John Herlihy steps down as Google chief in Ireland after 10 years and 2,500 direct jobs
John Herlihy (left) with Google chairman Eric Schmidt in Killarney, Co Kerry, in 2009

John Herlihy steps down as Google chief in Ireland after 10 years and 2,500 direct jobs

17 Feb 2015

John Herlihy, the Limerick native who took Google’s operations in Dublin from 50 to 5,000 employees (2,500 direct and 2,500 indirect) in just 10 years, is to step down from the role, has learned.

Herlihy is understood to be stepping down from the role officially on 30 April. Staff in Dublin learned of his decision this afternoon.

We have learned that Ronan Harris is to assume Herlihy’s role as site lead and continue in his role as Google VP of large customer sales.

Google was one of the first born-on-the-web giants to choose Dublin as an international HQ and it was Herlihy and his then young and yet-to-be-proven management team that set the wheels in motion.

That management team included his successor Ronan Harris, Colm Long (now chief revenue officer at Flipboard), Sonia Ann Flynn (head of Facebook’s international HQ in Dublin) and Stephen McIntyre (head of Twitter’s international HQ in Dublin).

In the 10 years, Herlihy rose to head up Google’s global advertising.

As he bows out, the total headcount at Google in Dublin stands at 5,000, including 2,500 full-time employees and 2,500 contractors.

During the 10 years it was Herlihy’s leadership that contributed to decisions such as Google’s acquisition of Dublin’s tallest building – the 15-storey Montevetro Building – from REO for €99.5m in 2011 and it was the presence of Google that turned the Grand Canal Docks area into Dublin’s digital quarter. Other additions include Google’s digital excellence centre The Foundry and a major data centre.

Prior to joining Google, Herlihy held senior financial and operational roles at KPMG, Oracle, First Data, Adobe, PeopleSoft and Epiphany.

It is understood Herlihy has no plans yet to move to another role in another company and is looking forward to relaxing with his family. 

“I’m very proud of what the management team at Google has achieved over the past 10 years,” he said in a statement. “We have built a vibrant organisation which has become the heartbeat of EMEA. The energy that runs through this campus powers a burgeoning digital industry in over 100 countries and is helping revitalise economies, Ireland’s included.

“On a personal level it has been a tremendous experience but after 10 years, I believe the time is right for me to explore new opportunities and I’m looking forward to taking some time out while I consider my next challenge. I’m delighted that Ronan Harris will now lead Google’s EMEA operations in its next phase of growth,” he said.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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