Sean C. James
President and CEO
Wagner Holdings, Inc.
Revenue: $250 million
“If you are satisfied, you’re in a rut,” Sean C. James declares with a drive characteristic of his personal and professional life. Recruited in 1987 to turn around a troubled Wagner Spray Tech Corporation, James has led the development of this business from $40 million to $250 million.
As CEO of Wagner Holdings Inc., James has responsibility for all of Wagner’s business in North and South America. With companies located in Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey and Brazil, Wagner Holdings focuses on the manufacture and marketing of painting equipment for consumer, contractor and industrial applications.
Born in Ballina, County Mayo, James immigrated to New York in 1961. He graduated from Manhattan College and worked for Price Waterhouse before moving to Black &Decker. His tenure there culminated in his position as divisional vice president, general manager with assignments in both domestic and international operations before he left to join Wagner Spray Tech.
Ever loyal to his native Ireland, James is a founding member of the Minnesota/Ireland Chamber of Commerce, and currently sits on the board. His wife hails from Brosna, County Kerry and they have two sons. With his inclusion in this listing he expresses the hope that, “My `native born’ status may be some small encouragement to today’s Irish emigrants whose strong educational foundation provides accelerated access to the opportunity America offers, to realize their potential while still being in the `emigrant’ status.”
Joseph R. Kane, Jr.
Days Inns of America, Inc.
Revenue: $1.9 billion
With over 33 years of hotel industry experience, Joseph R. Kane leads the world’s largest hotel franchise network, Days Inns. The hotel chain can be found in Canada, Colombia, India, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Uruguay, the United States, and will soon be introduced in Europe.
A Naugatuck, Connecticut native, Kane began his hotel career at the age of 16, working summers in hotels in New Hampshire. To this day, his personal motto remains unchanged: “In the world of hospitality, no single brand, property owner, or team member is more important than the number one priority of any lodging business — a satisfied guest.”
Kane attended Paul Smith College in New York where he earned a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. He also holds the prestigious Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) designation.
He is a third-generation Irish American, with roots on his father’s side in Counties Cavan and Kilkenny. He and his wife Maureen have a daughter Erin, twin sons Paul and Joseph, and a granddaughter, Amber.
John F. Keane
Revenue: $I billion +
Employees: 10,000 +
John F. Keane is chairman, chief executive officer and founder of Keane, Inc., an application development, outsourcing and integration services firm which helps Fortune 1000 corporations, government agencies and healthcare institutions unleash the power of information technology.
Prior to founding Keane Inc. in 1965, Keane worked for IBM, and was a marketing and management consultant for Arthur D. Little.
Keane is a member of ITAA (Information Technology Association of America), the national computer software and services trade association. He serves as a trustee of the Massachusetts Software Council, Inc., and is a member of the Mass High Tech Council. He is also a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council on Economic Growth and Technology, a director of EG&G, a global technology company, and of Firstwave Technologies, and he serves on the board of overseers of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard School of Business Administration, Keane was awarded Harvard Business School’s Alumni Achievement Award in 1999. An avid sportsman, he is a three-time national sailing champion of the International 210 Class. He is married with three grown children and traces his roots back to County Clare.
Denis P. Kelleher
Wall Street Access
Denis Kelleher emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. in 1958 and began his career as a messenger for Merrill Lynch. Drive, ambition and a healthy dose of talent soon marked him out as one of the company’s experts on the operating side of the business, and he moved quickly up the ranks.
By 1980, Kelleher had founded his own company, Wall Street Investor Services, now Wall Street Access — a diversified financial services organization with expertise in asset management, bank brokerage programs and discount brokerage. It processes billions of dollars in transactions annually and is listed on the U.S. Stock Exchange.
Kelleher graduated St. John’s University, New York with a B.S. degree. He serves on the board of the Irish Investment Fund, the Staten Island Savings Bank and St. John’s University. He is a member of the American Ireland Fund and was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1995. He is married with three children.
Donald R. Keough
Chairman of the Board
Don Keough was elected chairman of Allen &Company, a New York investment banking firm, in 1993. At the time of his appointment he was still serving as president of the Coca-Cola Company. Having been with the company for 43 years, Keough retired from Coca-Cola shortly after joining Allen &Company. He still acts as an advisor to Coca-Cola’s board, however, along with serving on the boards of the Washington Post and H.J. Heinz Co., among others.
A native of Iowa, Keough served in the Navy and earned a degree in philosophy from Creighton University. He was later awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater. He has also received honorary doctorates from Trinity College Dublin and the University of Notre Dame, where he and his wife Marilyn endowed a chair of Irish Studies in 1993.
Keough has served on the Irish government’s economic advisory board and has led several U.S. delegations to Ireland to promote economic development. He traces his roots back to County Wexford.♦