Web Summit

Web Summit wrap: It’s no longer Paddy Cosgrave’s party, but he still looms over his creation

New boss Katherine Maher addressed the elephant in the room on opening night, but it did little to dispel chatter about Cosgrave throughout the tech conference in Lisbon

New Web Summit chief executive Katherine Maher at the event in Lisbon last week. Picture: Getty

It was almost inevitable, after all the controversy leading up to Web Summit, that former chief executive Paddy Cosgrave would still be the main topic of conversation during the company’s flagship conference in Lisbon last week.

Despite addressing the elephant in the room on opening night by directly touching on the furore herself, his successor Katherine Maher found herself still being asked questions about Cosgrave days later.

At her first press conference since succeeding Cosgrave, who resigned from the company following a backlash over a comment he made on Israel, Maher reeled off statistics regarding the number of attendees and so on with a smile on her face. However, she became increasingly confrontational come Q&A time as she was repeatedly queried about her predecessor by reporters from across the world.