A chief executive at the age of 30

BARRY O’CALLAGHAN took over the role of chief executive at Riverdeep, now EMPG at the age of 30. Before coming on board at the educational media company Mr O’Callaghan was an investment banker for nine years working in London, New York and Hong Kong.

Born in Mitchelstown in 1969, he attended Clongowes Wood and studied law in Trinity College Dublin.

After leaving TCD, Mr O’Callaghan worked in London in the mergers & acquisitions department of Morgan Stanley and then moved on to rival US investment bank Smith Barney before joining Credit Suisse First Boston’s (CSFB) London office in 1997 to head up its telecoms and technology unit.

Riverdeep was founded in 1995 by schoolteacher turned serial entrepreneur Pat McDonagh, who had just generated his business fortune following the flotation of software training firm CBT.

Mr O’Callaghan was recruited by Mr McDonagh in 1999. He took the company public on the Nasdaq and Irish Stock Exchanges in 2000, raising $150m for the company and achieving a market capitalisation of $2 billion on its debut.

He is credited as being Ireland’s first billionaire under 40.

Mr O’Callaghan’s other investments include a stake in the Cliff House hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford, and a holding in Cork radio station, Red FM.


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