Clerys closure profile: the investor, Deirdre Foley

D2 co-founder trained as an accountant, beginning her career with KPMG in 1992

D2 co-founder Deirdre Foley. Financier won praise from Derek Quinlan at Quinlan Private.

D2 co-founder Deirdre Foley. Financier won praise from Derek Quinlan at Quinlan Private.

 

From a farming family in Co Sligo, Deirdre Foley (43) began her career with KPMG in 1992, where she trained as an accountant.

After KPMG, she spent a year with GE Capital before joining Quinlan Private, the investment vehicle of financier Derek Quinlan.

While she “very much bought into the vision that Derek had”, as she told The Irish Times in 2008, and was reportedly described by Mr Quinlan as the “brightest financier he had ever come across”, Foley was keen to go out on her own.

So, after six years, she left in 2005 to set up D2 Private with property developer David Arnold, who was behind developments such as Central Park in Leopardstown, south Dublin.

The pair quickly set about building up a portfolio of property, mainly in London, including high-profile properties such as an M&S building in Paddington called Waterside House and the £325 million Woolgate Exchange, occupied by West LB. By 2008, D2 Private had a portfolio of €1.8 billion, and was said to have achieved the highest global rent when it rented a property at St James’s Square for £140 per square foot. At the time, Foley said that the company was “very successful in terms of profitability”.

D2’s investors included former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick and former attorney general Dermot Gleeson, and at one point it was rumoured that the company would IPO a £1 billion property fund, with plans to grow its portfolio to £5 billion.

However, the crash hit the business, and D2 Private began selling off many of its properties, some in partnership with Nama. In 2011, a company associated with D2 Private, D2 Property Management, was placed into receivership by Bank of Scotland, which was owed €11.8 million.

Known as a formidable negotiator and not someone who gives up easily, the media-shy Foley’s partnership with Mr Arnold dissolved around 2013 and Foley now owns 100 per cent of D2 Private.