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Marie O’Connor appointed as first female Chair of UCD Governing Authority

Posted 22 February, 2019

  • UCD Governing Authority announces appointment of first female Chair of Governing Authority, Marie O’Connor.
  • GA appoints chairs of two standing committees: Chair of Finance Committee, Charles Coase and Chair of Audit and Risk Committee, Isabel Foley.

The Governing Authority of University College Dublin has announced the appointment of Marie O’Connor as Chair for a five-year term. 

This is the first time in its 165-year history that the University has appointed a woman to this role.

Welcoming the announcement, the President of University College Dublin, Professor Andrew Deeks said: “With extensive experience in her professional career as partner of PwC, combined with her promotion of women in public and professional spheres and her deep commitment to the value of education, Marie O’Connor is an excellent appointment to the Chair of the UCD Governing Authority.

"I have no doubt that she will make a significant contribution to UCD as we travel forward on our ambitious journey to provide a world-class education for our students – guiding them to become global citizens,  and to provide an environment that encourages scholarship to build on our knowledge and research that tackles global issues and positively impacts society.

He added: "I am delighted that Charles Coase has been reappointed as Chair of FRAMC and Isabel Foley, who has served as a member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee, has now been appointed Chair of ARMC.  They bring considerable expertise and experience to us in a spirit of genuine public service.

"In welcoming these new appointments, I would publicly thank Eugene McCague for chairing the UCD GA over the past five years.  As new – not just to UCD, but to Ireland – I deeply appreciated the guidance and counsel he gave to me so generously. 

"There is no doubt that he made a significant contribution to UCD and thank him for his commitment and his support.  My thanks also to Adrian Burke, who chaired the ARMC in the last Governing Authority, for his commitment and contribution to the University.”

Responding to her appointment, Marie O’Connor said: “I am honoured to be appointed as Chair of the Governing Authority of UCD.  This university has always strived to fulfil its mission to contribute to society through the work of the faculty, through innovative research and by educating the next generation of critical and creative thinkers who strive to make a difference in our world.

"I look forward to this role and to working with the President and members of the Governing Authority”.

Marie O’Connor, (FCCA, BL Kings Inns, Dip Bus Studies DIT) was the first woman to be admitted as a partner to Price Waterhouse and was an audit and business advisory partner of PwC Ireland for 30 years until her retirement in 2017. 

She established and led PwC's Irish Asset Management practice, and was a member of PwC's Global Investment Management Leadership executive.

She has been a member of the Advisory Board to the President of UCD since 2016. 

She was a founder member and the country lead for the 30% Club in Ireland, which promotes gender diversity in business, and in November 2017 was appointed by the Government to lead taskforce on Gender Balance in Higher Education in Ireland.

She is a non-executive director and during her career has served on a number of State boards and business organisations including; Ireland US Council, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, DCU Business School advisory board, Dublin Airport Authority and IDA Ireland.

Chair of Audit and Risk Management Committee (ARMC)

Isabel Foley (BCL UCD), is a partner at leading Irish law firm, Arthur Cox, specialising in litigation and dispute resolution. 

She is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Maternity Hospital (Holles Street).

She has been an external member of the UCD ARMC since September 2017.

Chair of Finance, Remuneration and Asset Management Committee (FRAMC)

Charles Coase (FCA, MA Oxford), qualified as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse in London before a career with Diageo that spanned 25 years.

Since his retirement he has served as a trustee on a number of pension schemes.  He is also a member of the board of the Iveagh Trust.

Since 2014 he has been a member of the Governing Authority of University College Dublin and has served as Chair of the Finance, Remuneration and Asset Management Committee (FRAMC).

By: Eilis O'Brien, UCD University Relations