Chairman, Digicel Group
Denis O'Brien is Chairman of the privately-owned Digicel Group, one of the fastest growing cellular companies in the world.
Mr. O’Brien is one of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs with extensive investments across several sectors including international telecoms, radio, media, property, aircraft leasing, golf and other leisure interests. He also founded Communicorp Group which owns and manages a portfolio of media and broadcasting-related companies in Ireland and seven other European countries.
Mr. O’Brien founded Digicel in 2001 when the company launched a GSM cellular phone service in the Caribbean. The Digicel Group has extended its operations to 32 markets with revenues of over $2 billion pa and over 10 million subscribers in the Caribbean, Pacific and Central and South American region. Digicel has invested in excess of $3.4 billion. In 2005, Digicel was one of the first operators to introduce WiMAX broadband service in the Cayman Islands and has been rolling out corporate and retail wireless broadband services throughout its markets.
Prior to Digicel, in 1991, Mr O’Brien founded the Esat Telecom Group plc to compete against the former state-owned incumbent in Ireland, Eircom plc. Esat quickly established itself as the number two telecommunications company across the full spectrum of telecommunications services, including fixed-line, mobile, data and broadband. Esat was sold to British Telecom Group plc in January 2000 for € 2.4 billion.
Outside of his extensive business interests, Denis chaired the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland. It was the first time the Summer Games were staged outside the US with teams from 160 countries and over 30,000 volunteers, the 2003 Summer Games were the most successful ever.
In addition, he is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Frontline, the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Based in Dublin, Frontline is working to ensure that the standards set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 1998, are known, respected and adhered to worldwide. Frontline’s work consists of research, advocacy, communications/technical assistance and emergency evacuation of human rights activists.
In 2000 he established The Iris O’Brien Foundation to identify and assist projects in Ireland and internationally which aim to alleviate disadvantaged communities.
Denis holds a BA degree from University College Dublin and an MBA from Boston College.