Former Bank of Ireland executive John O’Beirne joins US fintech Square as Europe head

New role to oversee Dublin office with 300 employees

The former head of Bank of Ireland’s mortgage and business banking units, John O’Beirne, has joined US payments giant Square as executive director of its European operation in Dublin.

Mr O’Beirne succeeds Jason Lalor, who left Square’s EU unit, known as Squareup International, earlier this year to join UK-based fintech Conferma Pay.

Square, which was co-established in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey to allow SMEs accept card payments through smartphones or tablets, processed a record 70 million transactions globally over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend last month, which marked a 14 per cent increase on the year. The figure includes the group’s Afterpay buy now, pay later business.

Square changed the name of its parent company to Block in early 2022, around the time that fellow tech behemoth Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta.

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A spokeswoman for Square confirmed the appointment of Mr O’Brien to a role that puts him at the helm of a business with 300 employees in Dublin. Prior to handing in his notice at Bank of Ireland in June, Mr O’Beirne was the lender’s director of business banking and had been widely tipped internally as a future member of its group executive committee.

His almost 20 years with the bank also included roles such as director of products in its retail Ireland division, chief executive of its mortgage bank, and head of credit cards and retail loans.

“We have several projects under way already with the aim to provide growth opportunities for sellers of all sizes across all our European markets, which is critical in today’s trading environment,” said Mr O’Beirne.

“It’s a brilliant time to join the team, and I’m excited to work together to make Square the defining partner for businesses of all sizes in Ireland, the UK and across our European markets”.

Squareup International posted a net loss of €96 million last year on turnover of €45.2 million, with the shortfall fuelled by €38.5 million of sales and marketing, and support costs to wider group businesses outside the US, Canada and Japan, according to its most recent financial statement.

The expectation is that these services will generate income for the Dublin-based unit once activities in newer markets mature, it said.

Wages and benefits for the unit amounted to €28.2 million in 2022, equating to an average of €137,666 for its average number of 205 employees for the year. About a quarter of the total was made up by way of share awards.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times