About Us

The Corporate Governance Association of Ireland was founded in April 2006 by graduates of the first class of the UCD Diploma in Corporate Governance. Since then others have joined with other accredited academic qualifications such as the IoD (Institute of Directors) Chartered Director program. Membership is open to experienced business professionals who hold post-graduate qualifications in corporate governance discipline from academic programmes recognised by our council. We are an independent Association which seeks to promote high standards of corporate governance by adhering to the Association’s Code of Professional Conduct and facilitating the ongoing professional development of our members. We seek to promote high standards in our capacities as executive or non-executive directors.

Our Mission

The Corporate Governance Association of Ireland was founded in April 2006 by graduates of the first class of the UCD Diploma in Corporate Governance. Since then others have joined with other accredited academic qualifications such as the IoD (Institute of Directors) Chartered Director program.

Membership is open to experienced business professionals who hold post-graduate qualifications in corporate governance discipline from academic programmes recognised by our council.

We are an independent Association which seeks to promote high standards of corporate governance by adhering to the Association’s Code of Professional Conduct and facilitating the ongoing professional development of our members.

We seek to promote high standards in our capacities as executive or non-executive directors.

James Kavanagh - Chairman CGAI

James Kavanagh is Managing Director of Trustee Decisions. James has over twenty-five years experience in advising trustee boards across a broad range of schemes. James is a Professional Trustee and a Pensioneer Trustee as approved by the Revenue Commissioners. He is a former Director and Council member of the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) and a former Chairman and Director of the Retirement Planning Council of Ireland (RPC)

James is a member of the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) as well as having membership in the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, the European American Chamber of Commerce (EACC), the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA).

Heather Nesbitt

Heather Nesbitt is an independent consultant and has over 20 years financial services experience. Her areas of responsibility included Finance, Operations, Risk Management, and Regulatory compliance. She has served on a variety of Boards both as executive and non- executive Director, including as Chief Financial Officer in Hypo Public Finance Bank. Heather holds a BA (Mod.) from Trinity College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. She completed the Professional Diploma in Corporate Governance at the UCD Michael Smurfit Centre of Governance in 2012.

Pat Downes

Patrick J. Downes is Managing Partner of Lionheart Management Consultants. Prior to establishing the practice he was Director of Regulatory Affairs with Bord Na Mona plc. He has over 30 years of wide ranging experience at board level having served as Managing Director of a number of companies. Patrick has held the Chair of various organisations, including the Corporate Governance Association of Ireland. He has served on a number of boards in both the public and private sector. He has sat on The Irish Business Employers Confederation (IBEC) European Affairs and Greater Dublin committee’s and has been an advisor to The National Economic Social Council (NESC).

Patrick holds a BA Hons, MBA and various post grad qualifications and is currently undertaking a PhD at National University of Ireland Galway where he has been appointed to their Alumni Board. He is a Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Royal Society. He holds memberships in the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI), The Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI), and the Institute of Directors (IOD). He has Chaired a number of the committees of the Royal Dublin Society where he is a council member and has been appointed a Commissioner for Oaths. 

Alacoque McMenamin

Alacoque McMenamin is a Master Programme, Portfolio and Project manager who specialises in Change Management Programmes.  She delivered on projects and provided Programme Management services IT, eLearning, Finance, HR and Product launch for the government and the private sector. She has hands on experience in leading large complex multi-projects, delivering milestones on time, within budget and to the required quality standards. She is Non–Executive Director of MBA Alumni Ireland Ltd and of the Sarah Bird Foundation.

She is currently undertaking a second masters in Corporate Governance with the University of Ulster. Alacoque holds an MBA from Fordham University New York. She is a graduate of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and holds a Post Grad qualification in Building Practice from the Darwin Institute of Technology and is also qualified in the Prince2 Project Management Methodology.

Become a member of CGAI

If you would like to join the Corporate Governance Association of Ireland, submit your application today through our online form.

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