Expat group considers withdrawing from Irish government executive scheme


An expat leadership group in America is ready to shelve plans to co-operate with an Irish government plan to appoint international executives to sit on state boards.

The Irish Technology Leadership Group has said it is dismayed by the Dublin government’ lukewarm response to its own initiative.

The group is to meet in the coming weeks to discuss a proposal to shelve plans to compile a list of international executives willing to make themselves available to sit on the Irish boards.

ITLG founder John Hartnett has told the Irish Times of the government’s ‘lukewarm’ response to the Diaspora 2016 initiative.

He confirmed that 15 top business leaders from all around  the world had offered their expertise to the plan – free of charge.

Hartnett was dismayed last week however when the Irish government told him that it would favour members of Diaspora 2016 when making appointments to state boards.

In a separate blow to the plan, it is reported that the chief executive of Ireland’s Institute of Directors Maura Quinn has stated that positions on State boards should be ‘filled by people with relevant skills and competencies, rather than people who are members of the Diaspora 2016 initiative’.

Quinn also told the paper that: “Executives living abroad and working long hours would not be able to dedicate enough time to the job or be able to attend board meetings.

“Anybody who is a director on a board will tell you that, no matter how sophisticated the technology, nothing compares to being actually in the room.”

Hartnett told the Irish Times: “There has been much enthusiasm for the proposal but the Government’s response means that the board of the Irish Technology Leadership Group will have to consider ending the initiative.

“We will meet within the next two weeks to discuss it and decide how we should progress.”

Hartnett also confirmed that high-profile and successful entrepreneurs at the likes of Goldman Sachs, Walt Disney, Microsoft and the New York Stock Exchange were among those who had offered to join the Diaspora 2016 initiative.