Martin Shanahan to step down as IDA Ireland CEO

6 Jul 2022

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan. Image: Maxwell Photography

IDA Ireland has reported its highest ever half-yearly FDI results. But come next year, Shanahan will no longer be at the helm of the State agency.

Martin Shanahan, the CEO of IDA Ireland who has led the State’s inward investment agency since 2014, is stepping down from his role next year.

While no date has been agreed yet, IDA Ireland said that his departure is expected in early 2023. An international search for his replacement is to be commenced “in due course”.

The announcement today (6 July) comes as IDA Ireland has reported its highest ever half-yearly foreign direct investment (FDI) results.

Inward investments in Ireland were up 9pc between January and June 2022 compared to the same period last year, and were 10pc higher than 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

Jobs approvals have also seen a huge spike, now 44pc higher than 2021 levels and 33pc above 2019.

Both these figures are despite the recent economic headwinds being felt world over as countries emerge from the pandemic and deal with rising costs and inflation.

In the first half of 2022, IDA Ireland said 155 investments were won, with associated employment potential of more than 18,000 jobs. Nearly half of these were new name investments and 73 of the 155 investments won went to regional locations.

FDI in Ireland showing ‘no sign of slowing down’

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, hailed the half-yearly results as “incredible” as FDI in Ireland has seen a second consecutive period of record growth.

“Given everything that’s happened over the last few years, that really is remarkable. It’s showing no sign of slowing down. We should never forget that the jobs and revenue created by multinationals helped to keep us out of recession when the pandemic hit and are now giving us the financial firepower to ease the cost of living crisis and avoid recession once again.”

However, Varadkar cautioned that with headwinds such as inflation, Russia’s war on Ukraine, increased international competition for FDI, the climate crisis and rapid advancement in technologies, “we cannot afford to be complacent”.

“Threats remain from a resurgence of Covid-19, the high level of risk and uncertainty in global markets, despite improvements in the global outlook,” added Shanahan.

Shanahan a ‘constant economic ambassador’

Speaking of Shanahan’s departure from his role, IDA Ireland chair Frank Ryan said he 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 UK from the EU, a global pandemic and more recent global geopolitical and economic challenges.”

Since Shanahan’s appointment in 2014, the number of multinational operations in Ireland increased 54pc from 1098 to 1691 and the number of direct jobs within the IDA client portfolio has risen from 161,112 to 275,384 (a 71pc increase).

“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,” added Ryan.

Shanahan said his eight-year stint with IDA Ireland “has been a huge privilege” and that the agency has “continued to reinvent itself for over seven decades” to win investments for Ireland.

“I hope that I have added something to that history over this period,” he added.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic