City financial adviser Hannah Kiely to head up Galway 2020 team

Galway 2020 has announced the appointment of local business leader Hannah Kiely to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the company tasked with delivering Galway’s European Capital of Culture in 2020. As CEO of Galway 2020, Hannah will be responsible for leading the Executive Team working closely with the new Galway 2020 Board of Directors to deliver the ambitious programme and vision before and during European Capital of Culture in 2020, as well as ensuring that a strong and lasting legacy follows to benefit the city, county and wider region.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, her role will be to provide effective leadership and management to the company and its staff, and to engage with all stakeholders to ensure that it is an effective, high performing organisation that plans and delivers its business effectively.

The CEO role is one of business leadership to create the right structures and environment to enable the Creative Director and the full team work within the city and county to deliver a truly unparalleled experience through Galway 2020.

Hannah is an experienced CEO with over 25 year’s leadership experience. She is the former Chief Executive Officer of HC Financial Advisers, a graduate of NUIG, GMIT and the Institute of Directors of Ireland. A former President of Galway Chamber of Commerce, she has extensive experience in business both in Ireland and the UK, and previously won many accolades and awards including Business Woman of the Year award.

She will start the new role immediately, and is eager to move the company forward and accelerate the delivery strategy for Galway 2020. “I am truly delighted and honored to be appointed CEO of Galway 2020,” she said, “I believe we all have an amazing opportunity to do something truly transformational with Galway 2020 for the City, the County and the Region.”

Her appointment by the Board follows the completion of a rigorous, international multi-stage recruitment and selection process, conducted by Galway 2020’s talent partner Connected Talent. Hannah emerged as the clear frontrunner against a strong field of over 50 applicants from Ireland, Europe and around the world – evidence in itself of the depth and skill available within Galway.

Ryan Williams CEO of Connected Talent commented: “the process for appointing the CEO of the new Culture Company was an onerous one with a field of extremely credible candidates from across the globe. We are confident that Hannah’s appointment will prove the perfect catalyst for the appointment of an exemplar executive team and we look forward to working with her on this exciting challenge”.

The Department of Arts, Heritage, Rural, Regional and Gaeltacht Affairs is one of the principal funding agencies for Galway 2020, with a committed contribution to the project of €15m. Welcoming this key appointment, Minister Heather Humphreys TD said that “As European Capital of Culture in 2020, Galway will represent Ireland on the international stage, and I wish Hannah every success in leading this important project, which also reflects and complements the objectives of our national cultural journey through the Creative Ireland Programme. Hannah is taking up her role at a pivotal time for the project and a very exciting time for the city and county of Galway. I have no doubt that Galway 2020 will champion the central place of culture in our society, encourage greater participation in the arts and leave a strong and lasting legacy which the entire country can be proud.”

Chair of the Galway 2020 Board Dr. Aideen McGinley commented: ‘We are delighted that Hannah has accepted the role to lead the strategy and vision for 2020 in partnership with the Board. Hannah has an incredible skill set which spans both the business and cultural sectors at a local, national and international level. In addition her understanding and empathy for the wider ambitions of Galway will ensure that the Galway 2020 Company will be able to hit the ground running and form critical relationships and strong processes from the outset.”

As well as significant business leadership and governance experience, Hannah has been a long term supporter of the cultural, community and voluntary sectors. She has a strong personal interest in writing and painting, as well as being a passionate supporter of the arts and culture in Galway for decades. Having personally supported and worked with many arts, sports and community organisations, she has been instrumental in raising well over €120 million for the Film Industry. She has extensive experience in the educational sector having served on Boards of Management for many years also. She is also well known for her significant work with COPE Galway which includes working to develop a new domestic violence refuge for women and children in Galway. Hannah also set up the annual sleep-out homelessness fundraising initiative to raise awareness and funds, and has raised significant amounts of funds for several local charitable organisations.

As someone who knows Galway, its people and its needs well, she has received a ringing endorsement from both City and County Councils. Galway City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said ‘Ms Kiely’s appointment marks a major step forward for Galway 2020, and will signal a significant acceleration in the delivery of the project. Her combined business acumen, leadership skills, and passion for culture will help to shape and drive a dynamic organisation which will deliver an amazing European Capital of Culture for Galway and indeed for Ireland’ and his support was echoed by Kevin Kelly, Galway County Council Chief Executive who said that “Hannah has all of the skills and experience necessary for what will be a very demanding role and she is well equipped to ensure that the highest level of corporate governance will be in place for the project”.

Hannah will be shortly joined by the soon-to-be appointed Creative Director for Galway 2020, who is expected to take up their new role in July, and together they will build the organisational and creative team that will lead Galway city and county on this extraordinary journey towards the European Capital of Culture in 2020 and beyond.


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