The Shannon Chamber CEO Forum, which was set up to engage business leaders in the decision making process for Shannon’s future, is already demonstrating the power of unified messaging.
This high-powered grouping, which so far has enlisted almost 40 leaders from a diverse range of business in the greater Shannon area, has presented its views on a range of issues to key decision makers in state agencies responsible for encouraging and attracting investment in and to Ireland.
The most recent meeting was held at Genworth Shannon’s new €15m business centre where 400 staff, representing 17 countries and 16 languages support the needs of over 3 million customers around the globe. The meeting preceded a Shannon Chamber lunch in Dromoland where IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan was keynote speaker. It gave Shannon CEOs the opportunity to engage directly with Mr Shanahan to air their views on how Ireland is attracting and retaining investment and how it needs to position itself to win new investment in a fiercely competitive global foreign direct investment environment.
Commenting on the meeting, Bob Brannock, president, International Protection, Genworth , a hugely influential voice in Shannon’s business landscape, said: “We were very pleased to host Shannon Chamber, IDA Ireland and so many of the area’s business leaders at Genworth’s international business centre in Shannon.
“Genworth, along with other organisations present at the meeting, have benefited from the first-class international transport and telecommunications links and pool of highly-skilled employees that Shannon provides. Continued growth in the region will need both inward investment and the commitment and investment from established businesses in Shannon. The meeting left me encouraged that businesses, working together towards a common good under Shannon Chamber and with bodies such as Shannon Group and IDA Ireland, have all the ingredients to encourage more investment into Shannon and grasp the opportunities that 2015 will bring.”
Presentations by Molex Shannon’s CEO, John O’Brien and Ei Electronics CEO, Mike Guinee pointed to the huge capability that still exists within Shannon and Ireland’s manufacturing sector. Both companies collectively employ in excess of 1,200 people at Shannon with plans to add to this cohort by year end.
Speaking after the meeting, Shannon Chamber’s chief executive Helen Downes said: “The CEO Forum meeting in Genworth was not only useful for updating IDA Ireland on what’s happening in Shannon but also other companies operating at Shannon Free Zone, who, while busily running their respective operations don’t get time to digest all that’s happening at Shannon or the diverseness of products and services emanating from over 100 international companies. As An Taoiseach said at our president’s lunch in November 2014, we need to continually project Shannon and Ireland’s capability, showcase the quality products being produced here and the vast customer base they are reaching. We also need to be investor ready; have the type of facility they require. At Shannon, this means ramping up the renewal of the Shannon Free Zone, which has already commenced.”
The Shannon CEO Forum’s membership currently comprises leaders of over 40 businesses. It is chaired by Chamber president Kevin Thompstone, founder of the Thompstone Group.
Martin Shanahan, chief executive, IDA Ireland (front right) with members of the Shannon Chamber CEO Forum, (from l-r): Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber; Bob Brannock, president, International Protection, Genworth; Kevin Thompstone, president, Shannon Chamber and chairman of the Chamber’s CEO Forum.
Back (l-r): Ger Flaherty, IDA; Aidan McMahon, Gentian; Eva O’Keeffe, Private Sky; Matt Thauberger, AMAX; Adrian Furey, Zimmer; Ray O’Driscoll, Shannon Commercial Properties; Werner Kunz, UCB; Conor Agnew, IDA; Sean Flannery, GECAS; Patrick Edmund, International Aviation Services Centre; George Kennedy, Holmes O’Malley Sexton; Eoin Gavin, Eoin Gavin Transport; Harry Fehily, Holmes O’Malley Sexton; John O’Brien, Molex; Jerry Moloney, Enterprise Ireland; and Mick Guinee, Ei Electronics. Photo: Eamon Ward.