were achieved between 2009 and 2012 and a target of over 25pc has been set for the period 2012 to 2015. In 2012, the site carried out an audit with employees identifying a number of opportunities for further energy savings. Many of these proposals are currently being implemented, in particular in the areas

Brinny energy room

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‘MSD sites in Ireland have continued to lead the way in terms of success in terms of their respective energy programmes, achieving a greater proportion of funding compared with other jurisdictions and engaging and collaborating more effectively as a regional team’ of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) optimisation focused on heat recovery, air change and room pressure reduction.

Irish influencer A chemical engineer by profession, O’Connor joined MSD in 2011 and was the energy lead at the Brinny site for three and a half years. Last September, he joined the Global Energy Group CoE, which is a dedicated function made up of a team of four people within MSD globally aimed at supporting sites across EMEA, Asia Pacific and North America. Along with managing the Global Energy Fund, this CoE is also responsible for influencing and reporting of global energy consumption, co-managing the corporate greenhouse emissions reduction goal and promoting MSD’s energy programme internally and externally. “From a global point of view the goal in MSD is to deliver 15pc greenhouse gas reduction by 2020 [compared with 2012]. This equates to a percentage year-on-year reduction for each site depending on the site energy intensity,” O’Connor explains. “The Energy Group CoE co-manages this corporate goal in conjunction with Global Safety & Environment as over 90pc of greenhouse gas emissions are due to energy consumption at our facilities. “In the past two years, around 18pc energy reduction for global sites has been noted equating to about 250,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent reduction [not all of which is attributed to energy efficiency]. The Global Energy Fund and energy programme played an important role, leading to 15-20pc savings in energy consumption since 2012. “Currently the Irish sites fall into the 2 or 3pc a year range, equating to 21pc to 2020 – which is both significant and impressive progress,” he said.

A touch of ‘Genius’ The Global Energy Group CoE links with MSD sites via the Global Energy Network for Improvement in Usage and Supply (Genius) team. Each site has a Genius representative to ensure a joined-up and collaborative approach, who is usually a full-time or part-time energy lead. “I regularly liaise with, support, encourage and advise with Genius colleagues and ultimately the Genius members will look to my support/alignment in order to progress on initiatives,” says O’Connor.

Ballydine hub “Sub-region members regularly collaborate via face-to-face and virtual regional meetings to share best practice, key learnings and further innovative opportunities. There is also a monthly Genius webinar as well as a ‘Genius of the Month’ award to recognise achievements in the area.” In Ireland, the Genius team works closely with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on the SEAI Energy Agreement programme and Better Energy Workplaces programme while IDA Ireland has also supported a combined heat and power project at Brinny. Both Brinny and Ballydine have been shortlisted for the SEAI annual Energy Awards for the past number of years with Ballydine winning a title in 2014 – O’Connor says this was a great honour not only for those involved but at a national level for MSD in Ireland. “MSD sites in Ireland have continued to lead the way in terms of success in terms of their respective energy programmes, achieving a greater proportion of funding compared with other jurisdictions and engaging and collaborating more effectively as a regional team,” he notes. “Indeed, the sites are now grouping together to obtain the energy management ISO50001 certification despite there being no legislative compliance driver to do so.”

Special Report: CSR environment Irish Director

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Committed to

BEST PRACTICE Brian O’Neill, strategic marketing manager, Friends First, describes how the environmental aspects of the company’s corporate responsibility (CSR) strategy operate


t is important when setting environmental objectives to understand that there are two distinct types of businesses - the first being companies whose actual operations affect the environment and are intrinsically linked to it, for example certain manufacturing businesses, energy providers and so forth. For this group, adopting a positive community-led approach to their environment must be deeply embedded in their fundamental approach to how they carry out their business. Meanwhile, the other group of companies provides more intangible products and therefore the type of environmental objectives would concentrate more on the minimisation of waste, energy efficiency and reduction of the company’s carbon footprint. Friends First, by its nature falls into the second category and by being ‘Friends in the Environment’ we aim to reduce our environmental impact (carbon footprint) as well as minimising our energy, material and paper consumption along with our wastage. We are committed to the best practices of environmental management. This is achieved by continuously improving all aspects of our operations including our waste recycling programmes, minimising the total amount of waste going to landfill and by encouraging positive environmental values in all our employees. Friends First regards environmental protection as an essential prerequisite of all our operations and we undertake to conduct our business in a manner which protects our environment which is the environment of not only our employees but also our customers and the communities in which we live and work. We aim not only to ensure compliance with all aspects of our waste licences and permits but to also proactively pursue and implement sustainable recycling technologies and systems that

Friends First recycling leaflets for employees

reduce the amount of waste going for landfill disposal. Within our building there is a system for disposal of waste to ensure that all items for recycling are correctly managed. This includes plastics, food containers and paper waste. There are procedures in our staff restaurant to ensure food waste and coffee grinds are sent for compost. We also recycle all printer toners, which along with mobile phones and Blackberry devices are sent to the Jack & Jill foundation.

‘We aim to reduce our environmental impact as well as minimising our energy, material and paper consumption along with our wastage.’ Irish Director Special Report: CSR environment

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Friends First headquarters in Dublin It is only with the support of our staff that Friends First can achieve its environmental objectives, and part of our policy is to train and educate all employees in the skills and knowledge necessary to attain these environmental targets and goals. In addition, our building has been set up to run in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way and we aim to continuously monitor and improve its efficiency as new technologies become available. Lights throughout the building are sensor driven which has led to a decrease in our electricity consumption as the chart shows. Flow aerators have recently been installed in the sinks in the building to regulate the flow of water thereby conserving water. Friends First believes that by acting responsibly across all aspects of our business we can deliver sustainable value to all stakeholders and make a strong social and environmental contribution. This holds true to the corporate social responsibility (CSR) aim of embracing responsibility for corporate actions and encouraging a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others.

At the heart of doing business CSR practices extend far beyond simply supporting charities or local community initiatives. Social responsibility should be at the heart of the way a company does business – how it procures, manufactures, sells and how it treats its customers. A truly successful business is a sustainable business and one that develops and maintains long-term value for the benefit of all stakeholders. This includes annual profitability and other nonfinancial metrics, including customer brand and reputation metrics. As witnessed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis an excessive focus on short-term profitability to the exclusion of longterm value creation can lead to policies that destroy not only the

long-term financial value of a company but also undermine and threaten the viability of the business. Non-financial metrics are important to provide a more holistic measurement of the contribution of a company and its role in developing long-term and short-term value. This is why the key word missing from the phrase corporate social responsibility but which is often correctly used in conjunction with it, is sustainability. For a company to be successful over the long-term its business model and methods of value creation should be sustainable and viable over the long term. Long-term value creation includes financial value but extends beyond this to include the creation of added value for the benefit of all stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, staff and wider society. Within Friends First, CSR, or acting in a socially responsible way, is not a single function or department. It is a philosophy integrated into all aspects of the business. Introduced post-financial crisis, the company’s new and integrated CSR strategy is key to rebuilding its business. To improve co-ordination and communication of our activities, the company has organised them under four central themes: ‘Friends in the Workplace’; ‘Friends in the Community’; ‘Friends in the Environment’ and ‘Friends in the Marketplace’. Arriving at a working practical definition of CSR can be achieved by thinking about its objectives and how the activities to deliver on these objectives will benefit both the business and society. Consumers increasingly want to be associated with ethical and sustainable brands and business. CSR is not a convenient label for these principles – it is a policy and set of practices that should be implemented across all parts of the business and which should be explicitly recognised by suppliers, customers, distributors, staff and society in their engagement with the company. Special Report: CSR environment Irish Director

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senior appointments

in association with

Changing places

Bernard Byrne Bernard Byrne, chief executive officer, AIB

Gary McGann, chairman, Paddy Power

AIB has appointed Bernard Byrne to succeed David Duffy as chief executive officer. Byrne joined AIB in May 2010 as group chief financial officer and a member of the bank’s leadership team. Since 2011, he has held a number of roles, leading the retail, business and corporate segments. Most recently, he was director of retail and business banking. He began his career as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 1988 and joined ESB International in 1994, where he was the commercial director for international investments. In 1998, he joined IWP International plc as finance director. He returned to ESB in 2004 where his posts included group finance and commercial director.

Gary McGann is to take over from Nigel Northridge as chairman of Paddy Power on 30 June 2015. McGann joined the board as a non-executive director and a member of the audit committee in November 2014. Since 2002, he has been group chief executive of Smurfit Kappa. He will retire from this role in August 2015. He joined the Smurfit Group in 1998 as chief financial officer and has also served as president and chief operations officer. Before that, he was group CEO of Aer Lingus and CEO of Gilbeys of Ireland. He is also chairman of Aon Ireland, a non-executive director of Green Reit plc and chairman of CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries).

Sandra Collins Sandra Collins, director, National Library of Ireland The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has appointed Dr Sandra Collins as its next director. Collins, who is currently the director of the digital repository

of Ireland (DRI) in the Royal Irish Academy, will take up her new NLI role on 31 July 2015. Collins’ career includes leadership roles in research, industry and public service. She has worked in Science Foundation Ireland, Ericsson and Dublin City University.

Gary McGann and Nigel Northridge

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senior appointments

in association with

Gary Conroy, managing director, Payments


Realex Payments has appointed Gary Conroy as managing director. Conroy joined Realex Payments in 2005 and most recently served as chief operating officer and deputy CEO, where he managed all customer facing aspects of the business across sales, marketing and operations. He previously founded his own company, Factory Golf Store. He has worked for Vordel, Misys and Goldman Sachs.


officer. He previously held senior management roles in Sunlight Service Group and Shanks Waste Services.

John Treacy

Mark Burrows Smith, chief executive officer, Greenstar

John Treacy, CEO, Sport Ireland

Waste management company Greenstar has appointed Mark Burrows Smith as its next chief executive officer. In July, Burrows Smith will replace Mark Keough, who will step back from day-to-day management of the business. Burrows Smith has most recently been chief operating officer of UK waste management business Viridor Limited, part of the FTSE 250 Pennon Group plc. He has been with Viridor since 2007, firstly as director, northern region, then as operations director and finally as chief operating

John Treacy has been announced as the first CEO of Sport Ireland. The new organisation, which will result from the merger of the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority, is expected to be established in July. Treacy, who won a silver medal in the marathon in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, has been CEO of the Irish Sports Council since 1999. His appointment will be for an interim period of a year to facilitate the transition of the two bodies to the new agency.

Paula Murphy Huib Costermans, group chief financial officer, Eircom Eircom has appointed Huib Costermans as group chief financial officer, a role he will take up in August. Costermans, who will also be appointed an executive director of the board of Eircom Ltd, has worked with Dutch telecommunications operator KPN for the past seven years in a number of roles including CFO for its wholesale and operations functions, CFO of E-Plus in Germany and CFO of KPN’s Dutch operations. Before joining KPN, he spent 16 years in various roles with Organon, a Dutch pharmaceutical company that used to be part of Akzo Nobel. Dominic Carolan, CEO, Nibrt

Dr Reg Shaw and Dominic Carolan

The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (Nibrt) has appointed

Dominic Carolan as CEO. He replaces Dr Reg Shaw who led the centre for the last two years. Carolan has previously held senior roles in Mallinckrodt (Dublin) and Genzyme, where he was senior vice president of manufacturing. Most recently he headed up Sanofi’s global network of sterile injectable lyophilisation sites. He has also led the start-up of two pharma and biopharma facilities in. He’s a chemical engineering graduate of UCD and was chairman of PharmaChemical Ireland from 2008 to 2010. Paula Murphy, chairperson, Marketing Institute of Ireland Vodafone Ireland’s head of brand operations Paula Murphy has been appointed chairperson of the Marketing Institute of Ireland (MII). Murphy takes over from Páraic O’Toole, chief executive of Automsoft, who remains on the MII board as a Summer 2015 Irish Director

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senior appointments

non-executive director. Before joining Vodafone in 2010, Murphy was group marketing director at Independent Newspapers. Before that, her roles included commercial manager with Superquinn and marketing manager at Kerry Foods. She joined the MII in 1994, and was made a fellow in 2008. She is a graduate of the College of Marketing and Design and has a BSc in management from Trinity College, Dublin. The Marketing Institute has also appointed Gerard O’Neill, chairman of Amárach Research, and David Field, marketing director of Brown Thomas, as directors. Erik Slooten, chief information officer, Eircom Erik Slooten has been appointed chief information officer at Eircom. He joins from T-Mobile in the Czech Republic, where he was regional vice president for processes and systems. Before that he was CIO of GTS, also in the Czech Republic. He was previously CIO at Vivacom in Bulgaria.

in association with

Alan Barrett, director, ESRI Prof Alan Barrett is to take over from Prof Frances Ruane as director of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) later this year. Currently head of the economic analysis division at the ESRI, Barrett is also an adjunct professor at the Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin, and is a member of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. He has previously worked at Trinity College Dublin, as project director of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, and at the Department of Finance, where he worked on long-term policy issues. Frank Ryan, chairman, Athlone Institute of Technology Frank Ryan has been appointed chairman of the governing body of Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT). Ryan retired as CEO of Enterprise Ireland in November 2013 following two five-year terms. Before

Howard Millar Enterprise Ireland he worked for 25 years with IDA Ireland. In December 2013, he was appointed chairperson of the board of IDA Ireland. In addition, he is chairman of the Early Learning Initiative, National College of Ireland; chairman of the judging panel, Deloitte Best Managed Company Awards; a council member of the Irish Tax Institute; and a member of the Committee of Industry and Commerce, RDS. He was conferred with an honorary doctorate by UCD and received the Innovation in Management Award 2013 from the Irish Management Institute. Tony Smurfit, group CEO, Smurfit Kappa

Frank Ryan and Ciarán Ó Catháin

Tony Smurfit is to take over as group CEO of Smurfit Kappa following the retirement of Gary McGann on 31 August 2015. Smurfit is currently president and chief operating officer of the group. He has been a director of the company since 1989 and was appointed group chief operations officer in November 2002. He has worked

in various parts of the Smurfit Kappa Group in Europe and the US. He was chief executive of Smurfit Europe from October 1999 to 2002. Previous roles include deputy chief executive of Smurfit Europe and CEO of Smurfit France. Kevin Toland, non-executive Produce



Total Produce has appointed DAA CEO Kevin Toland to its board as a non-executive director with effect from 1 July 2015. Before taking on his current role in 2013, Toland held senior executive positions with a number of multinational companies, including most recently chief executive and president of Glanbia USA & Global Nutritionals, based in Chicago. Howard Millar, chairman, BDO Former Ryanair deputy CEO and chief financial officer Howard Millar, has been appointed independent non-executive

Irish Director Summer 2015

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senior appointments

in association with

chairman of BDO. He becomes the accountancy firm’s first independent non-executive chairman. Millar joined Ryanair as financial controller in April 1992, was promoted to finance director in 1993 and appointed CFO and deputy CFO in January 2003. He stepped down as a full-time executive in December 2014 and is set to rejoin as a non-executive director. He is also on the advisory board of Irelandia Aviation.

group controller in 2001, head of group finance in January 2009 and to the position of finance director in May 2010. Before joining CRH, she worked for a number of years as a chartered accountant in an international accountancy practice. She is also a board member of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

Michael Cullen, non-executive director, Irish Stock Exchange

Irishman John O’Keeffe, who’s currently managing director of Diageo Nigeria, is to be appointed president, Diageo Africa and join the company’s executive committee on 1 July 2015. A UCC BComm graduate, O’Keeffe has been with Diageo since 1994, spending his first five years in a range of brand and innovation roles in Ireland. He followed up with stints as marketing director in Jamaica and the Nordics. He was then commercial and innovation director, Nordics; general manager, Sweden and Finland; Europe and Greece marketing director, Johnnie Walker; managing director, Russia and Eastern Europe; global category director, beer and Baileys; and global head of innovation. He has been in his current role since November 2014.

CEO of Investec Ireland Michael Cullen has been appointed a non-executive director of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE). Cullen is a former director of Gandon Securities, Woodchester Investments plc and Aviva Ireland. Maeve Carton, finance director, CRH Maeve Carton, group finance director at CRH, is to take on the new role of group transformation director from 1 January 2016. In the role, Carton will be charged with identifying and implementing the optimum financial and business model for the group in the years ahead. Since joining CRH in 1988, Carton has held a number of roles in the group finance area and was appointed


John O’Keeffe, president, Diageo Africa

Sasha Wiggins, chief executive officer, Barclays Bank Ireland

Garrett Tubridy Barclays Bank Ireland has appointed Sasha Wiggins as its new chief executive officer. Wiggins, who was most recently managing director within the Barclays wealth and investment management division in London, has moved to Dublin to take up the position. She joined Barclays in 2002, having previously worked in stockbroking. She is a chartered wealth manager and a fellow

Sasha Wiggins

of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. Garrett Tubridy, tournament director, Women’s Rugby World Cup The IRFU has appointed Garrett Tubridy as tournament director for the Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC), which is set to take place in Dublin and Belfast in 2017. In the role, Tubridy will be responsible for planning and delivering the WRWC 2017 tournament across all venues in the two cities. Tubridy has been tournaments’ operations manager with European Rugby Cup (ERC) since 2005, developing and delivering the commercial and operational programmes for the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, and in the last year, the European Rugby Champions and Challenge Cups.

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personal picks


Louisburgh, Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Buenos Aires and Florence Scovel Shinn’s The Game of Life and How to Play It all make Deirdre Keane’s list of recommendations Deirdre Keane is a director of

My favourite city break destination is… London, Amsterdam and Madrid are my current top three.

Crestcom Ireland, responsible for bringing Crestcom’s ‘Bullet Proof Manager’ training to Dublin. She is one

My favourite international destination is… Buenos Aires. It has something for every mood. There is a pulse to this city that makes you want to move – you’ll come back dancing.

of 260 Crestcom partners around the world delivering the management development programme. She has years

My favourite Irish hotel is… Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa - top class service and many wonderful touches – stunning place.

of management experience across a range of industries from renewable energy to pharma-retail and further experience of running

When it comes to international hotels, I favour… Boutique hotels as they tend to have a personality.

her own businesses. Her passion for all things leadership cultivates her interests in politics and working with business leaders. She joined the IoD in June 2014.

The best place for a business lunch is… Hugo’s on Merrion Row – the only catch is it is a very difficult place to leave! And the best place for brunch is… The Bakehouse – super fresh, delectable food and genuinely friendly staff. My favourite restaurant is… Etto, Merrion Row – fantastic everything – staff are really down to earth, know their stuff and the food is perfect. I recommend the tasting menu (only available Monday to Wednesday).

The best way to travel is… As a passenger on a direct route. The technology I always pack is… Mobile phone and tablet. The best place to unwind is… By the sea – preferably on a windy day with few people around. My cultural highlight of the last year is… The Price by Arthur Miller in the Gate Theatre. Possibly the best play I have ever seen. And the cultural event I’m most looking forward to in 2015 is… Seeing Swan Lake in The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre with my Mum. We’ve both always wanted to go to a ballet and we finally synced our diaries for November 2015.

My favourite bar is… I love Neary’s and Grogan’s when I am in town. Olesya’s Wine Bar on Exchequer Street is a wonderful spot to while away some happy hours! The best place for a weekend break in Ireland is… Galway City – easy to get to, easy to get around and it’s by the coast – perfect! And the best place for a holiday in Ireland is… Louisburgh, Co Mayo. I am biased but the air here is the best destressor I know. It’s wild, natural and therapeutic with plenty to do.

Streets of Galway

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personal picks


Carmenito Street in La Boca, Buenos Aires

‘My favourite international destination is Buenos Aires. It has something for every mood. There is a pulse to this city that makes you want to move – you’ll come back dancing’ My favourite sporting moment is… Watching my four-year old nephew compete in an egg and spoon race! The sporting event I’m looking forward to over the next year… I don’t really have sporting events in my calendar. That is until the next time Mayo or Galway are in Croke Park for an All-Ireland Final! The best venues for music and theatre are… I love smaller venues - The Gate Theatre and the National Concert Hall are amongst my favourites. The Iveagh Gardens is hard to beat as an outdoor music venue – when the sun is out! I adore the IFI for movies. My top business book is… Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill. It is one thing to master technical expertise; it is a whole other thing to master your mind. This book gives you a blueprint on how to manage your mind for consistent success.

National Concert Hall

My favourite non-business book is… It is a toss-up between Dancer by Colum McCann and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. What I’m reading right now… Conduct Unbecoming by Des O’Malley - I am thoroughly enjoying seeing the perspective of a huge figure in Irish politics. Any other recommendations? I love books but if I were limited to just one more recommendation I would say The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn – fantastic perspective, philosophy and principles on how to live life!

Louisburgh, Co Mayo

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personal picks

Pro SELECTION Waterville, New York, climbing Skellig Michael with his daughters and playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am are just some of Marty Carr’s favourite things Marty Carr founded the

My favourite Irish hotels are… Dromoland Castle, Co Clare and Butler Arms, Waterville, Co Kerry.

Irish based Carr Golf Group in 1989. It now employs 50 people in two businesses,

My favourite international hotel is… Fitzpatrick’s Hotel in Manhattan.

Carr Golf Travel and Carr Golf Services, a golf management and maintenance business.

The best way to travel is… Business class.

Before setting up the company, Carr worked with NCB Stockbrokers in Dublin

The technology I always pack is… Apple.

and UBS in New York. He graduated from University of San Francisco with a business degree. He is married and lives in Booterstown with his wife and two teenage daughters.

For me, the best way to unwind is… Walking with the dog.

He has been an IoD member since April 2015.

My cultural highlight of the last year was… Taking the boat trip and climbing to the top of Skellig Michael in Kerry with my daughters. The best place for a business lunch is… Peploe’s on Stephen’s Green. The best place for brunch, meanwhile, is… Home. My favourite restaurants are… Bistro One in Foxrock - the Bistro One salad is fantastic. Also, Rinuccini in Kilkenny. My favourite pub is… Gleeson’s in Booterstown, Dublin.

And the event I’m most looking forward to in 2015 is… The British Open at St Andrews - the home of golf! My favourite sporting moment was… Playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am with a best pal on the bag. And the sporting events I’m looking forward to are… Playing in the World Invitational Father & Daughter Golf Tournament in Waterville in July with my daughter Julia and being in Waterville for the 26th World Invitational Father & Son in August.

The best place for a weekend break in Ireland is… Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny. And the best place for a holiday in Ireland is… Waterville, Co Kerry. My favourite city break destination is… New York. And my favourite international destination is… California.

Pebble Beach, California

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personal picks


‘The event I’m most looking forward to in 2015 is the British Open at St Andrews - the home of golf’

Dromoland Castle

The best venues for music and sport are… Madison Square Garden for music and Augusta for golf. My top business book is… Traction: Get A Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman. My favourite non-business book is… The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet and the Birth of Modern Golf by Mark Frost.

Madison Square Garden

The view from Skellig Michael

Beach at Waterville

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Scully Window One 2014 © Sean Scully

VISUAL ARTS Sean Scully The National Gallery of Ireland is running an exhibition until 20 September to mark abstract painter Sean Scully’s 70th birthday, with paintings on loan from The Tate Gallery, Arts Council England, Kerlin Gallery and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma).Born in Dublin, Sean Scully moved to New York at the end of the 1970s. His work responded to the minimal art of the 1960s and 1970s, associating emotions and phenomena of the world into his art while still incorporating variety. This exhibition brings together a select number of his paintings from the period 1980–2000, as well as recent work produced during the last decade. Fragments Imma is presenting this exhibition inspired by philosopher Walter Benjamin’s comparison of the work of translation to re-assembling fragments of a broken

vase – the individual fragments must come together, but need not be like each other. It includes the first showing since their acquisition of a number of recent works by Irish artists, including ‘The sky looks down on almost as many things as the ceiling’, (2013), a wall-based sculpture by Aleana Egan as well as commissioned works by Ronan McCrea and Alan Phelan. Fragments will also include a number of subjectivist works by WW II imigrès, the White Stag artists, bequested by the late artist Patrick Scott to Imma in 2014. The exhibition runs until 26 July 2015.

THEATRE The Shadow of a Gunman Director Wayne Jordan is bringing the plays of Sean O’Casey back to The Abbey Theatre with his production of Shadow of a Gunman, which is running until 1 August. The play focuses on Donal Davore who is struggling over his poetry as he battles to find peace

in a Dublin tenement. Outside, Ireland is descending into a vicious guerilla war and his neighbours believe he is a gunman on the run. A Month in the Country Irish dramatist, author and director Brian Friel’s adaptation of ‘A Month in the Country’ by Russian playwright and novelist Ivan Turgenev will be at The Gate Theatre in Dublin from 7 July until 22 August. The play is set in the Islaev country estate in the 1840s and focuses on headstrong woman Natalya Petrovna who is bored with her lot and is a mixture of comedy and tragedy. The director is Ethan McSweeny, the cast includes Barbara Brennan, Ingrid Craigie and Nick Dunning.

FESTIVALS Kilkenny Arts Festival Founded in 1974, Kilkenny Arts Festival is

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taking place this year from 7 to 16 August. Highlights of the 2015 event include Richard II, Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2) and Henry V by William Shakespeare in a new adaptation by Mark O’Rowe and directed by Garry Hynes; the Last Sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert performed by Sir András Schiff; and Eternal Harmony: The Music of JS Bach performed by the Chamber Choir Ireland, Camerata Kilkenny and Paul Hillier Ireland/UK. Galway International Arts Festival Taking place from 13 to 26 July, the Galway Arts Festival includes highlights such as: a100ft long flying Skywhale; five premiere productions including new work by Frank McGuinness, Hofesh Shechter, Amy Conroy and Enda Walsh; Brett Bailey’s theatre/installation Exhibit B; a weekend of orchestral and chamber music masterworks featuring the RTÉ National Symphony


Orchestra; exhibitions by Patricia Piccinini, Louise Bourgeois and Sophie Calle; and First Thought Talks, a series of conversations on creativity and design. www. Culture Night The annual all-island public event celebrating culture, creativity and the arts is taking place in 2015 on 18 September. On the night, arts and cultural organisations and venues extend their opening hours to allow for increased access to the public and there are special events and workshops. It has grown from a small-scale event in 2006 to one attracting 350,000 people.

Dan Gordon and Louise Lewis in Sean O’Casey’s The Shadow of a Gunman

patron news

Research study from IndEx Partners highlights growth of interim management in Ireland A comprehensive study, the first since 2008, of interim executive practitioners shows that interim management is now well established in the Irish market as a positive career choice: 32pc of those surveyed have been working as an interim executive for more than four years, with four being the average number of assignments undertaken. A further 16pc recorded that they have been operating as interim executives for a period of two to four years. This development is underpinned by the level of confidence in the market, with 67pc expecting that opportunities in Ireland for interim executives will increase over the next three years. The report was carried out by Amárach Research on behalf of IndEx Partners, Ireland’s leading interim executive firm. “These independent professionals are increasingly being trusted by corporations to undertake mission critical assignments, which would have been managed in the past by permanent staff or external consultancy firms. Seventy percent of respondents recorded delivering transformation or business critical initiatives as being the primary driver of their most recent assignment,” said John Kelly, general manager, IndEx Partners. “This is in line with our experience at IndEx Partners. Short-term needs connected with growth, efficiency and risk

typically underpin our clients’ requirements for an interim executiveled intervention. Also we are seeing that organisations increasingly recognise that the profile of an individual who John Kelly, general manager, will successfully IndEx Partners deliver high impact transformation is fundamentally different to the individual best suited to ongoing operational leadership, which is also driving the heightened demand for high calibre interims.” IndEx Partners has a unique focus on helping its clients to rapidly engage independent executive talent on an interim basis to lead the execution of transformation, restructuring, cost efficiency programmes or to plug a senior executive gap. IndEx Partners is a subsidiary company of MERC Partners.

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Asia Business Week Ireland 2015 launch Asia Business Week Ireland was officially launched at an event in Dublin’s CafÊ en Seine on 3 June, which was addressed by Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, and by Alan Dukes, president of Asia Matters. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend Asia Business Week Ireland 2015, which will take place in Dublin and Cork from 8 to 14 July.

Gerry Muldowney, DIT and Shane Ryan, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly

Mark Canning, former British Ambassador to Indonesia; Alan Dukes, chairman, Asia Matters; Frank Gleeson, Indorama; and Martin Murray, director, Asia Matters

The event offered plenty of opportunity for networking

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Martin Murray; Declan Daly, Cork Co Council; Wu Lijun, Councillor of the Chinese Embassy; and PR consultant Ane Zhang

CafĂŠ en Seine was the venue for the launch

Conor O’Cleary, governor of ASEF, and Alan Dukes

Seamus Chamberlain, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Ciara Cotter, SFI

Spring 2015 Irish Director

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Chen Tian, Bank of Ireland; Paul Smith, DCU; Greg Begley, Bank of Ireland; and Conor McDonald, Bank of Ireland

Yvonne Nolan, Etihad Airways; Madeline Riley, Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin; Valerie Murphy, Etihad Airways; and Michelle McDonnell, Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin

Minister Alan Kelly spoke about the constantly improving relations between Ireland and Asia

Vincent Yu, Chinese Embassy; Walter X Pan, Chinese Embassy; and Michael Sands, Dublin City Council

John O’Hagan, Irish Times and Keith McBean, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Irish Director Spring 2015

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Throughout Ireland, over 2,200 business leaders are benefiting from IoD membership. They are your peers, competitors, potential contacts... maybe even your future business partners.


“The Institute of Directors is a fantastic resource for business leaders. IoD events provide great networking opportunities and are the ideal platform to engage with and learn about the support the IoD gives its members.”

“In an increasingly complex and competitive business environment I find the IoD to be a great resource and repository of fresh and relevant thinking. I engage with the IoD across the breadth of their activities and I am never disappointed by my experience.”

Louise Phelan, Vice President, Global Operations EMEA, PayPal, IoD member since 2011

Chris Cawley, Media & Communications Investor, IoD member since 2000

Contact us today on 01 411 0010 or visit

to become the newest member of the Institute of Directors. We’re behind you all the way.

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IOD new membership.qxd:69-71



Page 74

Application form for membership There are two categories of membership of the IoD – Full and Associate. Both can avail of all membership benefits and attend all IoD events. Full Member: You must be a director of a corporation for a minimum of three years or a partner, senior executive or officer of an entity, with three years’ experience as a member of the body that is responsible for the strategic business direction of that entity. The company must be solvent and in existence for at least three years and have a minimum annual turnover or budget of €300,000. Please indicate the category you are applying for: Full

Associate Member: A person must be a director, partner, senior executive or officer of an entity or a sole trader for a minimum period of one year or report to a member of the body that is responsible for the strategic business direction of that entity and is interested in the promotion and advancement of good corporate governance.

❑ Associate ❑

1. PERSONAL DETAILS OF THE APPLICANT (Please attach your business card if possible)



Date of Birth _____________________________________________


Work Email ______________________________________________

Business Name____________________________________________

Personal Email ____________________________________________

Business Address


Mobile __________________________________________________




Home Address ____________________________________________

Business Phone __________________________________________


Number of years served as a director __________________________

Company Reg No. __________________________________


Company Sector __________________________________________

Job Title

I hereby apply for membership of the Institute of Directors in Ireland and agree to be bound by its Memorandum and Articles of Association. I also confirm that: • I do not have any unspent criminal convictions (other than for traffic offences). •

I have not been restricted from acting as a company director under section 189 of the Companies Act 2014 (or section 159 of the Companies Act 1990) nor disqualified (or deemed disqualified) from acting as a company director under sections 839, 840 or 841 of the Companies Act 2014 (or section 160 of the Companies Act 1990) or equivalent legislation in any other jurisdiction. I have read and understood the code of conduct expected as a member of the Institute of Directors in Ireland. The code can be viewed at or emailed to you on request.

2. COST OF IOD IRELAND MEMBERSHIP New Membership Fee €495 (payable in the first year only)

Annual Subscription Thereafter €295

3. PAYMENT DETAILS Payment is accepted by cheque payable to: The Institute of Directors in Ireland, or by credit/debit card (see below) Cardholder’s Name: ______________________________________ Amount: € ______________

❑ Visa ❑ MasterCard (We cannot accept American Express) Card no: ❑❑❑❑ ❑❑❑❑ ❑❑❑❑ ❑❑❑❑ Expiry date: ❑❑ / ❑❑ CVV: ❑❑❑

I am paying by

Signature: ____________________________________________________________ All information provided is treated with the strictest confidence. If you have any queries, please phone us on 01 4110010.

Please return your completed form by fax to 01 4110090 or post to: Institute of Directors in Ireland, Europa House, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2

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Letter from the editor Letter from the editor Letter from the editor


Welcome to the autumn issue of Irish Director. Welcome to the springissue issueof ofIrish IrishDirector. Director. Welcome to our the summer In director profile we talk to In our director profile, weMullins hear from RTÉ In our director profile, John updates philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman, who dragon Peter Casey, who discusses a range us on the andsosuccesses since over the haschallenge contributed much to Ireland of topics, including his ownup journey as solar an leaving Bord and hisofown last 25Gáis years in asetting wide range areas, including entrepreneur, someAmarenco. of the lessons he has investment company, peace, arts and education. In our One to Watch learned along the wayMcGearty and his plans to enter Cartrawler Mike section,boss we look at the story talks so farabout for Athlonepolitics. his company’s progressaas it expands product based OxyMem, UCD spin-outits that is winning Aviation leasing is the subject of our sector offering from car rental solutions into other accolades for its breakthrough wastewater profile and we look at factors that have made modes of transport. treatment technology. Ireland so successful in this area, current trends And weWe’re hear from Bernard Peillon, and also launching our newCEO ‘Future possible barriers to success ininthe ofconcept Hennessy, about the brand’s values, Business’ series with a president lookand at the of business agility reacting Inchanging our Future Business section, we examine wellness in the context of its Irish heritage and plansneeds. for the future. customer leadership and organisational performance. Environment is the focus in our ongoing campaign, which looks The role of the chairperson comesCSR under the microscope in ourat that our 12-month CSR campaign continues with some Keeping ofBoardroom trendswith andsection. besttheme, practices as companies become increasingly We also look at how organisations can makeaware themselves a focus on the workplace, looking more at thesustainably. business benefits of employee of the business benefits of operating whistleblowing ready. engagement. Thanks to the members and others whocampaign have contributed their time and And weIoD continue our 12-month CSR with a look at the complex Thanks as ever to the IoD members and others who have contributed shared their expertise and insights. We welcome feedback and suggestions to area of the marketplace, which takes in everything from supply chainstheir to timecustomer and shared their expertise and insights. We welcome feedback and relations and product quality. . suggestions ever to the IoD members and others who have contributed their time and shared their expertise and insights. We welcome feedback and Grainne Rotheryto Grainne Rothery suggestions Editor, Irish Director Editor, Irish Director Grainne Rothery Editor, Irish Director

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ISSN: 1649-3621



Editor: Grainne Rothery BOSTON Editor: Grainne Rothery WASHINGTON D.C. Production editor: Karina Corbett LOS ANGELES Production editor: Karina Corbett NEW YORK Designer: Keith Wealleans HOUSTON Designer: Keith Wealleans Editor: Grainne Rothery WASHINGTON D.C. Client services: Sharon Bolger, LOS ANGELES Managing editor: Sorcha For all advertising and Corcoran marketing queries, ph: +353 1 625 1422, email: HOUSTON Designer: Wealleans contact Keith Sam Hobbs on ph: +353 1 625 1425 or email: For all advertising and marketing queries, For all advertising and marketing queries, contact Sam Hobbs on ph: +353 1 625 1425 contact Sam Hobbs on ph: +353 1 625 1425 Irish Director is published by Business & Leadership Ltd or email: or email: Ph: +353 1 625 1400 Email: Irish Director is published by Business & Leadership Ltd Irish DirectorOffice is published bySt, Business & Leadership Address: 4, 6 Main Dundrum, Dublin 14. Ph: +353 1 625 1400 Ph:©+353 1 625 1400 Business and Leadership Ltd 2015 Email: Email: Address: Top Floor, Block 43B, Yeats Way, Park West Business Park, Address: Office 4, 6 Main St, Dundrum, Dublin 14. Nangor Road, Dublin 12 © Whitespace Publishing Group Ltd ISSN: 1649-3621 © Business and Leadership Ltd 2014 Front cover photo: Aengus McMahon / McMahon Photography





ISSN: 1649-3621














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Irish Director Irish Director


ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT The win-win case for thinking big




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