Teneo’s Declan Kelly delivers Bill Clinton, keeps expanding
Tipperary native becoming a global player in business
In the foyer of Teneo Holdings impressive headquarters on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan there is an old Coca-Cola machine that looks like something out of a time capsule.
For just a dime you can pull out an old Coca-Cola bottle and drink like it was 1955.
When you enter Teneo itself however it feels like the future.
Teneo’s newest business is Teneo Intelligence, which uses algorithms to predict future trouble spots around the world and models how such events will effect markets.
They then sell the information on to major companies.
It is run by an ex-CIA figure who Teneo CEO Declan Kelly, 43,says can spot a revolution from a million miles away.
At its heart Teneo is essentially a global consulting firm and merchant bank that advises many of the world’s largest companies on a wide-range of issues.
In his own office the Portroe, Tipperary-born Kelly has a spectacular view of uptown Manhattan and his desk is adorned with pictures of world leaders and corporate chieftains he has done business with including Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.
The coke machine also serves the purpose of reminding visitors that Teneo and Kelly are deeply involved with Coke, one of their major clients.
Kelly is on the fast track in American business, this Irish generation’s Tony O’Reilly who conquered the American corporate sphere in his day.
Like O’Reilly he comes from a humble background in Ireland and still tears up remembering the sacrifices his parent Nan and Tom Kelly, a small farmer who left school when he was 12, made for him and his brother Alan, now a Minister of State, to ensure they got the best education.
Whatever was in the water in the Kelly household the two sons emerged as outrageously ambitious, confident and willing to take on the world.
At Nenagh CBS Kelly was a very capable hurler who played in an All-Ireland ‘B’ Colleges final and soon after his love of sport and writing found him working on the Nenagh Guardian and doing a degree at UCG in English and Law at night.
He graduated in 1989 and worked for the Cork Examiner becoming a well-respected sports columnist and award winning business reporter.
He was not long for the Munster championship circuit however and soon he lit out for Dublin where he and Jackie Gallagher eventually started their own PR firm in 1998 after they had both worked at Fleishman-Hillard.
It was the beginning of a dramatic rise in the business world on both sides of the Atlantic, culminating now in Teneo Holdings which numbers numerous Fortune 100 companies and a former US president among its clients and has Tony Blair on its advisory board.
Teneo was formed in June 2011 and already has over 100 employees and offices all over the world. He is the largest shareholder.
Today Kelly will deliver the former American president Bill Clinton to the Worldwide Ireland Fund dinner in Cork where he will oversee the Clinton schedule for the weekend.
His introduction to the Clintons was hardly auspicious. It was at an Irish America magazine event in New York and Kelly had arranged an introduction to Hillary through Irish America founder Niall O’Dowd.
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