Latest News

Calling all small firm owner-manager/senior managers……

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

The Innovation Value Institute (IVI) at Maynooth University, Ulster University (UU), N. Ireland and Anglia Ruskin University, England are undertaking


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PWC Family Business Report 2019

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

PWC Irish Family Business Report 2019 PWC survey of over 100 businesses, conducted in late 2018, reveals that the Irish family business sector is


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The Impact of Family Business in Ireland

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Although this repost is based on findings up to 2005. It is important to know the impact that family business has in Ireland. 


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Family Business Ireland Advisory Board



Co-Chair/Director: J.J. O’Connell


J.J. O’Connell is Co-Chair and Director of Family Business Ireland and Director of the Plato Ireland Business Network, Ireland’s premier business network. He joined Plato in 1995 having previously worked for Smurfit Ireland.


He is a Graduate of the National University of Ireland and has a Masters Degree in Business Studies and is a graduate of Harvard Business School International Competitiveness Programme (U.C.C.). He is a former international tutor and examiner of the Financial Times Institute UK (Henley Management College UK). As a private consultant he has worked with a number of leading private and public sector organisations and many family-owned businesses.


He is widely acknowledged as one of Ireland’s leading specialists on business legacy and succession planning. He is a strong advocate for Family Businesses and is convinced of the vitally important role that family businesses will play in rebuilding Ireland’s economic landscape.





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Deputy Director: Patrick Humphreys


Pat Humphreys has a proven track record as an energetic, professional Operations Manager and Leader with excellent communicative and influencing skills. He has specialist experience in Lean Management, Supply Chain Management and People facilitation. As a qualified facilitator and trainer Pat has worked closely with family owned SMEs to effect successful positive change at the highest level over the last 3 years.


Prior to that Pat worked for 22 years for the family owned multinational Bourns Electronics. He understands the dynamic of the family owned business and the challenges faced today by SMEs. He has worked with Owner Managers for the last 10 years through his involvement with Plato Cork. He is an approved Excellence Through People Advisor and carries out many mentoring assignments of behalf of the County and City Enterprise Boards. Currently Pat is completing an MSc in Lean six Sigma Management in University of Limerick.


He is assertive, sincere, dependable, persistent and persuasive.





Dr. James Urquhart

Dr. James Urquhart


James is an experienced international businessman, (UK, USA, France,), an academic and Family Business Consultant.


After a career in the Oil and Gas sector, he has lectured in Management at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and in Family Business at University College Cork winning the Best MBA Lecturer Award in 1999. He was involved in laying the foundation for the John C. Kelleher Family Business Centre at UCC. He later became the Head of the Graduate School of Business and Director of the Centre for Enterprise and Innovation at Dublin Institute of Technology where he lectured and researched on families in business and their internal psychodynamics, as well as working with Babson College, Boston on developments in family governance structures.


His training in family psychodynamics is based first on his MBA and second his Ph.D at St. Andrews on group relations work with the world renowned staff of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.







David Donegan

David Donegan


David is the Managing Partner of Donegans Solicitors, a fifth generation family law firm.


David’s specialised areas as a Lawyer are:

  • Commercial Properties/Tax Specialist Acting as a Consultant to law firms:
  • Special Adviser on the transfer of family businesses from generation to generation.
  • Develops innovative property and innovative financial funds.
  • Designs financial investment products that mitigate risk.

David is co-author of Irish Stamp Duty Law (Fifth Edition) published by Tottels Ireland.





Jan Harte

Jan Harte


Jan Harte is a Human Resources Executive and Leadership Coach & Mentor with 25+ years experience. She has an extensive business background in Ireland and the U.S. and brings innovative and best practice solutions to business problems.


Jan is former HR Director with Stryker Orthopaedics, Cork. She is the founder of Jan Harte & Associates, HR Consultant and co founder of The Collins Group, Coaching, Mentoring & Professional Development Consultants.


Her clients include Executives and Leaders in Multinational companies and Owner/Managers in the Family Business and Domestic SME sector. Jan also delivers a number of Plato assignments as Group Leader, FAS Excellence Through People Advisor and Trainer.


Jan is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (FCIPD) and a Member of the Association of Coaching (MAB).





Michael Travers

Michael Travers


Michael is the owner of Travers and Associates: The Company specialises in the SME sectors both in Ireland and in the UK. Their main focus is in assisting the S.M.E.’s in implementing the most up-to-date- management practices in order to turnaround, grow and increase profitability. Their business modus operandi is summarised in their company statement: 
‘Delivering the skills, knowledge, techniques and business / operational tools of the Big Blue Chip organisations to the S.M.E sector’:


In addition to Manufacturing Operations and Engineering qualifications, Michael also holds an MBA in Strategic Management, Change Management, Finance, Mentoring/Coaching and H.R.


Prior to setting up his own management consultancy business in 2006, Michael has held the following multinational positions;
• President of Vernal AG Switzerland; Business Development and M&Acq:
• Vice President of Global Business Operations; Tytex A.G. Denmark:
• Director of Operations Flextronics; Ireland:
• V.P. of Operations Switzerland; Danaher Corporation:
• V.P. of European Operations & Business Development; Lear / Donnelly Corporations:
M.D. Alps Automotive Europe:





Douglas Kelleher

Douglas Kelleher


Douglas Kelleher is an experienced CEO, General Manager and Company Chairman. He has held a number of senior management roles within the electronics industry, including fourteen years as Managing Director of the US owned Bourns Electronics company in Ireland. In a career of over forty years he has held the positions of  Engineering Manager of Irish Dunlop, General Manager and CEO of a French cable manufacturing company and Director of a French company in the electronic sub-assembly business. In recent years he uses his considerable expertise and experience in supporting the development of SMEs, holding positions such as M.D. of PRP, a plastics manufacturing company and Chairman of NSG-Northside Glass the highly respected owned business of the Finn family.


He is a Member of Governing Body of UCC, Chairman of MBA Board of Management having originally graduated as Electronic Engineer from UCC. He is Board member of Gaslink, the independent system operator for the Irish gas industry. He is Chairman of the South Cork Enterprise Board and former Chairman of the IBEC Regional Executive. He is a former Board member of Plato Business Network (Cork) and  Plato Group Leader. In addition to all of the above Douglas lectures in Human Resource Management in UCC.


Most recently Douglas he has kindly agreed to act as an advisor to Family Business Ireland and this is warmly welcomed.





Charles A. Blythe

Charles A. Blythe FCMA MLBCAI


Charles A Blythe is a very experienced Management Accountant and General Business Manager. Charles was a senior Director of Heineken Ireland for many years having originally worked in various Financial Controller roles he commenced his first Managing Director role in 1988. Over the following twenty years he held a number of Managing Director/Director roles mainly within the Food and Drink FMCG sector.


In 2008 he retired from Heineken Ireland as Distribution Director and set up the consultancy company Positive Direction. He is a former Chairman of the Plato Business Network in Cork and served as a Group Leader on two occasions managing two very successful groups. He has advised and facilitated a number of family business owners and managers to manage the issue of succession planning.


He is widely acknowledged as a very wise tactician with excellent judgement. He has a great ability to make complex situations manageable and actively guide and assist those responsible to achieve wise and efficient outcomes.





Ursula Fitzgerald

Ursula Fitzgerald


Ursula Fitzgerald is the Private Client Manager of Family Business Ireland. Ursula has considerable experience in dealing with clients and confidential matters. She has been central to all family business support programmes since 1997.


She is highly respected by all clients and by all those who work with her.