Move urged on securing executives' free services


THE HEAD of the Irish Technology Leadership Group in California has urged the Government to move quickly to secure the services of top business executives who have offered to serve on state boards without payment.

John Hartnett, founder of the ITLG, this week revealed the latest list of recruits who want to offer their services for the initiative, which was announced at last year’s Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle. The list includes executives from some of the world’s leading companies.

But Mr Hartnett said Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who was keen on the project when it was first suggested last year, had not yet been in contact to finalise details of the scheme.

“I would urge the Government to move quickly on this,” Mr Hartnett said.

“These are not people who are used to waiting around, and this is a great opportunity for the Irish Government to use the skills and knowledge that these guys bring to the table. It’s an opportunity that should not be missed.”

A Government spokeswoman said that, as stated in the progress report on the Global Irish Economic Forum published last month, the Government has appointed non-residents to vacancies on State boards, including members of the Global Irish Network, as appropriate and on a case-by-case basis.

“The Government will continue to consider the appointment of suitably qualified members of the diaspora to State boards,” the progress report states.

So far, 14 leading executives have put their names forward for the initiative, which was one of the outcomes of last year’s Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle.

All those on the list have Irish connections and say they are willing to take part because they want to help Ireland out of its economic difficulties.

Mr Hartnett said: “We have received an overwhelming response to the initiative from diaspora across the US, Europe, China and Japan.

“This is testament to the desire amongst the Irish abroad to support Ireland.

“The combined experience of the leaders that have joined to date could contribute huge expertise in areas like the commercialisation of research activities at third-level institutions, for example.”

The full list of executives who have so far put their names forward is: Conor Allen, global head of technology, NYSE Euronext, New York; Dennis Donohue, Mayor of Salinas, California; Harry Sweeney, founder, Paca Paca Farm, Japan; John Daly, Goldman Sachs Group, New York; John Ryan, founder of Macrovision, now Rovi; Kieran Hannon, vice-president, UBM Canon, Los Angeles, California; Liam Casey, founder and chief executive, PCH International, China; Martin Kelly, vice-president of worldwide information technology, Citrix Technology International; Paul Rellis, managing director, Microsoft Ireland; and Una Fox, vice-president of technology, Walt Disney Company, Los Angeles, California.

They join Hartnett with Tom McEnery, former mayor of San José, California; Rory McInerney, vice-president, Intel; and Barry O’Sullivan, senior vice-president, Cisco.