Movers and shakers: Leadership changes at 10 of Ireland’s key businesses

Top 1000: Shuffling of desks at the top of major players in both the public and private sectors

The past year has seen plenty of upheaval across corporate Ireland in companies from banks to big tech groups. Here, we profile 10 of the most noteworthy moves.

Anne O’Leary

Former Vodafone Ireland chief executive Anne O’Leary took on the role of head of Meta Ireland in April, replacing Rick Kelley who had spent a year in the role.

O’Leary, who worked with Vodafone Ireland for 14 years before joining the social media company, is also continuing in her role as vice-president of Meta’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa and global business group.


She took up the role at a challenging time after the Facebook parent announced last year it would cut 11,000 jobs globally, with about 340 to go in Dublin.

A second round of cuts being implemented will see a further 10,000 people leave the company and 5,000 roles go unfilled. That will include 490 jobs in the Irish business – about 20 per cent of what was left after earlier cuts.

Kevin Bakhurst

Londoner Kevin Bakhurst was appointed director general of RTÉ in April. He is expected to take up the new position in July, replacing the outgoing Dee Forbes.

His appointment brought to an end a long-running saga after some members of the board of RTÉ were understood to be unhappy with aspects of the appointment process. A number of them questioned the exclusion of An Post chief executive and former TV3 Group boss David McRedmond but Bakhurst was eventually said to be the “unanimous choice” of the board.

Bakhurst served as managing director of RTÉ news and current affairs from 2012 until 2016 and was deputy director general of the broadcaster for the latter half of this period. He was also acting director general for six months.

The Government also appointed Siún Ní Raghallaigh as the new chairwoman of the RTÉ board following the retirement of Moya Doherty. Ní Raghallaigh previously chaired the board of Irish-language broadcaster TG4 and has also headed Ardmore Studios.

Michael Lohan

IDA Ireland appointed Michael Lohan as its new chief executive in March. He was previously the group’s global head of life sciences and talent transformation and innovation. The group’s interim chief executive, Mary Buckley, returned to her role as executive director.

Before joining IDA in 2003, Lohan worked in the private sector with the European operations of companies such as Nortel and IEC Electronics. He took up his role as head of global life sciences and talent and innovation in 2017, when he also joined the executive team.

Deirdre Veldon

The Irish Times announced the appointment of Deirdre Veldon as group managing director in November. She replaced Paul Mulvaney who was appointed to the role in September 2021.

Mulvaney had previously served as an executive with State-owned energy group ESB, where he was a member of the executive management team and executive director of customer delivery for ESB Networks.

Veldon has held several senior editorial roles at The Irish Times, most recently deputy editor, and has also been a member of The Irish Times DAC board since April 2017.

The group also announced the appointment of Shay Garvey to succeed Dan Flinter as chairman of The Irish Times DAC, while Ruadhán Mac Cormaic was named editor of The Irish Times, replacing Paul O’Neill.

Myles O’Grady

Bank of Ireland confirmed in November that Myles O’Grady, the group’s former chief financial officer (CFO), was to become its next chief executive, taking up the role on the €960,000-a-year package that the former head of the bank was paid.

The appointment came months after O’Grady left the bank in March to join Musgrave Group, the food wholesaler and retailer.

O’Grady was previously a top finance executive at AIB, and joined Bank of Ireland in June 2019 in a senior finance role. He was appointed CFO in October 2019 and a member of the board the following January.

SuperValu owner Musgrave named former Bank of Ireland and CRH executive Andrew Keating as CFO, replacing O’Grady. O’Grady himself had previously replaced Keating as CFO at the bank.

Outgoing Bank of Ireland chief executive Francesca McDonagh joined Credit Suisse as chief operating officer.

Kenny Jacobs

DAA, which manages Dublin and Cork airports, named Kenny Jacobs as its chief executive in November as the aviation sector continued to recover from the pandemic.

Jacobs, whose previous roles include chief marketing officer at Ryanair, took up his post in January for a seven-year term. He replaced Dalton Philips, who resigned the previous May. Finance chief Catherine Gubbins had been interim CEO since September.

Philips left the State airports company for sandwich maker Greencore. He replaced Patrick Coveney who departed as chief executive after 14 years in the role to take up the same role at airport caterer SSP.

Kevin Toland

Gas Networks Ireland appointed former DAA and Aryzta executive Kevin Toland as its new chairman in December.

Minister for Local Government Darragh O’Brien confirmed the appointment as part of the final legal separation of Gas Networks Ireland and Irish Water.

Toland has more than 30 years’ experience of senior management roles in sectors such as food and drink, aviation, consumer goods and nutrition.

He has held several senior executive roles in Irish and international corporations. He was chief executive of the Swiss Irish food Group Aryzta, which owns Cuisine de France, for three years up to late 2020.

Before that, he spent 4½ years, from 2013 until 2017, as chief executive of DAA and the international airport retail business ARI.

He is a non-executive director of the global fresh produce company Dole and is chairman of robotic inspection company Invert Robotics.

Vlad Kaltenieks

Irish bookmaker BoyleSports appointed former William Hill director Vlad Kaltenieks as chief executive just before Christmas.

Kaltenieks replaced Mark Kemp, who left the digital gambling and betting shop operator in July after just a year at the helm.

Kemp, who formerly held senior positions at the UK Tote Group and Entain, left to join global sports streaming platform DAZN, which is headed by former Entain chief executive Shay Segev.

BoyleSports, which is headquartered in Dundalk, is Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker.

Kaltenieks was formerly the global director of data, analytics and digital at William Hill. He has more than 10 years of senior management experience, mostly in the betting and gaming sector.

Vincent Crowley

Davy, the stockbroking and wealth management firm reacquired by Bank of Ireland last year, appointed former Independent New & Media (INM) chief executive Vincent Crowley as its new chairman in December.

Crowley succeeded John Corrigan, the one-time head of the National Treasury Management Agency, who joined Davy as chairman in 2015 and oversaw an executive overhaul and sale of the firm in the wake of a regulatory fine last year over a controversial 2014 bonds trade.

Crowley is an experienced boardroom operator who currently serves on as a non-executive director of DIY retailer and builders merchants company Grafton Group, cider maker C&C and Altas Investments, which has assets in the road and energy storage sectors.

He worked for INM for 24 years to 2014, latterly as chief executive of the group. The newspaper publishing group has since been taken over and renamed as Mediahuis.

Eric Born

Grafton Group, the parent of DIY company Woodie’s, announced the appointment of Eric Born as its new chief executive in October, replacing Gavin Slark.

Grafton said Born would bring “a wealth of international business experience” to the role, having worked for five years as chief executive of global aviation services provider Swissport International.

He also worked as chief executive of Wincanton, a provider of supply chain solutions in Britain and Ireland.

He was formerly president, west and south Europe, of Gategroup, the largest global airline catering provider, before which he held a variety of senior roles in the retail sector in Switzerland and the UK.