Davy’s review; a new forestry venture; the loneliness of chief executives

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Davy has  promised it will take “appropriate action” at the end of its review.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Davy has promised it will take “appropriate action” at the end of its review. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins


The board of stockbroking firm Davy is expected to examine whether other cases of wrongdoing occurred at the brokerage, as it starts a review of Central Bank findings that it had breached market rules on conflicts of interest. Joe Brennan reports that Davy has also promised it will take “appropriate action” at the end of the review.

Along with Jack Horgan-Jones, Joe also reports that the review will be led by Davy’s four non-executive directors, while the Oireachtas finance committee is separately to ask Davy for an explanation of the events that led to it being hit with the €4.1 million fine.

The O’Kane family, who sold contractors Mercury Engineering for almost €150 million, are among the backers of a new forestry venture seeking to buy harvesting rights from private plantation owners. Barry O’Halloran has the details on the move.

Denis Staunton reports on UK chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget, presented on Wednesday, which included a hike in the corporation tax rate to 25 per cent for larger companies. Analysing the policy package, Denis describes it as “politically adroit”.

Belfast-based We Are Paradoxx, a sustainable plastics-free Irish haircare brand, has raised £3 million (€3.5 million) from backers including Tom Singh, the founder of fashion chain, New Look. Charlie Taylor reports.

Charlie also covers news that applications for the first national start-up accelerator run by the new operators of the NDRC have opened. Successful applicants will receive a €100,000 “founder friendly” investment and coaching from well-known entrepreneurs.

Microsoft has unveiled a new digital skills training programme aimed at supporting 10,000 people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, writes Ciara O’Brien. StepIn2Tech aims to equip people with the digital skills needed for high-demand jobs in the tech sector.

Being chief executive can be lonely, says Chris Horn, and he would know. Our Innovation Talks columnist offers some tips on how to navigate board politics as a start-up boss, which he notes involves being “observed for what you do and don’t do”.

Karlin Lillington enters the realm of science fiction in her Net Results column this week, reflecting on the novels of Ursula K Le Guin. Karlin notes that many tech fictions of the past have made it into the real present, but is surprised to note that one of today’s biggest innovations never featured in Le Guin’s 1970s works.

At more than €600, Apple AirPods Max are the most expensive pair of headphones that Apple produces, but Ciara O’Brien acknowledges that price isn’t always a barrier for Apple customers. She has tried out the new AirPods and is impressed.

And still in technology, Nicole Sperling takes a look at Amazon’s move into the film industry mainstream, examining how Prime Video is transforming itself into a home for commercial films with broad appeal.

Finally, back in Innovation, Olive Keogh speaks to Mitchell O’Gorman, chief executive of xWave, a specialised tech company that was born out of frustration with existing systems. The business used AI and cloud technology find a way to transform existing referral systems in radiology.

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