Interview Series - Peter O'Callaghan

Apr 30, 2021

I completed a degree as well as MBS studying Accounting and Finance in DCU.I joined Deloitte in 2009 and spent 4 and a half years there.I really enjoyed this time but realised that audit was not for me in the long term and so made the move to industry.I have worked in some excellent companies since then including the daa, a start-up and a PLC.I’ve had the chance in these roles to work and travel to some great places such as India, Canada and even Barbados.

In 2019 I joined Bewley’s Limited where I am currently the Group Financial Controller. I really enjoy this role as it allows me to work with 5 different Divisions across 3 countries.  It helps too that I am a big coffee drinker.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your current company in three sentences or less

Bewley’s is tea and coffee company and well-known Irish brand.It has operations across Ireland , the United Kingdom and the United States as well as operating the iconic Café on Grafton Street.

  1. What is the toughest decision you have had to make in your career to date? 

Over the years I have had several difficult decisions to make.On a personal level I have left jobs and teams that I enjoyed working with to develop my career and that is always hard.The toughest decisions are however those that affect people around you directly, unfortunately the pandemic has brought with it several of these.Difficult choices were made to navigate through the disruption.Reflecting on it now, everybody at all levels made sacrifices that have put us in a strong position with optimism looking forward post COVID.

  1. What the best piece of career advice you have been given?

I have been lucky to work under some brilliant managers and leaders.During my time with Bewley’s I have had the chance to work directly with Paddy Campbell.As a finance person it gives you great insight to see how an entrepreneur see’s a challenge and solution.Paddy constantly says to “never sell fivers for €4.99”.I feel it is important to know what your brand is worth, both in business and personally and never to undervalue it.

  1. Who do you admire most and why?

I have great admiration for the independent businesses that have emerged or adapted to survive over this past 14 months.Locally I have seen restaurants pivot to takeaways, gym classes move to Zoom and horse boxes become coffee docks.Many of these changes were forced upon the businesses but have brought creative solutions that will form part of the new normal going forward

  1. Tell us something people might not know about you

In my spare time I like to play golf when possible.I have two girls, aged 1 and 3.The fact that they were oblivious to everything that was going on in the world was a nice relief in 2020.The new working dynamic was not without stress but gave me valuable time to spend with them that I may not have otherwise had.During the year I joined the Board of Fingal County Childcare Committee, this gave me a chance to give something back to an organisation that really benefits thousands of children and parents.

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