Digicel Board

Denis O'Brien

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 11 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
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 a director/chairman and shareholder of a variety of companies, including Irishjobs.ie, Communicorp Group Limited, Radio 2000 Limited and Globetech Technical Services Limited. In addition, Leslie’s energy and management skills were recognized by the Irish Minister for Health who appointed Buckley to the Commission for Nursing in 1997.

Colm Delves
Colm, currently the Group Chief Executive Officer and Board Director, 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 11 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. 

Colm qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG Dublin and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Dublin City University and is based with his family in Kingston, Jamaica.

Lucy Gaffney
Lucy Gaffney’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.

In addition, Lucy joined the board of Ulster Bank Limited, whose parent company is the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, as a non-executive director in May 2004. She also currently serves as chairperson of Communicorp, which has radio operations in Ireland (Newstalk, Spin,98FM), Ukraine, Finland, Hungary, Estonia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. In March 2009, she was appointed to the Board of Independent News & Media plc as a Non-Executive Director.

She is a member of the new National Sports Campus Development Authority set up by the Irish Government and is Chair of the Steering Group of the Governments National Action Plan Against Racism.

She is a Board Director of Digicel Ltd, the fastest growing telecommunications operator in the Caribbean with operations in 26 countries in the Caribbean and Central America.

She served on the Tesco Ireland Board from 2000 to 2005 and was a Director of the 2003 World Special Olympic Games held in Ireland.
PJ Mara

PJ is the Chairman of Mara & Associates, a firm that he founded in 1992, which acts as advisors in the areas of financial planning, public relations and public affairs to financial institutions, public companies and trans-national corporations. Also in 1992, he was appointed Media Relations Adviser to Guinness Peat Aviation, the Irish-based aircraft leasing group.

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 and 2002, both 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.

Since 2003, PJ Mara has acted as an Advisor to the Prime Minister and Government of Croatia.

Greg Sparks

Greg Sparks is a founder partner of FGS - a firm of business advisors and consultants with offices in Dublin and Belfast. Greg has over 20 years' professional experience in accountancy and corporate finance. His areas of expertise include corporate finance, programme planning and implementation and change management.

Recent projects in which Greg has been involved include the restructuring negotiations at The Irish Times; advising the response to Irish government plans on liberalisation of the electricity industry; advising Aer Lingus on the selection of a strategic partner for the airline as well as restructuring negotiations.

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.

Seamus Lynch

Mr. Lynch joined Mossel in May 2000 as Chief Operating Officer for Jamaica, having worked in a consulting capacity over the previous months. A year after the successful launch of the company, Mr. Lynch was named Chief Executive Officer.

He continued his successful trend of making the Digicel brand, one to be reckoned with. In his new role as Group Chief Executive Officer, Seamus spear-headed successful lauches in six (6) other Caribbean Islands. After a four year long journey, Seamus has been appointed an official Digicel Board member. Mr. Lynch obtained a Bachelor of commerce from University College Dublin in 1989 and an MBS in International Marketing a year later. In 1991 Mr. Lynch joined Telecom Eireann (now Eircom) in their New Enterprise department identifying new businesses opportunities for the company. In 1993 he was transferred to Eircell (Eircom’s mobile arm) as GSM Sales Development Manager. He later joined Esat Telecom as Bid Director and within two years assisted in the successful acquisition of the GSM license. Mr. Lynch then transferred to project management, where he helped to set up East Digifone and not long after was promoted to National Sales Manager.

David Sykes

David Sykes, age 58 Non Executive Director, started his career in Allied Irish Banks and subsequently worked for 15 years with Trinity Bank Ltd. in Ireland.

In 1990, David joined Riada Stockbrokers and is currently an Associate of Dolmen Securities Ltd, an Irish-based independent stockbroking and investment management firm.

David manages the family office of our Chairman Denis O'Brien and is a Director of a number of other companies. He was appointed to the Board on 3 May 2006.

Sir Julian Horn-Smith

Sir Julian Horn-Smith, is the Chairman of The Sage Group plc and one of the founding members of The Vodafone Group Plc. Considered the principle architect in the development of Vodafone’s Global Strategy, Sir Julian joined Vodafone in 1984 as a Marketing Executive and was appointed to the Board in 1996, after becoming the Chief Operating Officer of the Group in 2001. Sir Julian was then appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer in January 2005, a post he held until his retirement in July 2006. Age 58, Sir Julian’s other Non-Executive directorships include: Lloyds TSB Group Plc, Smiths Group Plc and the Altimo Advisory Board.

Ralph Williams
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.

Kyffin Simpson

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.