Aer Lingus appoints Hartnett to board of directors

Move to strengthen ties with Silicon Valley

Following the resumption of flights between Dublin and San Francisco, Aer Lingus is looking to further strengthen its ties with Silicon Valley through the appointment of John Hartnett to its board of directors.

Mr Hartnett is the co-founder of the Irish Technology and Leadership Group, based in San José, California. He is one of three new appointees announced yesterday.

The other two are Paddy Power chairman Nigel Northridge and airport development veteran Nicholas Villen.

According to the Industrial Development Agency, Silicon Valley is responsible for 40 per cent of direct inward investment in Ireland. Until Aer Lingus' recent announcement there was no direct flight linking Ireland to any of the cities in or near Silicon Valley.


Mr Hartnett said: “The relationship between Ireland and the west coast of the United states is critically important for investment, jobs and tourism.

“The introduction of the new Aer Lingus route to San Francisco is a major boost to the technology sectors in both Silicon Valley and Ireland and I would encourage technology leaders to support this valuable connection.”

Mr Hartnett’s Irish Technology and Leadership Group promotes business links between Ireland and Silicon Valley. He served on secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s Northern Ireland working committee and is a member the Irish Government’s Global Irish Network advisory group and the Global Irish Economic Forum.

Nigel Northridge is from Belfast is non-executive chairman at Paddy Power where he has been on the board since 2003. He holds positions at Debenhams and auto retailer Inchcape.

Mr Villen is a former chief executive officer of Ferrovial Aeropuertos, the airport division responsible for Heathrow, Gatwick and Standsted airport, among others.

Leaving the Aer Lingus board are Danuta Gray and Thomas Moran.