Liam Kavanagh was appointed Managing Director of The Irish Times in March 2010 and is responsible for the strategic growth and development of the group which includes the newspaper and other print and digital assets. He joined the Irish Times in 2000 as Chief Financial Officer and was appointed to the Board in 2001 as Finance Director and Company Secretary before being appointed Deputy Managing Director in 2006. Prior to joining The Irish Times, Liam worked with KPMG and the Jefferson Smurfit Group as Finance Director for Smurfit Ireland. Liam also serves on the Council of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
Thomas Hunter McGowan
CEO, InterTradeIreland, The Trade and Business Development Body.
Thomas Hunter McGowan has recently been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of InterTradeIreland by the North South Ministerial Council.
A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, Thomas’s previous role was as Director of Finance at Kildare County Council. Prior to that, he spent 18 years at Swansea Cork Ferries Ltd as Managing Director. He was a board member of the Cork Chamber of Commerce and served for two terms on the board of Chambers Ireland.
Thomas is a graduate of University College Dublin and of University College Cork, and is a Chartered Company Secretary. He took up his post at the end of July and is based at the InterTradeIreland offices in Newry.
Ivan Coulter, PhD, MBA
Chief Executive Officer and Founder Sigmoid
Prior to founding Sigmoid, Ivan set up, developed and managed the drug formulation and diagnostics groups at NTera, a nanotechnology-focused company. Ivan has an honours degree and PhD in Pharmacology from University College Dublin, held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Institut Curie, Paris and, awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, completed an MBA at Cornell University, New York. While at Cornell, Ivan consulted to Nautilus Biotech SA, advising on its successful Series A fund raising. In addition, while completing his PhD, Ivan was awarded a Diploma in Accounting and Finance by the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants (ACCA). Ivan was appointed to the board of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, headed the Seafood Innovation Council and chairs the Nutramara scientific council.
David Dobbin CBE
Group Chief Executive, United Dairy Farmers
Dr David Dobbin CBE has extensive international business experience in the food and drink and packaging sectors and is currently Group Chief Executive of United Dairy Farmers, a leading dairy business based in Northern Ireland. He is actively involved in promoting regional economic development and is Chairman of Strategic Investment Board for Northern Ireland and serves on the boards of Invest Northern Ireland and the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. A passionate rugby enthusiast, Dr Dobbin is Chairman of Ulster Rugby. He has previously held a number of public and industry appointments including as Chairman of InterTradeIreland, Chairman of CBI Northern Ireland and Chairman of the Prince’s Trust in Northern Ireland. A First Class Honours Graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University Belfast, Dr. Dobbin has completed post‑graduate business courses at the London and Harvard Business Schools and is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors. In addition to receiving the CBE for his service to the agrifood and packaging industries, Dr Dobbin was awarded the IOD Lunn’s Award for Excellence in 2008, an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast in 2005 for his services to the economy and an honorary Chinese citizenship in 1998 by the city of Kunshan in recognition of his service to economic development in China.
Helen is currently a non executive director with UTV Media plc (appointed 2007, Chair of the Audit Committee), a non executive director of Kingspan Group plc (appointed 2007, Chair of the Audit Committee) and Corporate Finance Executive (Access to Capital Initiatives) with Invest Northern Ireland.
Her previous experience includes:
- Board member, International Fund for Ireland (2000-2006)
- Director, Enterprise Equity Venture Capital Group (2000-2006)
- Director, NI-CO (Northern Ireland Public Sector Enterprises Ltd) (2000-2006) – selling public sector consultancy overseas
- Chairman and Director, Crumlin Together Limited (2006-2012) – voluntary, social and economic regeneration
- Chairman and Director, CAUSE (NI) Ltd (2004 -2007) – voluntary, carers of people with mental illness
Helen has a B.A. (Hons) Business Studies, University of Ulster, she is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Dr Christopher J Horn
BA BAI PhD DSc CEng FIEI Chartered Engineer. Co-founder, CEO, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of IONA Technologies, established in 1991. He was the initial developer of Orbix® and held the joint offices of IONA’s president, chief executive officer and chairman from IONA’s inception until May 2000.
Dr Horn was an electronic engineering graduate in 1978 and received his PhD in Computer Science in 1983. From 1984 until 1994, he was a lecturer in the Computer Science Department at TCD, where he was involved in many pan-European IT research projects. He also worked in Brussels for the European Commission, and was an integral part of the ten-year “Esprit” program designed to improve Europe’s technology industry.Dr Horn is a former member of the Board of TCD and has been a non-executive director of a number of privately held software companies and business associations and advisor to a number of venture capital firms. He is a former Director of Science Foundation Ireland, a former chair of the “Expert Group on Future Skills”, a former chairman of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce eCity working group and a former chairman of the Irish Management Institute. Dr Horn regularly contributes to debate on Ireland’s high-tech industry, and was a member of the ICT working group at IBEC and was the founding chairman of the Ireland China Association. Dr Horn was also chairman of UNICEF Ireland until 2009. He currently serves as chairman of Cloudsmith (a cloud computing company); of Gridstore (a grid storage company); China Crest (a Beijing based consultancy firm); CTVR (an SFI and IDA co-funded CSET); and the Science Gallery (an outreach initiative). In 2001 he received an honorary Doctor of Science from TCD, became a Fellow of Engineers Ireland and received the RDS Gold Medal for Industry.
Seán Coughlan is Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, a not-for-profit organisation established to grow the impact of Ireland’s highest potential social entrepreneurs.
Seán previous experience includes that of product manager, entrepreneur, teacher and researcher having spent time working in Ireland, Portugal and Turkey.
Seán is also the Chairperson of The Wheel, the co-ordinating body for the community and voluntary sector in Ireland, is a Director of the European Venture Philanthropy Association, is a member of both the Advisory Group of the Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship and the Leonardo Group of the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin. He also served on the board of management of Glasnevin Educate Together National School.
Seán holds a degree in Theoretical Physics, is a winner of the Captain Cathal Ryan Scholarship for Social Entrepreneurship and the Dublin City University Engagement Award and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.