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Seven new board members appointed to Invest NI

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Invest NI headquarters, Bedford Street, Belfast

Invest NI headquarters, Bedford Street, Belfast

Invest NI headquarters, Bedford Street, Belfast

A former Marks & Spencer executive is one of seven new board members appointed to economic development agency Invest NI.

Dominic Darby, Melanie Dawson, Dawn McLaughlin, Ciaran Mulgrew, Patrick O’Gorman, Julie-Ann O’Hare and Scott Ritchie have been appointed by Economy Minister Gordon Lyons for three years.

The minister said: “Invest NI plays a crucial role in helping to transform Northern Ireland into a globally competitive economy working for everyone and I welcome these new appointments to the board.

“The wealth of knowledge, skills and experience that I know they will bring will be invaluable as Invest NI continues to work to attract foreign investment and support our local businesses to create jobs, innovate and grow their exports through my department’s vision to deliver a decade of innovation through the 10X Economy.

“I would like to wish them every success in their work supporting the Invest NI chair and chief executive.”

Board members at Invest NI are paid £12,768 a year. 

Dominic Darby is a former head of food technology at M&S and also worked as head of innovation at Finnebrogue in Northern Ireland. He now owns his own business, Bread & Butter Consulting. 

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Ciaran Mulgrew was the owner and managing director of Niche Drinks Co in Londonderry until its sale last year to US plc MGP Luxco.  

Dawn McLaughlin is a chartered accountant and past president of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and a founder member of the Support My Business NI initiative. 

Patrick O’Gorman is a qualified chartered surveyor and owner since 2013 of Bywater Properties, which has developments in Belfast city centre including Grade A office space at Donegall Place. 

Julie-Ann O’Hare has worked for nearly 30 years in corporate banking, including at Bank of Ireland, and also worked at Randox Laboratories.

Scott Ritchie has worked in executive positions in the global telecoms and IT sectors and has investments in the fintech sector.  

Melanie Dawson is a fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers who has worked for construction and consulting firms across Northern Ireland. She is also an associate advisor at the Strategic Investment Board for Northern Ireland as an associate advisor. She is paid £336 per day by the SIB.

Invest NI has been subject to a review led by Sir Michael Lyons, which is to report on matters including its capacity to deliver the department’s 10X Economy plan.

It’s also on the hunt for a new chief executive. Business Telegraph this week revealed that Berwick Partners, part of the Odgers Berndtson Group in Belgium, has been appointed ‘executive search partner’.


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