Newstalk's Business Person of the Year Announced

In August, Newstalk 106-108 fm launched a monthly initiative in association with Sage, Ireland&rs...

12.55 12 Dec 2012

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Newstalk's Business Pe...

Newstalk's Business Person of the Year Announced


12.55 12 Dec 2012

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In August, Newstalk 106-108 fm launched a monthly initiative in association with Sage, Ireland’s leading business management software company, designed to support and promote Irish businesses, business success and entrepreneurs. The ‘Newstalk Business Person of the Month’ and the ‘Newstalk Business Person of the Year, proudly supported by Sage, will be led by Newstalk ‘Down to Business’ presenter, entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star, Bobby Kerr, and Newstalk Business Editor, Ian Guider. 

Businesses will be selected each month based on unique achievements in their field, from this list, three businesses people will be chosen for the final shortlist which will then be judged and voted on by an independent panel of successful businesspeople and entrepreneurs.

2012 Business Person of the Year - Louise Phelan


Louise Phelan, Vice President of Global Operations EMEA for PayPal is honoured with the Newstalk Business Person of the Year Award.

Based in Blanchardstown Dublin, PayPal is the European Centre of Excellence and employs almost 1,450 people. Louise joined PayPal in 2006 as CS and Risk Director for the EU before being promoted to her current position as Vice President of Global Operations. Previous to working in Paypal, she spent 16 years working in GE in a variety of senior management roles.

A former student at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Louise holds certifications in law and economics as well as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. She is active in the professional community and serves on the board of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Phelan was instrumental in securing the opening of Payapls second European operations centre in Dundalk, creating 1,000 new jobs in the process. The announcement is the largest single IDA-backed job creation announcement since the beginning of the economic downturn in 2008. Possibly her greatest personal triumph was being the first women to be awarded The Smurfit Business person of the year award.

Paypal recently picked up the Employer of the Year at the Fingal Business Excellence awards. Upon receiving the award, Louise had this to say about the how the company values its employees, “At PayPal we understand that our success as a company is based on how we value and treat our employees. We are very proud the be part of the business community in Fingal and hope that our philosophy can inspire others to keep employees front of mind, keeping them positively engaged, motivated and inspired. While times are tough for business, it is within everyone's grasp to create a workplace that really brings the best out in people and ultimately contributes to a better bottom line."

In her spare time, Louise organises various charitable triathlons, specifically her annual event Tri-To-Beat Cancer. To date she has raised more than one million Euros to charitable organisations around the country.

November's Business Person of the Month - Eddie O'Connor

Eddie O'Connor, CEO of Mainstream is honoured with this month’s award

He founded Airtricity Holdings Ltd in 1997 and was Chief Executive until 2008. Airtricity moved to a leading global position in renewable energy between 2000 and 2008. In October 2007, Airtricity announced that it was selling its North American business unit (Airtricity North America) to E.on for approximately $1.4bn (€995m). The remainder of the company was sold to Scottish and Southern Energy in January 2008.

In February 2008, Eddie set up Mainstream Renewable Power.

Mainstream Renewable Power is to start building two solar plants and one wind-energy farm in South Africa after signing financing, power purchase and implementation agreements with the South African government. The three renewable projects will have a combined cost of €500m.

In September, Mainstream secured €60m in financing from the renewable energy investor Macquarie to help fund wind and solar projects and to expand its global project development portfolio.

October's Business Person of the Month - Liam Casey

Liam Casey, founder and CEO of PCH International is honoured with this month’s award

PCH International is an international supply chain management company founded in 1996 by Liam Casey. It is the leader in the accessories market for smartphones, eReaders and tablets. The company offers integrated solutions from product design to fulfillment direct to client hubs or the end customers.

Headquartered in Cork, the operational headquarters for the company are located in Shenzhen, South China. With more than 1,200 employees spanning four continents.

Under Liam’s leadership, PCH International has demonstrated how an Irish company can generate significant success in the global markets by thinking and acting strategically, and deploying creative international marketing strategies.

September's Business Person of the Month - Catherine Duffy

Catherine Duffy, General Manager of Northern Trust is honoured with this month’s award

Catherine Duffy is general manager for Northern Trust in Limerick – one of Northern Trust’s fund centres of excellence, staffed by a growing dynamic and vibrant workforce.

In her role, she oversees all the activities of the Limerick office. Catherine began her career at Ulster Bank in Dublin in 1990 where she was first employed in reconciliations.

In May 2000, Northern Trust acquired Ulster Bank, and she was appointed as head of investment operations.

She has worked in many different positions and areas across Northern Trust, such as corporate actions, settlements, reconciliations, transfer agency.

Catherine has a certificate in Personnel Management and a certificate in European Law and is on the Board of the Limerick Chamber of Commerce.

August's Business Person of the Month - Gerry Barry

Gerry Barry, CEO of Fintrax Group Holdings is honoured with this month’s award

The Fintrax Group specialises in payment solutions for banks, merchants and tourists. The company’s principal services are Multicurrency Credit Card Processing and Premier Tax Free.

A pioneer in the creation of DCC in 1999, Fintrax now provides its patented multicurrency payment solution in over 16 countries.

Fintrax was founded thirty years ago by Gerry Barry and is headquartered in Ballinahown, Co Galway. It employs 400 people worldwide.

The company's main focus is VAT-back services for tourists buying goods abroad, which was first launched at Shannon Airport, as well as a currency conversion technology which allows credit card holders to pay for purchases in their own currency while abroad.

Gerry Barry sold his family's 70% share of the company this year - valued at €119m – to London-based Company Exponent.

The Process

Each monthly winner will be announced on Newstalk Breakfast on the last Friday of the month and will feature on ‘Down to Business’ on the last Sunday of the month – exposing the successful businessperson to the station’s national daily audience of over 308,000. As well as being profiled on Newstalk the winner will receive a specially commissioned Newbridge Silverware pen and €1000 worth of Sage software and services.

Speaking at the launch, Bobby Kerr said: “There are companies and entrepreneurs in every corner of the country who are doing great and fascinating things to win new customers and stay ahead of competitors. These are the companies that are creating employment and supporting local commerce. Success should be rewarded and this is our way of rewarding great businesses. The initiative also showcases each monthly winner and provides exposure to potential customers and investors.” 

Adding to this, Avril McArdle, Digital & Marketing Manager at Sage Ireland commented: “We are delighted to partner with Newstalk for this great initiative, as we believe it is important that businesses across Ireland, both small and large, are acknowledged for their tenacity and hard work, especially in such a tough climate. At Sage, we are inspired daily by the innovation, resolve and creativity of business owners and it is with initiatives like this that we can reward and recognize their success.”

Ian Guider, Newstalk Business Editor also said: “This is a great initiative that will put businesses on a national platform. There are no restrictions as to what businesses can be chosen. Small, medium and large businesses will all be considered. In particular, we will be looking for inspiring stories that will inspire our business listeners.”

The Journey 

Each ‘Newstalk Business of the Month’ will automatically be shortlisted for the ‘Newstalk Business of the Year’ award, which will be announced in December. 

The 2012 awards will run from August to December, with the initiative launching again in January 2013. For further information, please go to

If you want to enter to win the Newstalk Business Person of the Month email why you think you are worthy to You can also choose to nominate someone else. 

About Sage Ireland

Sage Ireland was established in July 1999 and is the market leader in Ireland with over 40,000 customers using Sage for business solutions software. Sage Ireland provides software and services to businesses ranging from start-ups to large companies. The software ranges from accounts and ERP, HR, payroll and card payments, forecasting and business intelligence to customer relationship management, e-business, help for start-ups and practice management solutions for accountants. Sage provides the tools and support that help make business life easier. Sage Ireland employs over 230 people serving customers nationwide. No matter what size a practice or a client’s business, Sage can inspire the confidence to help it grow.

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