Eddie O'Connor of Mainstream Renewable Power talks about his extraordinary career and remaining ambitions at The Signium Interview
Signium was delighted to host Eddie O’Connor at The Signium Interview on Wednesday 27th September in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Over breakfast, Eddie gave our guests, over 70 senior business leaders from a very diverse range of industries, a fascinating insight into the professional and personal qualities that have made him so successful.
Eddie is Ireland’s best-known Renewable Energy entrepreneur and with multi-billion euro projects in markets like Chile, Vietnam and South Africa the scale of his achievements are truly remarkable. Having started his career in the ESB, he went on to turn Bord na Mona from a €20m loss-making concern into a €5m profit-making company under his stewardship. Once he left the semi-state sector and founded Airtricity, to become Ireland’s first global renewable energy company, his career went into overdrive. In 2008, a mere eleven years after founding it, Airtricity was sold to E.On and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) for €1.8 billion.
Not content with this, Eddie established Mainstream and has built a truly global business across Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia with a portfolio of 9,000MW of power generation, in operation or development, and a recognised world leader in the sector. In conversation with Paul Holland of Signium and taking questions from the floor, Eddie gave us fascinating insights into among other things:
- How close he came to losing Mainstream…..”I had to reach into my own pocket”
- Why understanding and respecting local cultures is the most important thing to get right when building a global business…..”Kenya has 56 different languages”
- How the renewable industry sector has reached its tipping point “our iPhone moment, we are now cheaper than coal”
- The importance of purpose in your business life
- How to develop resilience
- How to treat those that are delivering for you (and those that are not!)
- His remaining ambitions – “I’d like to electrify Africa!”
We’d like to thank Eddie most sincerely for giving up his time to attend and being so open and insightful.
Many thanks also to all of our guests who attended, the reaction we received was fantastic and there was little doubt amongst those present that, if they were to pick one man who could electrify Africa, its Eddie O’Connor!
You can also see photos of the event here; The Signium Interview 2017