Former Smurfit boss Ray Curran dies

He once held one of the biggest jobs in the Irish business world

The death has taken place of businessman Ray Curran, who was a senior figure with the Smurfit group for more than 20 years and was more recently involved with Merrion Capital and Marketspreads.

Mr Curran (67) had a successful career with Smurfit, which he joined in 1981 to rise rapidly within its ranks. He was appointed chief executive of Smurfit Paribas in 1988 and chief financial officer of the group in 1992. This was at the time one of the biggest jobs in the Irish business world.

In 1996, he was made an executive director of Jefferson Smurfit Group.

When, in 1998, Smurfit merged with its one-time rival in the US, Stone Container Corporation, to form the Smurfit Stone group, Mr Curran moved to Chicago where he became chief executive. He remained there until 2002, when he stepped down, reportedly with a substantial pay-off and ongoing consultancy fee.

Merrion Capital

Upon his return to Dublin, Mr Curran took up a number of non-executive positions and pursued a number of investments. He was chairman of Merrion Capital and played a central role in the sale of that business to Iceland’s Landsbanki in 2005.

When the business was subsequently bought back by management, Mr Curran exited with a number of other shareholders, with a shareholding in Worldspreads, the Irish arm of which became Marketspreads, being part of the consideration.

Difficulties that had their origins in the workings of this business prior to Mr Curran's involvement led to the Central Bank stepping in to take its licence away, a move which Mr Curran, as chairman, fought successfully, managing to secure the licence's return.

Shelbourne Markets
The business was subsequently rebranded as Shelbourne Markets. Mr Curran's son, Enrique, is chief executive of Shelbourne.

Mr Curran died on Friday after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Marisa, his son Enrique, his daughter Ruth, grandchildren and extended family.