Powerful Irish women leaders at Apple and Intel to be honoured by UCC

26 Nov 2015

Cathy Kearney and Ann Kelleher pictured at the event

The country manager of Apple in Ireland Cathy Kearney and Intel corporate vice president Ann Kelleher are to be honoured at the UCC Alumni Achievement Awards on Friday (27 November).

Broadcaster and journalist Matt Cooper and Professor Piniti Ratananukul, former secretary-general of the Education Council of Thailand, will also both be honoured with a Distinguished Alumnus Award.

John MacCarthy, President of UCC Soccer Club since 1999, will receive an Alumnus Award for Voluntary Service to UCC.

Ann Kelleher, Intel

The first Irish woman to be named as corporate vice president at Intel, Ann Kelleher heads up Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group and is general manager of the semiconductor manufacturing organisation at Intel Corporation.

In 1993, Macroom-born Kelleher became the first-ever female to receive a PhD from the National Microelectronics Research Centre (NMRC), now part of the Tyndall National Institute at UCC.

‘Little did I think that I would be back here at UCC in the year that celebrates both the bicentenary of George Boole and the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law’

“Having graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1987 and a PhD in 1993, little did I think that I would be back here at UCC in the year that celebrates both the bicentenary of George Boole and the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law,” Kelleher said.

“Intel can trace the roots of our technology to both of these visionaries and I am proud to carry on the UCC connection in my role as general manager of Intel’s global semiconductor manufacturing business,” Kelleher said.

Kelleher joined Intel in 1996 as a process engineer, going on to manage technology transfers and factory ramp-ups in a variety of positions spanning multiple technologies. She is currently responsible for Intel’s worldwide silicon wafer fabrication facilities. Prior to assuming her current position, Kelleher was the leader for Intel’s large Fab 11X fabrication facility in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

In that role, she was responsible for all aspects of the operation, including safety, people and operational metrics for high-volume manufacturing of leading-edge process technology. Earlier in her Intel career, she led Intel’s Fab 12 facility in Chandler, Arizona, as well being the factory manager of Fab 24 in Leixlip.

Cathy Kearney, Apple

Kearney heads up Apple’s 5,000-strong operation in Cork, which recently received the good news from CEO Tim Cook himself that a further 1,000 new roles are to be added in Cork, making it the biggest Apple hub in Europe and also the biggest private employer in Cork.

Kearney, whose official title is vice president of European operations at Apple, is a graduate of the BComm at UCC.

For the past 10 years, Kearney has overseen the expansion of Apple’s Cork site, which employs 5,000 people across many differing functions, including Apple Care, Apple Store, manufacturing, finance, operations and R&D.

‘I enjoyed every minute of my time in UCC. It opened my eyes to a broader perspective’

Kearney started in Apple on secondment from E&Y when training to be a chartered accountant in 1988. She then joined Apple in May 1989. starting in the finance department. At the time, Apple was expanding its printed circuit board operation and Kearney joined as the fixed asset accountant.

She moved through the levels in Finance, becoming site controller in 1994 and in 1996 become operations controller for Europe. In 1999, she had triplets.

A few months after her return to work in 2000 she took over the running of the Apple Store operations team with her finance role.

In 2004, Kearney was promoted to the position of senior director of European operations, as well as the Cork site lead role. In 2012, she was promoted to vice president of European operations.

Kearney commented: “I enjoyed every minute of my time in UCC. It opened my eyes to a broader perspective. It gave me a strong foundation for my later career in accountancy and operations.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years