Even though Ireland was largely bypassed during the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century, it saw a dramatic economic reversal in the 1990s. Nicknamed the ‘Celtic Tiger’, the Irish economy experienced massive surge in the period 1995-2007. Part of this was driven by relatively low corporate tax which encouraged globally recognized companies like Dell, Intel and Microsoft to set base in Ireland while part of it was due to professionalization of financial services like banking, investment and insurance. Here are some of the movers and shakers of the Irish economy who also make up the richest men in the land.$MM-DATING3-OPTIN$
- Pallonji Mistry
The Irish presence in Forbes 2012 list of World Billionaires1 is headed by construction magnate Pallonji Mistry who has a net worth of $9.8 billion as of October 2012. Though of Indian origin, Pallonji Mistry has long held an Irish citizenship. Founder and patriarch of construction giant Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Pallonji Mistry handed over the chairman's mantle of group to older son Shapoor in June 2012. Apart from their construction company, the Mistry family has long been the biggest shareholder in Tata Sons with an 18.4% stake in the holding outfit of the Tata conglomerate which is estimated to be worth around $100 billion by revenues. The Mistry family’s influence on Tata Sons seems further assured with younger son Cyrus set to replace Indian business legend Ratan Tata as chairman of Tata Sons when Tata retires in December 2012. According to Forbes, the Mistry family's fortune is up $2.2 billion this year, after new disclosures on holdings.
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- Denis O’Brien
With a net worth of $5 billion as of March 2012, Denis O’Brien is the second richest man in Ireland and also figures on 205th position among the world’s billionaires. The source of O’Brien’s wealth lies in telecommunications and he heads Digicell, based in Jamaica, It provides mobile services in 26 countries and territories throughout the Caribbean and Central America with more than six million wireless users. In 2010, Digicel bought out sister company Digicel Pacific for $825 million. On March 30th, 2012, Digicel acquired Comcel/Voila, its main competitor in Haiti for 97 million dollars. O'Brien's other holdings include radio stations, online recruiting sites in China, and a Portuguese resort.
The son of a human rights activist, Denis O’Brien has been an active philanthropist and contributed to various charitable causes. He created the nonprofit organization Front Line to fly activists out of harm's way. He has helped Haiti recover from the 2010 earthquake in several ways – by funding the restoration of Haiti's century-old Iron Market with his own money, and also by building 50 primary and secondary schools in the last 18 months. As a result of all these initiatives, O’Brien was the National Order of Honour and Merit form the Haitian president in 2011.
- John Dorrance III
John Dorrance III owes his $2.4 billion fortune to Campbell Soups that had been founded by his grandfather, John Thompson Dorrance who created condensed soup and served as president of the Campbell Soup Company from 1914 to 1930. However John Dorrance III cashed out of the family business when he sold his 10.5% stake in 1995-1996. The Campbell heir renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to Ireland prior to the sale and many financial experts believe that the move was motivated so as to avoid paying capital gains taxes.
Currently the 68 year old billionaire lives quietly in South Dublin, while frequenting the Bahamas with his Finnish wife. In the past, Dorrance joined movements to legalize game ranching in Wyoming and fox hunting in Great Britain.
- Martin Naughton
With a net worth of $ 2 billion, Martin Naughton figures among the top five richest men in Ireland. An aeronautical engineer by training, Naughton founded Glen Electric in 1973, acquired Dimplex four years later, and built it into the world's largest manufacturer of electrical heating appliances. The range of products from Dimplex is huge and includes stoves, electrical fireplaces, space heaters, decorative fires, water heaters. In 2003, Naughton became the sole owner of Glen Dimplex and has since been looking to diversify. In keeping with this policy, the company in 2011, acquired the U.K. gas company, Valor. Naughton's stake in Glen Dimplex is estimated worth around £273 million besides which he has other investments including an art collection, property in Dublin and shares in the Merrion Hotel Group and the Sunday Tribune newspaper.
The 73 year old self-made billionaire lives in Maeth; he is married and father of three children. Naughton is also a trustee emeritus at University of Notre Dame in Indiana and has been awarded with an honorary degree (Doctor of Science) for his services to promote business in Northern Ireland.
- Dermot Desmond
Financier and investor Dermot Desmond easily ranks among the richest men in Ireland with a net worth of $1.2 billion. Desmond started his career at Citibank, before working briefly as a banking consultant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Afghanistan. He founded NCB Stockbrokers in 1981 which went on to become Ireland's largest independent brokerage. After having sold NCB in 1994 for $39 million, Desmond started his own private equity firm, International Investment & Underwriting. His current investments include international betting exchange BETDAQ, online education outfit Intuition, Glasgow soccer club Celtic PLC, and mapping software company espatial.
Nicknamed "The Kaiser" for his distinctive mustache, Desmond is married and father of four children. He resides in Dublin and is believed to be an avid golfer. Above all Dermot Desmond is credited with helping transform Ireland's economy in the late 1980s with a proposal for Dublin's International Financial Services Centre – from an absolute "no go" part of town for all the middle-class people, Desmond’s initiative turned it into a bustling center not only with offices but also shops, pubs, restaurants, a weekly farmer’s market and has even hosted the Spiegeltent as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival2.