it@cork elects new Chairperson Caroline O’Driscoll at AGM

it@cork today elected Caroline O’Driscoll as Chair of the not-for-profit organisation at the annual general meeting held in the Clayton Hotel Cork City. Celebrating its 20th year, it@cork represents over 200 companies working in the IT sector in the South of Ireland.

Caroline succeeds Ronan Murphy who has just completed serving his term of two successful years as Chairman. He remains on the Board. The AGM also saw the election of Vice Chair Anthony O’Callaghan, Johnson Controls and two board members Paddy O’ Connell, Berkley and John Drury Box D Consulting.

Speaking following her appointment, Caroline O’Driscoll who is a Tax Partner in KPMG expressed her thanks to outgoing Chair Ronan Murphy and to the Board for their nomination. Ms. O’Driscoll said “I am delighted to have been appointed as Chairperson of it@cork 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”.

Speaking after the AGM, Caroline spoke about the opportunities for the IT sector in the South West Region.

“According to a recent KPMG survey 72% of CEO’s 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. 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. It is also a fantastic place to live – lower house prices, lower commute times, amazing beaches and home to everyone from hurling legends to Olympic champions!

Responsible leadership demands that we continue to articulate all that is great about the thriving IT sector in Cork, we must continue to collaborate, get out of our silos and be limitless in our ambition.

Caroline addressed the challenges and demands facing the industry commenting:

“We need to continue to invest in high quality office space to create viable tech hubs and meet the ongoing expansion demands of our members. We must urgently invest in our education system if we are to truly create the talented workforces of the future. 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 impact of Brexit, Caroline closed by saying: “Our members will need to deal with the impact of Brexit – the flow of data, people, product, and investment is forefront on our members’ minds. 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. Yes, it may be now or never for Cork, but we have all of the ingredients to make it happen. It’s time to go bake a cake”