Denis O'Brien is Chairman and founder of the privately-owned Digicel Group, one of the fastest growing communications companies in the world.
Denis founded Digicel in 2001 when the company launched a GSM cellular phone service in the Caribbean. Digicel has extended its operations to 33 markets with over 14 million subscribers in the Caribbean, Central America and Pacific regions.
He 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 eight other European countries.
Denis founded the Esat Telecom Group PLC and built it throughout the 1990s until its sale to British Telecom PLC for €2.4 billion.
Outside of his extensive business interests, he 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 in the history of the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Denis is Chairman of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Judging Panel, having previously been a recipient of the award. He serves as a Director on the US Board of Concern Worldwide.
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, Denis established The Iris O’Brien Foundation to identify and assist projects in Ireland and internationally which aim to alleviate disadvantaged communities.
In 2010, he was named Goodwill Ambassador for the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti by the Mayor of Port-au-Prince in recognition of his efforts to rebuild Haiti and attract foreign direct investment in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. Digicel is the single largest private investor in Haiti.
He is also a member of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
Denis holds a Bachelor of Art degree from University College Dublin and a Master of Business Administration from Boston College.