Belfast Telegraph

All systems go as CEOs touch down

Final preparations were today being made for the US:NI investment conference which takes place in Belfast later this week.

Officials from the Department of Enterprise and Invest NI were working over the Bank Holiday weekend to ensure that everything is in place for the arrival of the VIP guests on Wednesday.

More than 100 senior executives from over 80 companies are set to attend the conference, which runs until lunchtime on Friday.

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, will be present on Thursday afternoon when the delegates will be at Parliament Buildings.

But the main business session will take place on Thursday morning at the BBC’s Blackstaff Studio in Great Victoria Street.

Economy Minister Nigel Dodds said: “This conference is a unique opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland to corporate America and show them that we are very much open for business.

“Our visitors will see at first hand the greater stability and optimism for the future, since the restoration of devolution.

“We will demonstrate the expertise and skills of our workforce, the first-class research base which exists in our universities and the quality infrastructure base which underpins our support for enterprise.”

Helping to sell Northern Ireland as an investment location will be representatives of a number of American companies which have already located here, who will be addressing delegates at Blackstaff Studio.

They include Mike Zafirovski from Nortel, Jim Foster from Citi, John Spangler from Seagate, Bill Rohner from Caterpillar, Cathy Brune from Allstate Insurance and Stuart McGuigan of Liberty Mutual.

Speaking at Parliament Buildings, meanwhile, will be Mayor Michael Bloomberg from New York and Sir Anthony O’Reilly, CEO of Independent News & Media, owners of the Belfast Telegraph.

Belfast Telegraph