Founder and Chairman
Denis O’Brien founded Digicel in 2001 serving as the company’s Chairman of the Board until January 2024.
Throughout the development and growth of Digicel, Denis has focused on bringing modern communications technology to underserved and remote communities around the world ultimately driving down prices and delivering valuable services to consumers as they benefit from unique, competitive telecoms technology.
Denis got his start in telecommunications with the Esat Telecom Group, which he founded in 1991, serving as the company’s Chairman and CEO. Initially formed to compete against Eircom, Ireland’s state-owned telephone company at the time, Esat raised $1 billion in equity and bonds over a five-year period, and was listed publicly on the NASDAQ (US), EASDAQ (Amsterdam) and ISEQ (Dublin) stock exchanges and became the number two telecommunications company in Ireland, offering a full range of residential and corporate services. In 2000, he sold Esat Telecom to the British Telecom Group, which gave him funds to start on his next project: Digicel.
Throughout his career, Denis has helped launch or expand a number of businesses in the broadcasting, energy, transportation, and hospitality markets, including: Communicorp (acquired by Bauer Media Group in 2021), Quinta do Lago Resort in Portugal; Actavo, an Irish network infrastructure support company; the Topaz Energy Group; and Aergo Capital, an aircraft leasing firm. In 2019, the Irish US Council recognised Denis for his work with the 2019 Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Denis is the founder and patron of the Digicel Foundation in Jamaica, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad & Tobago which focuses on helping communities with education, special needs and community development. Interventions from the Digicel Foundation have provided help to more than 3 million people through 2,618 projects costing a total of US$156 million.
He was elected Chairman of the Clinton Global Initiative’s Haiti Action Network, which addresses the damages caused by hurricanes and the 2010 earthquake. Denis has driven donor commitments to country-wide reconstruction efforts and has received recognition for his work in aiding Haiti recover from the aftermath of natural disaster receiving the Clinton Global Citizen Award, the National Order of Honour and Merit and the title of Goodwill Ambassador. He also serves as a United Nations Broadband Commissioner for Sustainable Development.