Birthday: April 19, 1958
Age: 62 Years, 62 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Aries
Born in: Republic of Ireland
Famous as: Entrepreneur
Spouse/Ex-: Catherine Walsh
father: Dan,Denis O’Brien Sr.
mother: Iris O’Brien
siblings: Abigail, Joanne, Kerry
Founder/Co-Founder: BT Ireland, Digicel, Communicorp, Front Line Defenders
education: Boston College, University College Dublin
Denis O’Brien is an Irish entrepreneur who was listed among the World's Top 200 Billionaires in 2015. He is the owner of Communicorp, a media holding company based in Ireland with operations across Europe. It is one of the biggest media companies in Ireland where it operates radio stations like ‘Newstalk ‘and ‘Today FM’. His group also controls newspapers like ‘Irish Independent’, the ‘Irish Daily Star’, the ‘Sunday Independent’, the ‘Sunday World’, and ‘Dublin's Evening Herald’. Born into a middle-class family in County Cork, O’Brien harbored ambitious dreams from a young age. Hard working and gifted with a natural flair for business, he starting earning money when he was 14, working as a bell boy in the Central Hotel in Dublin. He also took up a job cleaning his school to earn some extra money. His father worked as a veterinary supplier and young Denis often accompanied him on his trips to sell the drugs his company produced. He went on to earn an MBA. After working for a few years, he embarked on a career as an entrepreneur and acquired a stake in the Esat Digifone consortium and soon became a major player in the Irish media sector. Today, he is one of the richest people in the world and Ireland's richest native-born citizen
Childhood & Early Life
Denis O’Brien was born on 19 April, 1958 in County Cork, Ireland. He has one brother and two sisters. His father worked as a veterinary supplier.
He was interested in earning money from a young age. At the age of 14, he started working as a bell boy in the Central Hotel in Dublin. He also took up summer jobs during the school holidays and used to accompany his father on trips selling the equine drugs his father’s company manufactured. He honed his entrepreneurial skills through all these experiences.
After completing his high school he went to study politics, history and logic at University College Dublin and graduated in 1977. He won a scholarship from Boston College from where he completed his M.B.A in corporate finance in 1982.
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After his graduation his first job was as an assistant manager of Trinity Bank, a small merchant bank in Dublin. He, however, had bigger dreams for himself and wrote to Dr. Tony Ryan, the founder of Shannon-based aircraft leasing group GPA, asking for a job.
Dr. Ryan was impressed by the young man’s confidence and appointed him as his PA. At that time GPA was the biggest owner of large commercial aircraft in the world and it was the first time O’Brien got exposed to the international world of business.
In 1989, he formed Communicorp, which launched its radio operations in Ireland the same year. In 1992, Communicorp started operations in the Czech Republic and later ventured into Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary and Ukraine as well.
In 1990, he founded Esat Telecom, a telecommunication company. Prior to this he had unsuccessfully attempted to bid for Ireland's communications satellite licence.
Over the next few years Esat telecom applied to the Department of Communications for a telecommunications licence several times and was finally granted a limited one in March 1993.
The company officially launched its services in April 1994. The next year he set up the Esat Digifone consortium, which submitted a bid for the second Irish GSM mobile phone license and defeated five other applicants. Over the next few years Esat Digifone boomed and O’Brien sold the company to BT in 2000, making a personal profit of €317 million from the sale.
He founded the aircraft leasing company Aergo Capital in 1999. Based in Dublin, the company also has offices in Chicago, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Santiago. Aergo is ranked among the 20 largest aircraft-leasing firms in the world.
O’Brien decided to venture into the Caribbean after Jamaica decided to open its phone market up for competition after years of being under the control of the large British company Cable & Wireless. He founded Digicel in Jamaica in 2001 which proved to be an immediate success, garnering over 1,00,000 customers in approximately 100 days.
He started acquiring stakes in Tony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media (INM) in 2006. Over the ensuing years, he significantly increased his ownership in the media house by accumulating additional shares in the company and became the company's second-biggest shareholder behind Tony O'Reilly. By May 2012, he had increased his ownership to a 29.9% stake in INM, making him the largest shareholder.
He is the founder and owner of Digicel, a mobile phone network provider headquartered at Kingston, Jamaica, which has about 13 million wireless users. The network operates across 31 markets which include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, and Vanuatu.
Awards & Achievements
Denis O’Brien was presented with the title "Clinton Global Citizen" as part of an awards scheme connected with the Clinton Global Initiative think tank in 2012.
Personal Life & Legacy
Denis O’Brien married Catherine Walsh in 1997. Walsh had previously headed the marketing arm of Independent Radio Sales. The couple has four children.
Along with former American President Bill Clinton, Denis O’Brien was a prominent investor of time and money in Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010.
U.S. government agency USAID transferred money over Digicel's mobile network with which free mobile phones and free Digicel accounts were provided to the citizens of Haiti.
As of 2015, Denis O’Brien has an estimated net worth of $6.8 billion