By Harry Keaney
John Sharkey is retiring this week from his position as vice president of MCI WorldCom, having spent 13 years with the global telecommunications company, which has operations in more than 65 countries, 70,000 employees and yearly revenues of $34 billion.
His retirement comes the same week as the Smurfit Business School, at University College Dublin, announced that Ireland’s first chair in electronic commerce has been named in Sharkey’s honor.
Sharkey, a board member of the Smurfit Business School, said that e-commerce has a special significance for Ireland, as it enables businesses to move to the forefront of innovation and to fully capitalize on Ireland’s position as a gateway to Europe by increasing their competitive advantage in areas such as speed-to-market for products and services.
He added that Ireland is already a high-tech economy, the world’s second largest exporter of software after the U.S., and the location of choice for U.S. call and technical support centers in Europe.
The Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business was one of the first three universities worldwide to introduce a graduate-level course in electronic commerce in January 1995. Since then, more than 160 students have taken the course.
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Partial funding for the chair in electronic commerce, which entails a commitment of $750,000 during five years, is already under way. Leading the fund-raising effort is Thomas Moran, chairman of the North American advisory board at the Smurfit Business School and president and CEO of Mutual of America Life Insurance Company of New York. In the U.S., contributions are being administered by the American Ireland Fund.