Anne Heraty wins Irish Times Business Person of the Year

Entrepreneur sold CPL Resources to Japanese group Outsourcing for €318m

Ciarán Hancock, The Irish Times Business editor and Oliver Wall, chief of staff and head of corporate affairs at Bank of Ireland, present the award for The Irish Times Business Person of the Year 2021 to Anne Heraty, co-founder and former chief executive of CPL Resources. Photograph: Conor McCabe.

Irish entrepreneur Anne Heraty has been chosen as the Irish Times Business Person of the Year for 2021, an award run in association with Bank of Ireland.

In the period under review, Ms Heraty sold CPL Resources to Japanese group Outsourcing for almost €318 million in an all-cash deal. Ms Heraty co-founded the Irish-listed recruitment company more than 30 years ago, floating it on the stock market in 1999.

At the time of the announcement, the offer price represented a 50.6 per cent premium to CPL’s share price over the previous 30 days.

For CPL, the deal offered the chance to be part of a wider, better-resourced global recruitment group.



A native of Co Longford, Ms Heraty set up CPL in October 1989 at age 29 and became the first female chief executive of an Irish publicly-quoted company a decade later when she floated the business. She left CPL late last year after its transition to new ownership.

Ms Heraty was chosen as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006, later chairing the judging panel for the awards. Among other roles, she is a former president of employers group Ibec, and is a non-executive board member of Irish insulation group Kingspan.

Also last year, Ms Heraty benefited from the sale of the Trinity Care nursing and care homes group in which she was a major shareholder.

Ms Heraty thanked the judging panel for choosing her as the award winner and said she was accepting it “on behalf of the team in CPL”.

“They are a phenomenal team and I was really fortunate to work with them. It’s been a terrific journey and I’m grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve had to work with great customers and great people.”

Ms Heraty said the opportunity for CPL to expand globally was central to her thinking on the sale to Outsourcing. “We felt there was a big opportunity to serve clients in different geographies. Outsourcing is in 134 locations and already we have worked for clients in Indonesia, and in Vietnam . . . it’s really opened up whole new opportunities for the company. CPL is in safe hands with a massive opportunity to grow.”


This was Bank of Ireland’s first year as sponsor of the awards. “The Irish business community showed exceptional resolve in dealing with the challenges of the past couple of years, and Bank of Ireland now looks forward to working with you to help achieve your ambitions for the future,” it said.

The awards night was delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions and marked the first time since 2019 that it was held as an in-person event.

Irish Times group managing director Paul Mulvaney said: “The challenges of Covid over the past two years delayed our 2021 celebration, but we are delighted to finally be here tonight to honour our deserving nominees.”

He also thanked Bank of Ireland for its “investment and commitment” to the awards during last year.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times