Denis O'Brien is Chairman of the privately-owned Digicel Group, one of the fastest growing mobile operators in the world.
Denis founded Digicel in 2001 when the company launched a GSM cellular phone service in the Caribbean. Digicel has extended its operations to 32 markets with over 13 million subscribers in the Caribbean, Central America and Pacific regions.
He is one of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs with extensive investments across several sectors including international telecoms, radio, media, property, aircraft leasing, golf and other leisure interests. He also founded Communicorp Group which owns and manages a portfolio of media and broadcasting-related companies in Ireland and eight other European countries.
Denis founded the Esat Telecom Group plc and built it throughout the 1990’s until its sale to British Telecom plc for €2.4 billion.
Outside of his extensive business interests, he chaired the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland. It was the first time the Summer Games were staged outside the US with teams from 160 countries and over 30,000 volunteers. The 2003 Summer Games were the most successful in the history of the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Denis is Chairman of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Judging Panel, having previously been a recipient of the award. He serves as a Director on the US Board of Concern Worldwide.
In addition, he is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Frontline, the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Based in Dublin, Frontline is working to ensure that the standards set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 1998, are known, respected and adhered to worldwide. Frontline’s work consists of research, advocacy, communications/technical assistance and emergency evacuation of human rights activists.
In 2000, Denis established The Iris O’Brien Foundation to identify and assist projects in Ireland and internationally which aim to alleviate disadvantaged communities.
In 2010, he was named Goodwill Ambassador for the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti by the Mayor of Port-au-Prince in recognition of his efforts to rebuild Haiti and attract foreign direct investment in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake on January 12th. Digicel is the single largest private investor in Haiti.
He has also been appointed to the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
Denis holds a BA degree from University College Dublin and an MBA from Boston College.
Leslie Buckley is one of Ireland's most successful business consultants having helped manage the start-up of Esat Telecom Group plc and Esat Digifone Limited. He held the position of Chief Operations Officer of Esat Telecom in 1996 and 1997.
Leslie established his own consultancy business in 1990 and has since been retained on key public and private sector projects, including the reconstruction of Waterford Crystal plc, the reconstruction and sale of Irish Steel plc, consulting work with Irish Rail and the restructuring of Aer Lingus, Ireland's national airline.
Leslie is currently the Executive Chairman of Saon Group, one of the fastest growing online recruitment companies in the world, Vice Chairman of Digicel and a director and shareholder of a number of other Irish companies.
In January 2009, Leslie established Haven, a charitable foundation dedicated to building and up-grading houses for the poorest of the poor, initially in Haiti, though long-term partnership programmes with Communities and an annual Volunteer based “Build-It-Week”.
In March 2009, Leslie was appointed to the Board of IM&M as part of the company’s corporate restructure. In May of the same year, Leslie joined the Board of Aer Lingus.
Lucy Gaffney has been involved in a variety of successful businesses in Ireland since 1985. Lucy’s involvement with Esat Telecom spanned six years from her role as Managing Director of the Ideas Company - where she was an advisor to Esat Digifone in its successful bid and subsequent launch as Ireland's second GSM mobile phone operator - to a number of senior positions within the company itself, including Chief Operations Officer, Director of Marketing and Managing Director of Esat Clear, Esat's residential division.
From March 2005 to December 2008, Ms Gaffney held the position of Chairperson of the National Action Plan against Racism in Ireland (NAPR). Lucy has previously held directorships in Special Olympics, First Active Plc, Ulster Bank Limited, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Campus Stadium Ireland.
Lucy was appointed to the Board of Independent News & Media plc as a Non-Executive Director in March 2009. Lucy is a graduate of the College of Marketing and Design, Dublin.
Colm joined Digicel in May 2004 in the role of Group Chief Financial Officer before taking up his current role as Group Chief Executive Officer in June 2005.
When he joined the company, Digicel was active in eight markets in the Caribbean having launched its first operation in Jamaica in 2001. Since then, Colm has overseen a fourfold increase in the number of markets Digicel serves and has been instrumental in taking the Digicel brand of best value, best service and best network mobile communications across the Caribbean and Central America. With the addition of six markets in the Pacific to the portfolio, Digicel Group now spans 32 markets worldwide and is proud to serve 13 million customers worldwide.
Prior to his role in Digicel, Colm provided consultancy services to a number of companies, including O’Brien Cellular Ltd., owned by Denis O’Brien. From September 1993 to October 2003, Colm held the position of Chief Financial Officer of Hibernia Foods plc, a Nasdaq-quoted company in the food manufacturing industry.
PJ is the Chairman of Mara & Associates, a firm that he founded in 1992 and which acts as advisors in the areas of financial planning, public relations and public affairs to financial institutions, public companies and transnational corporations. Also in 1992, he was appointed Media Relations Adviser to Guinness Peat Aviation, the Irish-based aircraft leasing group. Since then, PJ has been an advisor to a large number of Irish and UK PLCs, as well as many transnational corporations.
PJ is one of Ireland’s most highly respected political advisors. In 1983 - following a brief period as a Member of the Irish Senate - he was appointed Press Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition, Fianna Fáil, in the Irish Parliament and continued in this role until 1987, when he became Press Secretary to the Prime Minister and Government of Ireland. He ran Fianna Fáil's national election campaigns in 1997, 2002 and 2007 - all of which proved successful for the party.
PJ served on the board of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games, which took almost four years to organise and was the first such Games to take place outside of the USA in its 36-year history. It was also the world's largest sporting event for 2003, featuring 7,000 athletes from more than 150 countries, participating in 21 sports. PJ is also a board member of UNICEF in Ireland.
Between 2003 and 2008, PJ Mara acted as an Advisor to the Prime Minister and Government of Croatia.
Greg Sparks is a founding partner of FGS - a firm of business advisors and consultants with offices in Dublin and Belfast. Greg has over 20 years of professional experience in accountancy and corporate finance. His areas of expertise include corporate finance, programme planning and implementation and change management.
Greg has advised a number of clients in negotiations with banks, including developing and agreeing revised financial structures to enable companies to grow and prosper.
As well as his involvement in FGS and his role within their corporate finance department, he also holds a number of Board positions including The Irish Times and Digicel. He also represents the Eircom Esot’s 35% shareholding on the Board of Eircom.
Seamus joined Digicel as CEO in May 2000 when the company was awarded its first licence in Jamaica. Following Digicel Jamaica’s highly successful launch which saw the company become market leader within the first year of operation, Seamus went on to become the Group’s first CEO in 2003 as the company rapidly expanded across the Caribbean.
In 2005, Seamus was appointed to the Board of Directors as Non Executive Director. In this role, Seamus acts in an advisory capacity to new markets as the company expands into Central America and the Pacific.
Seamus joined Digicel with ten years experience in the telecoms sector, having joined Telecom Eireann (now Eircom) in 1991 in the New Enterprise department to identify new business opportunities for the company.
In 1993, Seamus was then transferred to Eircell (Eircom’s mobile arm) as GSM Sales Development Manager. He later joined Esat Telecom as Bid Director to assist with the successful acquisition of the GSM license, before transferring to project management where he helped set up East Digifone and was subsequently promoted to National Sales Manager.
Seamus has a Bachelor of Commerce from University College Dublin and an MBS in International Marketing.
|Sir Julian Horn-Smith
Sir Julian Horn-Smith, aged 61, was one of the founding members of Vodafone Group Plc and is considered to be one of the principal architects in the development of Vodafone’s International Strategy. He retired from the Vodafone Board in July 2006, where he held the title Deputy Chief Executive Officer.
Sir Julian is a Senior Advisor to UBS Investment Bank in London, Senior Advisor to CVC (Telecoms and Media) and holds a number of other directorships, including Lloyds Banking Group (Non-Executive Director), Martin Dawes Systems Limited (IT Systems), De La Rue plc and EMobile in Japan.
Sean Corkery is Chairman and CEO of SiteServ, a leading infrastructure and utility support services company operating in Ireland and the UK across a range of industries. With over 2,600 employees across its five subsidiary companies, SiteServ companies have been involved in some of the UK and Ireland’s largest and most complex infrastructure construction projects.
Sean is an IT and telecoms veteran with more than 32 years of experience in the industry. Before joining SiteServ, he held numerous senior positions including Chief Operations Officer at Esat Telecom from 1997 to 2000, Vice President of Global Operations at AST Computer based in California, Texas and Limerick from 1993 to 1997, and, from 1981 to 1993, he was director of Pacific Region Operations at Apple. From 2000 to 2013, Sean held the position of Vice President, Global Supply Chain Operations for Dell Inc.
Between 1997 and 2000, Sean was appointed to the Information Society Commission of Ireland, an independent advisory body to the Government, reporting directly to the Taoiseach (Prime Minister). The Commission draws on representation from the business community, social partners and Government itself in shaping the evolving public policy framework for the Information Society in Ireland.
Sean was a Director of Seabrook Research from 1997 to 2004 and is currently a Director of Nualtra, an Irish-owned company which specialises in the delivery of food for special medical purposes to assist in the clinical treatment of malnutrition.
Sean qualified from University College Cork with a BS in Economics.
Some twenty-three companies, with a combined asset base of US$116 million and an annual turnover of approximately US$85 million, report to Mr. Williams. These businesses include Farming, Manufacturing, Property Development, Warehousing, Equipment Rental, Electrical Engineering, Electrical Contracting, Yacht Charter, Well Drilling, Water Desalination,Garbage Recycling and Solar Power– some of these in joint ventures with other companies. Born in Barbados in July 1942, “Bizzy” as he is affectionately known, holds a Honours degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of the West Indies.
His ability to expand and control such a range of companies has gained him the 2000 Ernst & Young Caribbean Entrepreneur of the Year Award and in 2001, the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Multiple Business Creation, which he won in Monte Carlo from participants drawn from a total of 19 countries. An avid sailor, Mr. Williams launched Tiami (his acronym for This Is A Moving Investment) Catamaran Cruises in Barbados – a concept that spawned a multi-million dollar business in Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Kitts, employing over 150 people and providing tours each day for hundreds of visitors to the islands – one of the enduring examples of his creativity and business acumen. Williams Industries Inc. is owned by 368 Barbadians and St.Lucians who are members of the Williams Industries Inc. team.
The company has as its main objective, the development of a business concept which amounts to a long-term plan that gradually transfers ownership from the original founders to the long-serving people who have worked to build the company. This is an excellent illustration of concerting the providers of labour to owners of capital. Williams Industries Inc. perceives itself as a 50:50 joint venture between capital and labour. The company also has a policy of seeking out partners in business who have technology that the company does not but who need Williams Industries Inc.’s local knowledge and ability to get things done in Barbados to make joint ventures successful.
Mr. Simpson is regarded as one of the most outstanding Caribbean entrepreneurs of his time. His company, the Simpson Motors Group, is the leading automotive and commercial dealership in Barbados. The company represents Mercedes Benz, Suzuki, Isuzu, Skoda, Chrysler, Daewoo, Opel, General Motors and Porsche, as well as JCB, Bobcat, Ingersoll Rand and Toyota Forklifts. Simpson Motors has been the market leader in automotive sales for over two decades and maintains a high level of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Mr. Simpson’s business interests span the entire Caribbean region and parts of South and Latin America.