Irish tech executive and Silicon Valley investor John Hartnett is one of three new independent directors appointed to the board of Aer Lingus. Hartnett campaigned hard to see the restoration of direct flights from Dublin to San Francisco next year.
Hartnett has been appointed non-executive director of Aer Lingus along with seasoned business executives Nigel Northridge, a non-executive director at Paddy Power, and Nicolas Villen, former CEO of Ferrovial Aeropeurtos, which runs Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Southampton and Naples airports.
The three executives will take their posts on 1 January 2014, following the retirements of Danuta Gray and Thomas Moran from the Aer Lingus board.
Hartnett established the ITLG (Irish Technology Leadership Group) several years ago because he realised that unlike other diaspora groups in the US, such as Israel, the Irish diaspora had failed to mobilise to help tech firms from Ireland achieve success in the US.
The movement grew rapidly to engage with hundreds of senior Irish executives in Fortune 500 companies, venture capital firms and leading tech start-ups. Former Intel CEO and chairman Craig Barrett came on board as chairman, the ITLG established a headquarters in downtown San Jose, California, and created its own venture capital firm, Irish Technology Capital.
It has grown to include outposts not only in Silicon Valley but also on Wall Street and in Hollywood, and has grown global dimensions, uniting technology executives of Irish descent in other geographies across the world, including Europe and Asia.