Kieran O’Mahony met the former GE senior vice-president in Kinsale recently
HAVING recently retired from his role as a senior vice-president at one of the world’s biggest firms – General Electric – Shane Fitzsimons has worked in over 100 countries.
‘Ideally I would have stayed for another couple of years but my last six years had been just constantly on the road. I was doing close to 200 flights a year – I was away from my family a lot and my kids were growing up,’ Shane told The Southern Star recently.
‘So it was really a choice between do I launch what I want to do now, or wait a few years, so I decided it was a good time to move on. I’m an entrepreneur and a bit of a risk-taker, so I decided now is the time.’
Shane’s career has seen him work across Europe, the US, The Netherlands and Hong Kong. ‘I just loved the global nature of the company, the diversity too, as I managed a team that was 70% women with 106 different nationalities, and just the ability to interact with like-minded folks globally.’
Shane is keen to stress that he has plans for a number of ambitious projects, including one in Belfast. He certainly isn’t retiring from the business world just yet but is remaining tight-lipped on what exactly that project entails.
Home for Shane and his family is in Hong Kong at the moment, and they are waiting for their son to finish his final year in High School there before deciding their next move.
‘I will be working on a number of projects and really just want to decide where we want to be as a family and what works, as we have four young children and picking the right location next is important. We’re looking to put down more roots, which we haven’t had before.’
Kinsale is home to his parents Garry and Ann, who moved there in 1974 and Shane went to school in the local convent in the early 1980s before going onto Rockwell College to study for his Leaving Cert, followed by Chartered Accountancy at CIT.
Shane is aware of the challenges that Brexit poses for businesses.
‘I’m a believer in trade and anything that puts up barriers to trade I don’t think is good for the world in general. I believe in a fair deal in trade, so we’re just going to have to work through it.
‘I think the European Union with Great Britain is a stronger union for a lot of reasons, and I’m obviously disappointed that they left, but businesses are smart enough to work it out.
‘I think the big thing that will keep everything in balance, is the word “reciprocal” because everything has to remain in balance, so if you’re too strict on us, then we will be too strict on you, so I think over time it will work itself out.’
For now, Shane is going to take time out before he plots his next move.
‘I may end up back working for another company, or end up doing my own thing, but I’m flexible and open and just taking my time.’