Microsoft Ireland MD Cathriona Hallahan to step down from role

2 Dec 2020

Outgoing Microsoft Ireland MD Cathriona Hallahan, speaking at the opening of One Microsoft Place in 2018. Image: Naoise Culhane Photography

Microsoft Ireland’s Cathriona Hallahan will step down after eight years as managing director of the tech giant’s Irish operation.

After more than 34 years working at Microsoft Ireland, Cathriona Hallahan has confirmed plans to step down from her role as managing director. Hallahan has spent the past eight years in the position and, according to The Irish Times, staff at Microsoft Ireland were informed of the decision yesterday (1 December).

Speaking with the newspaper, Hallahan said once she has left Microsoft, she will be looking to establish a portfolio of directorships and other roles, and is open to the idea of working in executive coaching.

She added that during her time with the company, the opening of the a €134m campus in Leopardstown was a “huge milestone for us here and for me”.

Hallahan – a chartered certified accountant and executive coach – joined Microsoft Ireland as employee number 24 in 1986, about six months after the tech giant set up its Irish base. She now leads more than 2,400 employees in the country, and the company recently announced plans to further increase that headcount with 200 new roles in Dublin.

A number of senior roles

Over the course of her Microsoft career, Hallahan filled senior roles in finance and operations, and spent around 20 years working outside of Ireland.

In her role as managing director, she was responsible for driving consumer and commercial business, representing the company in Ireland on all strategic policy, corporate affairs and communications issues, including overseeing a number of community, education and innovation programmes.

In addition to her role at Microsoft, Hallahan sits on a number of executive boards, including Ibec, University College Dublin’s advisory board, Trinity Business School and Keelings.

Speaking with in September, Hallahan discussed how Microsoft reacted to the rapid shift to remote working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For us, it was about really understanding from an empathy perspective what our employees needed,” she said.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic