Taoiseach opens Global Irish Economic Forum

Taoiseach Enda Kenny this morning opened the Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle, welcoming 300 delegates from more than 37 countries. “We are glad you are here for this crucially important event,” he said. “We want to hear your ideas on how together we can grow Ireland.” Kenny said that in the history of Ireland, there has “never been such an unprecedented challenge nor such an extraordinary opportunity”. He talked about some of the priorities of the Government in its mandate to “face up to and tackle the country’s problems and to get Ireland working again”. These include restoring Ireland’s place as a respected and influential member of the…

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The Nobel Medal for Physics

The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011 has been awarded to three US-born scientists whose observations of distant exploding stars have led to the discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said today that one half of the prize would go to Saul Perlmutter of The Supernova Cosmology Project in the University of California, while the other half is being awarded to Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess, both of the High-z Supernova Search Team. The two teams will share the SEK10m (€1.09m) prize money. Perlmutter began his project in 1988, while in 1994 Schmidt started the other team, in which Riess was…

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John Hartnett, president and founder, ITLG

The Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) has revealed the names of 10 more business leaders who have signed up to its Diaspora 2016 initiative, which was announced at last week’s Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin. Under the scheme, the ITLG is creating a pool of global industry leaders who are volunteering to sit on relevant Irish State boards until 2016, without remuneration. According to the ITLG, the initiative’s objective is to provide the Government with a list of 100 highly qualified business leaders who want to contribute their experience and time to help Ireland succeed and thrive. “We have received an overwhelming response to the initiative from diaspora across…

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Henry Tirri

Henry Tirri has been appointed to take over from Richard Green as chief technology officer at Nokia. In June, Green took a leave of absence from the company. At the time, he was reported to have been unhappy with management decisions and to have disagreed with Nokia president and CEO Stephen Elop’s smartphone strategy. In a statement today, Nokia said Green, who was appointed CTO in May 2010 and had been a member of the Nokia leadership team since February of this year, had decided to leave the company. The Finnish mobile phone company said he will be returning full time to the US “to pursue new opportunities”. Tirri, meanwhile,…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Independent TD Mick Wallace has apologised for derogatory comments he made in the Dáil about Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor, while she just wants the issue to be forgotten. Speaking on RTE’s John Murray Show this morning, Wallace said he was out of order for referring to the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown TD as “Miss Piggy”. The comments were caught on microphone and released to the public this morning. During the audio recording, Wallace can be heard calling Mitchell O’Connor, “Miss Piggy”, during a conversation with fellow Independent TDs Shane Ross and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan. Wallace exonerated the other two TDs, stating they had “nothing to do with it”. On this…

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European Investment Bank

The Minister for Finance has said the next chief of AIB may be paid more than €500,000, reports the Irish Times this morning. Although he said it is unlikely, Michael Noonan has not completely ruled out the possibility that the bank may be allowed to exceed its salary cap of €500,000 as it is having difficulties appointing its next chief executive. “As has been stated publicly by the Taoiseach, a compelling case would have to be made for the Government to consider setting aside this cap taking account of the recent decision on the pay ceilings for CEOs of semi-States and senior public sector posts,” Noonan said in response to…

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A passionate European: An Interview with Secretary-General of the EC, Catherine Day

As secretary-general of the European Commission, Catherine Day is the European Union’s most senior civil servant, the first woman to hold this role. On a recent trip to Dublin, she spoke to Ann O’Dea about the challenges and rewards of the job Dubliner Catherine Day joined the European Commission back in 1979 and steadily rose up through the ranks to reach her position today as secretary-general of the Commission, the most senior official in the European Union, and the first woman to hold this role. “That means I have lived longer in Brussels than I have in Dublin, but once a Dubliner always a Dubliner,” she laughs. A passionate European,…

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Pioneering researcher Luke O'Neill on Ireland's life sciences sector transformation

One of the world’s foremost authorities in the  innate immune system, Prof Luke O’Neill has seen a remarkable transformation in Ireland’s life sciences sector over the past 20 years, as he tells Ann O’Dea. From relatively humble beginnings, the life sciences sector today accounts for some 50pc of all exports from Ireland, a figure that has been growing by some 6pc every year since 2000. Life sciences employs in excess of 52,000 people here. One of Ireland’s leading thinkers, Luke O’Neill, professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, has participated in, and watched, the transformation in the sector since the late Nineties. O’Neill has won numerous awards for his pioneering…

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Lawton

According to Professor Thomas Lawton, the key speaker at last night’s InterTradeIreland 2011 Innovation Lecture, business leaders and entrepreneurs who want to achieve double-digit growth must put together an integrated strategic toolkit to design, develop and deliver a strategy to breakout beyond average economic performance. “Having a joined-up approach to strategy, regardless of the company size or industry sector, is what differentiates breakout companies from the average,” said Lawton, who is a professor at Emlyon Business School in France. “It also requires business leaders to be innovative in their capacity to rapidly and pre-emptively adopt or adapt in markets or industries.” He added, “This results in the creation of a…

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Gender divide

While research continues to demonstrate that boards with greater female representation outperform those without, women are still failing to make it to the boardroom in significant numbers. The Davos World Economic Forum made headlines in January when it announced it would require its strategic partner members, some of the largest corporations in the world, to ensure that a minimum of one in their cohort of five be a woman. The imposition of such a ‘quota’ is a reflection of the dearth of women at the head of major corporations. Internationally, women are still not making it in great enough numbers to the boardroom. In the US in 2010, representation of…

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