Denis O' Brien
About Denis O'Brien
In 1991, he made his start in the telecommunications sector by forming Esat Telecom. For the next nine years, he served as Esat’s Chairman and CEO, establishing the company as the second largest telecommunications company in Ireland and floating it on NASDAQ in 1997. In 2000, he sold Esat to the BT Group, using the funds from the sale to help finance his next business venture: Digicel Group.
O’Brien founded Digicel in 2001 and continues to serve as Chairman today. Since its founding, O’Brien has overseen the opening of 32 telecommunications markets in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific with major operations in Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago. Under his leadership, Digicel has focused on democratising communications with a particular focus on connecting underserved or remote communities to transformative communications technologies. He continues to push Digicel to reach more people in more places so that everyone can participate in and benefit from the knowledge economy.
As a serial entrepreneur, Denis O’Brien has a wide range of business interests. In addition, he owns the Quinta do Lago golf and wellness resort in Portugal, PGA Catalunya in Spain and the Beacon Private Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. He also has an extensive portfolio of property investments.
O’Brien is passionate about giving back to his communities. He founded the first Digicel Foundation in Jamaica in 2004 in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan with a vision of helping to create a world where no one gets left behind. Currently, he serves as a United Nations Broadband Commissioner for Digital Development, where he is helping promote access to broadband internet in developing countries and forcing big tech to contribute to the cost of bringing broadband access to the 3.5 billion people who currently don’t have access to the internet. Additionally, Denis serves on the board of Concern Worldwide US, an organisation dedicated to helping make positive change around the world.
In celebration of 20 years of doing business, Digicel Jamaica partnered with Digicel Foundation to provide 20 grants to community-based projects across the island nation.
Child homelessness and poverty is a dire issue in Jamaica. According to UNICEF, one in four children in Jamaica live in poverty, and 73,000 children
Across the globe, lives have been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While disruptions in routine can be difficult for everyone, they can be especially
Denis O’Brien has time and again channelled his energy and resources into giving back and providing opportunities for others. With a particular focus on helping communities within his Digicel markets, he founded the first Digicel Foundation in 2004 in Jamaica. Since its formation, programmes and interventions from the Foundation have helped millions of people across Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago, particularly in the fields of special needs, education and community development.
Denis O’Brien serves on the Board of Directors for Concern Worldwide U.S., which aims to serve impoverished communities around the world through volunteer work and developmental programmes, and as Chairman of the Council of Patrons for Special Olympics Ireland – a relationship which dates back to when he served as Chair of the 2003 World Summer Games in Ireland. He also funds the Iris O’Brien Foundation, which is focused on promoting human rights, helping people affected by disasters, supporting people with disabilities, educational causes and the promotion of the arts.
He has invested in his alma maters. The O’Brien Centre of Science at Dublin University College was funded by and named after him, and he has pledged financial support to students pursuing an MBA at the Boston College Carroll School of Management through the O’Brien Fellowship.