By Harry Keaney
After 30 years, Tuesday of last week was Tony O’Reilly’s last day on the job for the H. J. Heinz Company, headquartered in Pittsburgh.
At the company’s annual meeting, O’Reilly announced a 7 percent increase in the annual dividend. It is the 33rd successive year of dividend increases.
During the meeting, a video was shown with highlights of O’Reilly’s career. O’Reilly was appointed CEO in 1979, 10 years after joining Heinz as head of its British unit. He became chairman in 1987 and went on to become one of the best known and highly paid executives in the U.S.
Looking back on his 30 years with the company, O’Reilly said he was proudest of seeing the market value of the company balloon under his leadership from about $900 million to more than $12 billion. He said he was particularly pleased at having been an Irishman in charge of a major U.S. company, which, he said, underscored "the fairness of Americans."
"They don’t care where you come from, they don’t care what your religion is, they just want to know do you put the share price up or don’t you," he said.
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O’Reilly will now concentrate on his Independent Newspapers group and Waterford Wedgwood, both of which he is chairman.
Maurice Buckley, the president and CEO of the Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the U.S., last week announced details of the chamber’s expanded service for virtual networking through its website www.iccusa.org.
Special cards have been issued to ICCUSA members to access the members-only portion of the site, which offers information on networking, research and other data needed to expand new business opportunities, Buckley said.
Among the features available to ICCUSA members: a directory that facilitates follow-up after chamber meetings and other events as well as for establishing contacts in other parts of the world, an international business forum featuring weekly discussions by top corporate executives on matters pertaining to doing business in Ireland and the U.S., and a business opportunities board providing members with a location for posting descriptions of services and goods available.
The website was built and is operated by William McLaughlin, president of ICCUSA’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter. "We know that this will be a powerful business tool for ICCUSA members, taking networking to the next level," he said.
Members may also link their own websites to ICCUSA’s, which can provide instant access to a broad range of corporate and professional resources in both the U.S. and Ireland, according to Buckley.
A special edition of "News from ICC" may be accessed by logging onto firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don Carroll dies
The death occurred last week in Ireland of Don Carroll, one of the country’s best known businessmen. He was 73 and a native of Cork.
For many years, he was chairman of the family business, Carroll Industries, which included P.J. Carroll & Company, the cigarette makers. He was also governor of the Bank of Ireland on several occasions.