Death of former chairman of Iona Technology

Kevin Melia best known for his work in the IT sector over a number of years

Wicklow-born businessman and technology executive Kevin Melia died on Tuesday in the United States after a short illness, aged 67.

Mr Melia was best known for his work in the IT sector over a number of years, including hardware manufacturing and distribution and software development, as a corporate executive, an entrepreneur and as a non-executive director in listed companies.

In Ireland, he is probably better known for his roles as chairman (twice) and non-executive director with Iona Technologies. He became chairman of Iona in 1997, the year it went public in New York. It was the fifth largest IPO on Nasdaq with a valuation of $250 million. He was also chair in 2008 when the company was sold for $162 million.

"He was my personal coach and mentor as chairman," Iona's co-founder Chris Horn told The Irish Times yesterday. "He guided me a lot as a first-time CEO and was a great help to me personally when growing Iona. I benefitted hugely from his wisdom and great experience. It's very sad to lose such a young man."


Mr Melia was also a non-executive director of Irish listed company DCC, having joined the board in December 2008. In an announcement to the stock market on Wednesday, DCC's chairman Michael Buckley said the group had benefited from Mr Melia's "considerable corporate and entrepreneurial expertise".

Mr Melia was born in Ashford, Co Wicklow as one of 11 children to the late Richard and Mary Melia. He spent many years working in the US and settled in Boston with his wife Ann Marie Lally. They had four children.

Mr Melia enjoyed a long and successful business career, including roles as a non-executive chairman of Vette Corp co-founder, chairman and chief executive of Manufacturers Services Ltd.

His other positions included time as chief financial officer and executive vice president of operations with Sun Microsystems, and president of its computer hardware division.

He was also a former joint managing director of Boulder Brook Partners, a private investment company. Mr Melia also held senior management positions at Digital Equipment Corporation, and was a non-executive director of Dublin-based stockbroker Merrion Capital.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times