The EY Podcast

CEO Outlook: Ireland's success in attracting FDI, with Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland

July 22, 2020 EY Season 1 Episode 3
The EY Podcast
CEO Outlook: Ireland's success in attracting FDI, with Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland
Show Notes

Ireland’s ability to attract and nurture major multinational companies is world-renowned. The FDI sector has been credited with helping Ireland emerge from the last recession, and, today, multinationals employ almost 250,000 people in Ireland and contribute over €22bn to the economy.  

At the heart of that success story lies the IDA. The semi-state body, responsible for promoting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Ireland, has helped this country compete on a global scale in the face of intense competition. 

Martin Shanahan became CEO of the IDA in 2014 and in that time has overseen record levels of FDI employment, exceeding targets set by government in the body’s most recent 5-yr strategy. Shanahan is keenly aware of where Ireland once was, and how Foreign Direct Investment has been pivotal in turning the country into a successful, modern economy.  

In this episode of The EY Podcast: CEO Series, Martin Shanahan tells Richard Curran about his journey from hotel management to CEO of one of the country’s most important agencies, applying his ‘get stuck in’ philosophy at every step along the way. In his role, Shanahan must design a successful strategy in the face of unpredictable global forces such as Brexit, challenges to Ireland’s corporate tax rate, and the COVID-19 crisis. In this interview, he outlines his approach to this challenge, and talks about many other topics besides, including: 

  • The most common questions that the bosses of multinational companies ask about Ireland (how highly corporate tax rate ranks on that list may surprise people)   
  • His reaction to the recent ruling by the European General Court on Apple’s tax liabilities in Ireland 
  • Why he does not believe that the growth of multinationals has contributed to rising house prices and a shortage of supply.  
  • The skills he looks for in an IDA team member 
  • The big sectors of the future and the opportunities for Ireland as a result 
  • His business mantra, favourite book and film, and advise for other CEOs