By Eimear Dodd Journalism MA student, @TheCity_Dublin editor, @Irish_TechNews

Caroline O’Driscoll was elected as Chair of [email protected] at its annual general meeting held in the Clayton Hotel Cork city on 11 April 2017.

Now in its 20th year, [email protected] is a not-for-profit independent business organisation which represents the interests of over 200 local and international companies working in the IT industry in the south of Ireland.

“According to a recent KPMG survey 72% of CEOs globally believe that the next 3 years will be more critical for their industry that the last 50 years. For Cork, arguably it’s now or never to capitalise on this opportunity.” Caroline O’Driscoll said following her election.

“We have a lot going for us. With employment in Cork-based IDA supported IT companies growing by 63% in the last 5 years alone, the IT sector continues to expand at an incredible pace. On our doorstep, we have a hugely talented workforce, world leading third level institutions, a pro-business friendly environment and a thriving start up eco system.” she continued.

Ms O’Driscoll, who is a Tax Partner in KPMG, succeeds Ronan Murphy. Ronan, who has just completed serving a term of two years as chair, will remain as a member of the Board.

Speaking about her election, Ms O’Driscoll said “I am delighted to have been appointed as Chairperson of [email protected] at such a pivotal moment of growth and opportunity for the IT industry. I want to pay special tribute to Ronan Murphy, one of the most driven, hardworking, enthusiastic people I have had the privilege of working with. I look forward to working with our members in the weeks and months ahead”.

The AGM also saw the election of Vice Chair Anthony O’Callaghan of Johnson Controls and two board members Paddy O’ Connell of Berkley and John Drury from Box D Consulting.

Caroline also spoke about two of the major challenges facing the IT industry-the need for further investment in STEM education and the risks of Brexit.

Of the requirement for investment in education, she said: “Education is not keeping pace with the relentless evolution of technology. Companies are working at ways to integrate Artificial Intelligence solutions into their businesses, but coding is not even on the school curriculum – worse again, science isn’t even compulsory for the Junior Certificate. STEM skills remain wholly inadequate at secondary school level and we must act now to address this”

Commenting on the possible effects of Brexit, Caroline O’Driscoll said: “For many Irish entrepreneurs, the first step into international markets takes them to the UK first in terms of scaling their business. But where there are threats, there are opportunities. Post Brexit, we will be the 2nd largest English speaking city in Europe. Our time has come.”

[email protected] will host its annual technology conference on 4 May 2017 featuring thought provoking debate on Artificial Intelligence, MedTech and the future of our working, technology enabled, environments. See www.itcork.ie for more information


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