Irish CEOs and boards have second highest tech experience in Europe

13 Nov 2023

Image: © Alexander/

According to an Accenture report, Ireland is an outlier in Europe but the continent as a whole is behind the US on tech experience in boardrooms.

Ireland has been ranked second in a list of European countries that have the most technology expertise represented at the upper echelons of business, such as board members and CEOs who have a tech background.

In its latest report on a technology deficit in European business, Accenture found that the continent falls behind the US when it comes to tech expertise at board level, with only 11pc of European CEOs that have a tech background.

The US, in contrast, boasts 17pc tech expertise among CEOs. The report also suggests that if Europe were to catch up with the US on this metric, companies from the continent could generate €3.2trn in additional revenue by the end of 2024.

Ireland, however, has a lead over most European countries with nearly 19pc of Irish board members having tech expertise. This is just behind the Netherlands at 19.1pc and marginally ahead of the UK at 18.8pc.

The Irish figure, the report says, is an increase over previous years. Technology experience within Irish boardrooms has grown more than 2pc since the last Accenture report in 2021, when the figure stood at 16.2pc.

Even though the European average lags behind Ireland, the continent has seen a 3pc growth on the same metric, rising from 11.5pc in 2021 to 14.4pc currently. Meanwhile, company boards in the US have more tech expertise with 22pc.

Austin Boyle, head of technology at Accenture Ireland, said that organisations need to adopt new technology more “than ever before” because of the dynamic nature of the sector.

“We have seen how the pace of digitalisation is irrevocably changing the business landscape and leading to new opportunities and threats that organisations can’t ignore, including the rapid introduction and adoption of generative AI and the rise in cyber threats,” Boyle said.

“Given the core role that technology now plays in overall business strategy, having technology expertise in Irish boardrooms has never been more critical. Ireland is making great progress here, but we still have a way to go, particularly when compared with the US.”

In July, Ireland was 9th in a ranking of innovation performance among EU member states based on criteria such as research systems, investments, innovative SMEs and impacts to assess member states and their regions.

According to Caroline Spillane, CEO of the Institute of Directors in Ireland, directors and boards have “a real desire” to learn and develop in the area of artificial intelligence.

“Directors want to know how this new technology will impact their business, both the opportunities and the risks, but also the ethical consequences that must be considered when adopting this technology,” Spillane said.

The report was based on a survey of 1,000 business leaders across Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific. For the analysis, Accenture considered a person to have technology experience if they have technology responsibilities, such as CIOs or CTOs, or if they hold or have held senior responsibility in a technology firm.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic