Minister’s u-turn on Shannon Group chair appointment

Minister’s u-turn on Shannon Group chair appointment

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Update:

The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has now said the will not be proceeding with the appointment of Mr Aaron Forde as chairperson of Shannon Group.

In a statement tonight, a Department fo Transport spokesperson said: “In a phone conversation this evening Mr Ryan indicated that Mr Forde’s use of social media was below the standard expected of the chairperson of a state board.

This is an important time for Shannon Group which has to chart a way through the crisis caused by the pandemic and plan for recovery. The Department of Transport will work to appoint a new chairperson as quickly as possible,” the short statement said.

It’s understood the decision by Minister Ryan not to proceed with the appointment relates to a number of social media posts which emerged this afternoon. The posts on Twitter date back some time with one understood to have referenced the traveller community. Mr Forde’s Twitter account was deleted earlier this evening.

A spokesman for the Save Our Shannon (SOS) group said: “The appointment process is a mess and proves how serious Mr. Eamon Ryan as Minister of Transport takes his responsibility to Shannon and the Mid West. We require a high-power Chair at Shannon with aviation expertise and energy.

Mr. Ryan should do the honourable thing and resign immediately. The Mid West deserves better. SOS demand the appointment immediately of an Executive Chairman with appropriate aviation knowledge and capability. The recent chaos has shown that these parameters were not applied in this case.”

Earlier: Shannon Group plc has today welcomed the appointment of Aaron Forde as the new Chairman designate of the Board of Shannon Group.

The announcement was made today by the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD.

Mr Forde will join the Board for a period of five-years and take up the position following his appearance before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications Networks.

Mr. Forde has a track record at a senior level with international leadership experience gained across Ireland and the UK.  He was Chief Executive of Aurivo, a globally focused agri-business with a diverse business portfolio, for 16 years until stepped down at the end of 2019.  In 2019, Aurivo recorded turnover of €446m and employed 650 people. Mr. Forde has previous board experience as Chairman of Ornua from 2013-2019, the Sligo Economic Forum, IBEC, Mid-west radio and the External  Advisory Board of Institute of Technology, Sligo. He is also a director of a number of private companies and An Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

Welcoming the appointment, Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group said: “I would like to welcome Mr. Forde to Shannon Group.  I look forward to working with him and our fellow Board Directors as we continue to implement our recovery strategy in the wake of the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Central to this is our intention to double down and refocus on our mission to build sustainable livelihoods and a vibrant economy for our people and our regions, by shaping opportunities in aviation, property and tourism. Mr. Forde, having led a Global company located in the West of Ireland, brings with him a wealth of experience that will be an asset to Shannon Group.”

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Forde said: “I’m excited to work with the Board, the CEO and team to offer my experience to Shannon Group which, prior to Covid, had been playing a vital role, making a major contribution within the regional and national economy. Pre-Covid, its activities supported over 46,000 jobs, generated an economic impact of €3.6 billion per year, contributing €1.1 billion in Exchequer returns. I look forward to working with all at Shannon Group so that we can chart recovery and build back better and stronger.”

Shannon Group CEO designate Aaron Forde

Transport Minister Eamons Ryan said: ‘I am pleased today to announce the appointment of Aaron Forde as Chairperson of Shannon Group plc. Aaron has a track record at a senior level in his role as CEO of Aurivo, one of the larger Co Operatives in the State, for 16 years. I am very pleased that he has accepted this appointment at what is a very challenging time, particularly for aviation, which is at the heart of Shannon Group’s business. I am confident that Aaron Forde will bring the right mix of skills and drive to this new role.”

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton added: “As someone from the West of Ireland, Aaron Forde has a deep understanding of the challenges and needs of the region, which he will bring to bear in his position as Chairperson of Shannon Group, a key strategic asset at both a regional and national level”.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020

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