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The Client

UCD Professional Academy offers ambitious professionals the opportunity to stay competitive and relevant in the changing workplace by providing access to industry-focused courses that deliver practical skills. As the premier provider of short-form non-accredited professional upskilling in Ireland, UCD Professional Academy is committed to delivering industry-relevant programmes that enable their students to advance their careers and contribute to the growth of Ireland's knowledge economy.

The Challenge

Professional Academy had grown at a significant rate over the past four years since its establishment in 2019, and the University Board of Directors was seeking a highly dynamic, strategic, and visionary leader to lead the continued and very ambitious growth of the business. This plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of the business and its impact on the Irish economy. The CEO role was a complex position that required someone with demonstrated commercial acumen and proven expertise in driving new revenue growth in a commercial sector. Given the size and scale of Professional Academy, it was inevitable that this was not going to be an individual from within the higher education sector, so the search required a strategic approach to high-growth Irish and international business profiles. The governance structure also required this to be an individual who was capable of managing the university stakeholder network.

The Solution

It was a highly collaborative search process with the board, with valuable time spent upfront considering what the ideal profile would be. We presented a small shortlist of candidates that had demonstrated significant revenue growth in their respective industries, individuals with a strong track record building out B2B models, and each candidate was capable of managing public and private stakeholders. After a competitive process, the board secured an exceptional candidate for the private sector, someone with vast revenue growth experience on an international scale and natural leadership ability.

Our Expert

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Catherine Hughes

Practice Leader
+353 87 406 2120

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