The Irish advantage: former Unilever chief executive Niall FitzGerald

In an interview for the new book Ireland Inc, former Unilever chief executive Niall FitzGerald talks about why he left Ireland to further his career, and the lessons he learned from being an Irish outsider in British and American boardrooms

10th December, 2017
Niall FitzGerald: ‘For a small nation to assume it can provide all the opportunities for a smart, hard-working population is unrealistic’ Picture: Barry Cronin

With a globetrotting career spanning more than 30 years at one of the world’s biggest multinational companies, Niall FitzGerald is renowned for his various roles – including those of chairman and chief executive officer with Unilever.

In the late 1960s, the landscape of Irish business did not afford FitzGerald the freedom he desired. To his mind, Ireland was at that time claustrophobic and narrow and, due to views and values on which he was...

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