20 Things You Should Know About Denis O’Brien – Digicel’s Chairman

Whether he’s in the news for his high profile persona, his wheeling and dealing, his charitable work in Haiti, his commitment to autism, his Digicel empire, or his legal battles, Denis O’Brien is a multifaceted man. Here are 20 things we found out about him recently.

  1. Denis O’Brien is a citizen of Ireland (nonresident for tax purposes), where he is the second-richest man. He is #205 in the world on the Forbes Billionaires list.
  2. O’Brien has a net worth of at least US$5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes as at March 2012.
  3. Born April 19, 1958 he will be 55-years-old in 2013.
  4. He is Chairman of Kingston, Jamaica-based Digicel Group Ltd., the largest telecommunications company in the Caribbean.
  5. O’Brien has two plane crews, and is buying a Gulfstream 650, which will be delivered to him in a few months. He has a Gulfstream 550 jet plane, and says “I fly three-to-four times as much as the average executive does on his corporate jet. I’m invested in gathering emotional intelligence, at looking people in the eye. I just hate to waste time.”
  6. O’Brien has flown to Myanmar a southeast Asian country where Digicel is seeking a liscence, once every two weeks for several months.
  7. He has met Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, billionaire George Soros and Laurent Lamothe, the prime minister of Haiti, and as his billionaire status would allow, many other people.
  8. He’s also friendly with billionaire Sunil Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel (BHARTI), India’s biggest telecommunications company
  9. He holds a BA degree from University College Dublin and an MBA from Boston College.
  10. He created a cable home-shopping channel and an Irish radio broadcaster 7 yrs after earning his MBA.
  11. O’Brien invested 300 million euros he earned from a previous deal to create the Digicel Group in 2001.
  12. O’Brien was named the Haiti’s goodwill ambassador in 2011 after a 7.8 earthquake hit the Caribbean nation in 2010.
  13. O’Brien owns all of Digicel (up to 94% depending on the source).
  14. He also controls Aergo, an aircraft-leasing firm; Communicorp Group, an Irish broadcaster; and two Iberian golf resorts. He has interests in oil companies, online recruiting and newspaper publishing.
  15. He also owns a house at a Caribbean golf resort.
  16. He has done a lot of charity work in Haiti. He received the National Order of Honour and Merit form the Haitian president for his work helping Haiti recover from the 2010 earthquake. He funded the restoration of Haiti’s century-old Iron Market with his own money, and has built 50 primary and secondary schools in the last 18 months.
  17. He chaired the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland, the first time the Summer Games were staged outside the US with teams from 160 countries and over 30,000 volunteers.
  18. He is about six feet tall with white hair and ruddy cheeks.
  19. He seems to care a lot about people with Autism.
  20. He is married with 4 Children.
  21. He has had his share of legal battles, with the most current seeing him suing for Defamation re an article published in the Irish Daily Mail on January 22, 2010.

Sources: BloombergForbes, Digicel, Reuters

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