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.

Sean Quigley

Sean is Secretary to the Board. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He also holds a Masters degree in Organisational Behaviour from Trinity College. Sean completed the Diploma in Corporate Governance at the UCD Smurfit School in 2011. He has been a senior manager in a number of large public sector organisations, including Teagasc and Trinity College. He joined the Courts Service in 1999, where he is currently Head of Resource Management. He is a member of the Audit Committee at Tallaght Hospital.

Pat McArdle

Pat McArdle is a former Chief Economist with Ulster Bank and was also a public servant in the Department of Finance and the EU Commission. He retired from Ulster Bank in 2009 and has since pursued a variety of interests including financial journalism, economic
consultancy and corporate governance.

He was the advisor to the Independent Review Panel of the Irish Department of Finance in 2010 and was appointed to the Joint Appeals
Board of the three new European Supervisory Authorities in 2011. In addition to his membership of CGAI, Pat is a Director of the CARB and of a number of IFSC companies.

Pat is a QFA, a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and a Member of the Institute of Directors. He completed the Diploma in Corporate overnance at the UCD Smurfit School of Business in 2009.

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.

Emer Moriarty Crowley

Emer Moriarty Crowley is a senior Corporate Lawyer with over thirty years experience specialising in corporate law and governance, and business transformation. She is a former Director of the Corporate Department at A&L Goodbody Solicitors and was Deputy General Counsel at Aviva Ireland. Emer has extensive experience in providing corporate governance advice to major Irish and international corporations and she holds a Diploma in Corporate Governance from UCD’s Smurfit Business School. Upon completing her Bachelor of Civil Law Degree at University College Dublin, Emer trained as a solicitor with McCann FitzGerald and is a member of The Incorporated Law Society of Ireland. Emer is also a non-executive director of The Retirement Planning Council of Ireland, a non-executive director of the Central Remedial Clinic and a volunteer with The Irish Children’s Pilgrimage Trust.

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.
Apply today