Belfast Telegraph

Brian Conlon, founder of Newry firm First Derivatives, dies aged 53

Brian Conlon, who has passed away aged 53
Brian Conlon, who has passed away aged 53

One of Northern Ireland's most successful businessmen, Brian Conlon, has died aged 53.

Mr Conlon was the founder and chief executive of the Newry-based software and consulting firm First Derivatives.

He founded the company in 1996 and grew it into a business with more than 2,000 staff, valued at £1bn.

Back in May, it was announced that Mr Conlon had been diagnosed with cancer, but would continue heading up the company while undergoing treatment.

The same month, the firm reached a milestone when it hit £200m in revenue for the first time.

Mr Conlon, who once played GAA for the Co Down senior team in 1980s, began his career with accountants KPMG.

He has regularly made it to various rich lists in recent years, with an estimated wealth of more than £200m.

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty, who was an employee of Mr Conlon's for a period, described him as a "revelation" in business and a "leading light".

"Brian spotted global opportunity where no one else did. But on top of that he combined pride in his home town of Newry with his knowledge that the people of the North have the education and drive to excel," he said.

"A proud GAA man Brian was always keen to give back and support the sport he loved and excelled at as a young Abbey, Mitchels and Down player.

"I am very proud to have know this great man and to have called him my boss for a time. Brian was a family man, an extraordinary entrepreneur, a business man, and a sportsman. He will he sadly missed by his family, friends, colleagues, clients, community and team mates.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Julie and his kids, his family, friends and colleagues at this devastatingly sad time."

Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy expressed his condolences to Mr Conlon's family.

“I engaged with Brian on numerous occasions and always found him to be hugely committed to the Newry area and region," he said.

“Brain Conlon and his partners have grown First Derivatives from a small local company into a globally renowned company, over those years they have given many young people from the area and across Ireland opportunities to gain employment and to travel the world.

“I would like to extend my sympathy to Brian’s wife, children and entire family circle.”

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