Denis O’Brien is an entrepreneur, Chairman of Digicel Group and philanthropist from Dublin, Ireland. O’Brien founded numerous enterprises and sits on organisation boards in both industry and philanthropy. He studied at University College Dublin, receiving a BA in Politics and History, followed by earning an MBA in Corporate Finance from Boston College in 1982.
Denis O’Brien founded Communicorp in 1989, started Esat Telecom in 1991 and, after the sale of Esat, founded Digicel Group in 2001. Digicel is a Digital Operator in over 32 telecommunications markets across the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific regions delivering mobile, broadband, entertainment and managed IT services to more than 13 million customers.
In addition to Denis O’Brien’s substantial business interests and holdings, he also pursues philanthropic endeavours. O’Brien is the founder and patron of the Digicel Foundation, which has invested US$156 million into communities in Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad & Tobago, focusing on access to education, COVID-19 resources and more. Denis O’Brien’s foundation has transformed educational access in Papua New Guinea and Haiti and restored hurricane-ravaged areas of Jamaica.
Denis O’Brien has kept a special focus on supporting education initiatives amongst his philanthropic efforts, which has included generous contributions to his alma maters. At University College Dublin, he gifted the O’Brien Centre for Science which has helped the university grow its scientific community. Additionally, O’Brien established the O’Brien Fellowship at Boston College Carroll School of Management in which recipients receive full financial coverage for tuition, books, fees, living expenses, and international travel for their MBA programme.
Denis O’Brien is also involved in human rights, special needs efforts and expanding broadband access to disadvantaged communities. O’Brien founded the Iris O’Brien Foundation, an advocacy organisation focused on human rights, special needs assistance, educational programmes, disaster aid and more. He’s the Chairman of the Council of Patrons for Special Olympics Ireland and is on Concern Worldwide US’ board. Denis O’Brien also serves as Chairman of the Haiti Action Network under the Clinton Global Initiative and as a United Nations Broadband Commissioner for Digital Development.