Enterprise Ireland CEO Dan Flinter has announced his decision to step down after 10 years in the position and revealed his intention to pursue opportunities in the private sector. A spokesman for the state agency told siliconrepublic.com that he will remain in the position until a new chief executive is appointed.
Flinter’s decision to step down follows 10 years of unprecedented economic growth and more lately a period of economic decline, making the 10 years perhaps the most challenging and interesting the state agency – formerly known as Forbairt and the Irish Trade Board – has had.
Commenting on his decision to leave Enterprise Ireland, Flinter said: “Having led Enterprise Ireland and its predecessor organisation Forbairt for 10 years I believe that it is now timely for me to hand over to a new CEO and to pursue new challenges where the experiences I have gained, particularly in relation to the private sector, will enable me to add value.”
A native of Athy, Co Kildare, Flinter began his career in the planning division of IDA Ireland and rose through the ranks to become executive director of the IDA with responsibility for attracting all worldwide inward investment into Ireland. In 1993 he was appointed CEO of Forbairt, the technology research state agency that was later merged with the Irish Trade Board to become the present Enterprise Ireland.
Flinter has been instrumental in establishing 15 public-private seed and venture funds that formed the nucleus of Ireland’s present, vibrant venture capital market. A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, unveiled yesterday, revealed that in the past year some €201m in venture capital funds were raised for the Irish market.
More recently, Flinter was instrumental in restructuring the way Enterprise Ireland invests €160m annual budget in start-ups and SMEs, stating that the era of employment grants is over and in future it would invest its money via preference and ordinary shares, with a more generous focus on companies located in the border, midland and western (BMW) regions.
Expressing her gratitude for Flinter’s work over the past decade, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Harney TD said: “Over the last decade Dan has been to the forefront in the development of Irish enterprise. Through his leadership of Forbairt and more recently Enterprise Ireland, which brought together Forbairt and An Bord Trachtala, he has been an innovative and enthusiastic driver in the development and promotion of Irish companies in the world marketplace.”
By John Kennedy