Former Intel chief volunteers for role on State boards

Mon, Jun 4, 2012, 01:00

FORMER INTEL chief executive Craig Barrett has joined the list of international executives offering to sit on Irish State boards free of charge.

Mr Barrett was at the helm of Intel when it first invested in Ireland in 1989, employing thousands in one of the world’s best-known technology companies.

Announcing his decision, he said: “Ireland’s rebound in the world’s economy will be driven by smart people and smart ideas.

“The environment to successfully bring these two things together extends well beyond Irish soil and we must integrate the best of Irish innovation from around the world. There is an immense resource available and Ireland would be foolish not to take advantage of every ounce of it.”

Mr Barrett’s decision was announced as the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) in California said it will continue to recruit business people from around the world who want to help Ireland’s economy.

Originally titled Diaspora 2016, the project has been rebranded Volunteer 2016. The rebranding comes following criticism of the venture by Institute of Directors chief executive Maura Quinn and a refusal by the Government to commit to hiring Diaspora 2016 members. Ms Quinn said it would not be feasible to have international business people sitting on boards in Ireland. She rejected the idea of selecting people based on their links to one group, saying board members should be selected according to their ability.

Her comments were criticised by some who had already put their names forward, particularly by former San José mayor Tom McEnery, who called Ms Quinn’s remarks “self-serving”.

John Hartnett, the founder of the ITLG, said he has spoken with the Government and both sides are working together to make it easier for the Irish abroad to get involved in the country’s recovery.

He added: “They did make a change last year in that they will publicise the availability of board positions and make the process more transparent. That was a good step but how does someone in California or Australia find out about this or make an impact?”

He said he has suggested to the Government setting a target for how many Volunteer 2016 executives will make up State boards.

“We believe 25 per cent should be from outside of Ireland. There are 120 State boards in Ireland and obviously, we wouldn’t be in a position to help with most of them. The ones we want to focus on would be Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, and the Science Foundation of Ireland. Those are the boards our members could have the greatest impact upon.”