Donal Geaney, former CEO and chairman of Elan, passed away on October 7 after a long illness. Born and raised in Clontarf, North County Dublin, Geaney’s father and grandfather were noted entrepreneurs who ran a wholesale business.
After graduating from Trinity College with a business degree he spent 14 years working as an accountant with SKC. During this time he met Donald Panoz, a West Virginian who founded Elan in Ireland in 1969. Panoz made Geaney executive vice president of the company in 1987. On January 1, 1995 Geaney became Chief Executive and the following year, after Panoz’s retirement, he became Chairman as well. During his 17 years with the company he turned Elan from a small enterprise with $2 million turnover into the largest company quoted on the Irish stock exchange, worth 24.5 billion.
A former Business 100 honoree, Geaney was also chairman of the Shannon-based Irish Aviation Authority, a director of Bank of Ireland and chairman of the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) whose assets total over 14 billion. Geaney, who was 54 years old, is survived by his wife Anne and three sons. ♦