IDA Ireland appoints Mary Buckley as interim CEO

25 Oct 2022

Mary Buckley. Image: Maxwell Photography

Buckley brings extensive organisational experience to the interim role, while IDA Ireland said an international competition will be held to fill the position.

IDA Ireland is appointing Mary Buckley as its interim CEO after Martin Shanahan tendered his resignation from the agency.

In July, it was revealed that Shanahan planned to step down from his role next year. However, he will commence a period of garden leave effective tomorrow (26 October).

Buckley is currently executive director at the State agency responsible for inward foreign direct investment. She has held this position since 2015 and is a member of the executive leadership team.

In the interim role, Buckley brings extensive organisational experience, having previously held a number of leadership positions for IDA Ireland overseas, in regional locations and at its Dublin headquarters.

Buckley served as an executive VP and director in the US between 2006 and 2010, helping win high-tech manufacturing, global business service and R&D investments for Ireland. Prior to her appointment as executive director, she was a divisional manager for IDA Ireland corporate operations.

IDA Ireland said an international competition will be conducted “immediately” to fill the position of CEO.

Shanahan is now set to join Grant Thornton as a partner, heading up the consulting firm’s industry and foreign direct investment activities.

Speaking of his departure from the role, IDA Ireland chair Frank Ryan said Shanahan had “served IDA and the country with distinction”.

“Martin has steered IDA through some of the most difficult challenges that it has faced in its history, from driving economic recovery to international tax changes, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, a global pandemic and more recent global geopolitical and economic challenges,” Ryan added.

“Winning foreign direct investment is hugely competitive and Martin has been a constant economic ambassador for Ireland in boardrooms across the world during his tenure.”

Since Shanahan’s appointment as CEO in 2014, the number of multinational operations in Ireland increased 54pc from 1,098 to 1,691, while the number of direct jobs within the IDA client portfolio rose by 71pc.

Earlier this month, former IDA Ireland CEO Barry O’Leary died at the age of 71. He had worked at the State agency for nearly four decades and was appointed CEO in 2008, leading IDA during a turbulent period for Ireland’s economy.

Updated, 8.55am, 26 October 2022: This article was updated to include details of Martin Shanahan’s new role at Grant Thornton.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic