Business 100 Honorees and Keynote Denis O’Brien Celebrated in New York

Editor-in-Chief Patricia Harty, Denis O'Brien and Publisher Niall O'Dowd. O'Brien was presented with the Kings Bowl from House of Waterford Crystal. Photo by Margaret Purcell Roddy.
Editor-in-Chief Patricia Harty, Denis O'Brien and Publisher Niall O'Dowd. O'Brien was presented with the Kings Bowl from House of Waterford Crystal. Photo by Margaret Purcell Roddy.

December 5, 2012

The top Irish-American and Irish-born leaders of the business world were celebrated in New York on Wednesday, December 5th, at the annual Irish America magazine Business 100 awards luncheon, the premier networking event for the Irish in corporate America. Leading Irish businessman Denis O’Brien delivered the 2012 Keynote Address.

O’Brien is the founder of Digicel, one of the largest mobile phone companies in the world, which specializes in providing cellular phone service in the developing world. A dedicated humanitarian, O’Brien has put over $16.5 million of his own wealth towards philanthropic projects in Haiti, including the re-building of Port Au Prince’s iconic Iron Market, and his move to make cash transactions available for the poorest in the world via cell phones was, according to former U.S. President Bill Clinton, writing in TIME magazine, the number one idea changing the world last year.

The awards luncheon was held at the Metropolitan Club, which exuded Christmas cheer and put the attendees in the holiday spirit. Distinguished guests included former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Commissioner Ray Kelly, chairman of the American Ireland Fund Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley, Consul General Noel Kilkenny and Bill Flynn, chairman emeritus of Mutual of America. Honorees traveled from as far as California, Colorado, Dallas and Chicago to attend.

O’Brien’s speech, both profound and relateable, touched on his work with Irish charity Concern Worldwide and the wonderful work they do in Haiti and beyond. He was full of praise for Ireland’s Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, and of pride for Ireland’s remarkable recovery and impending EU presidency. He also encouraged attendees to visit Ireland in the coming year for The Gathering initiative, stating “there’s never been a better time to go.” Editor-in-Chief Patricia Harty and Publisher Niall O’Dowd presented O’Brien with the Kings Bowl award from House of Waterford Crystal.

Now in its 27th year, the Business 100 issue of Irish America magazine honors the extraordinary achievements of the Irish in corporate America. This year’s list includes such young leaders in technology as Dennis Crowley, Co-Founder of Foursquare; Paul Adams and Trevor Madigan, Global Head of Brand Design and Global Business Manager at Facebook, respectively; as well as a selection of the great team leading Ford Motor Company — Executive Chairman William Clay Ford, Jr., President & CEO Alan Mulally, and Group Vice President – Global Marketing, Sales and Service Jim Farley.

Co-chair of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, President of Relativity Media Tucker Tooley, President of Domestic Marketing and Distribution of Paramount Pictures, Megan Colligan, and Nancy Kirkpatrick, President of Worldwide Marketing at Summit Entertainment, represent the Irish in film and television. The extraordinary success and leadership of Steve Cahillane, President and CEO of Coca-Cola Refreshments; Ellen Kullman, President & Chair of the Board at DuPont; and Wilbur Ross, Chairman & CEO of WL Ross & Co and Chairman of Invesco, are also recognized in this diverse list covering a vast range of industries.

Visit the Business 100 homepage for event photos and to see the full list of honorees.

Click here to watch Denis O’Brien’s speech.

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