7 May 1971 |
Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
|Occupation||Former Northern Ireland politician, entrepreneur and corporate CEO|
Aaron McCormack (born 7 May 1971) is a former leader of the youth wing of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland who more recently has been a business leader and CEO in the IT sector – most notably as CEO of BT Conferencing. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2008 and is a regular contributor to World Economic Forum Events in Davos, China and India.
Born to Diana Margaret (née Donaghey) and Dermot Joseph McCormack in Omagh, County Tyrone, he attended the local boys' Christian Brothers Grammar School. He became involved in the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland from an early age as a campaign worker. He has one brother, Gareth McCormack, a photographer and travel writer for publications such as Lonely Planet.
Upon entering Queen's University Belfast in 1989, he was elected leader of the Queen's University branch of the party. In 1990 he was elected leader of Young Alliance – the party's youth wing – and took a seat on the Party's National Executive. Throughout the early 1990s, a critical period in the Northern Ireland peace process, McCormack grew the party's youth wing to one of the largest of any political party in Northern Ireland. Upon graduation from QUB in late 1993, he begin working for the UK-based telecoms firm BT Group in London.
As the Alliance Party had no elected representatives in the Westminster parliament, McCormack was the figurehead for the party in London, as well as various European and global political fora such as the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party and its global equivalent Liberal International. He returned to Northern Ireland in 1996 and ran unsuccessfully as an Alliance Party candidate in the Foyle.
Upon moving to Washington D.C. later that year he focused his efforts on Irish-American politicians, determined to tell a different side to the Northern Ireland story than that portrayed by pro-republican organisations such as NORAID.
McCormack spent 18 years working for different divisions and joint ventures within BT Group. He worked in customer service and sales in his early years, but moved into the nascent global networking and internet arena in 1994 when he worked in Seoul, Korea on a joint venture project with Samsung. He was based in Seattle,Washington throughout much of 1995 helping to manage BT's relationship with Microsoft, who were then rolling out a global network called MSN. In late 1996 he moved to Washington D.C. to lead the Internet services product marketing for Concert Communications Services, a global joint venture, originally launched June 1994 by BT Group and MCI Communications. McCormack remained in BT's international division, and for a time led the data services product management division at the revamped Concert, by 1998 a joint venture with at&t that was ultimately unwound in October 2001. With the end of its at&t venture, BT formed its Global Services division, where McCormack was Vice-President of the Global Products division until 2007.
In 2006, McCormack was elected a non-executive director of I.Net SpA, an Italian IT company listed on the Milan Bourse. In 2007, BT made a public offer to purchase 100% of I.NET's capital, with a plan to merge the company into BT Italia and delist the resulting company. Although some investors pursued litigation, the merger was completed on 11 January 2008 and I.NET was delisted the same day.
In 2007, McCormack was appointed as chief executive officer of BT Conferencing – a separate company within BT responsible for managing BT's audio, video and web conferencing activities worldwide. By his departure in March 2011 BT Conferencing had emerged as one of the world's largest collaboration services businesses with revenues exceeding $500m per annum. BT Conferencing's leadership in the video conferencing market was cemented by their acquisition of Wire One Communications from private equity firm The Gores Group in 2008
BT Young Scientists
Since 2009, McCormack has been a judge in the Technology Category in the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition held at the Royal Dublin Society in Dublin, Ireland every January. As a contestant in 1982, in a team with Omagh CBS schoolmates Maurice Loughrey and Noel McElholm, McCormack was the recipient of the Callan Medal for the best project in electrical and electronic engineering as judged by the Institute of Electrical Engineers. The project on high-temperature superconductors also won the Irish Institute of Physics award.
World Economic Forum
McCormack was elected to the Young Global Leaders community of the World Economic Forum in the class of 2009 and is a regular attendee at the Annual WEF meeting in Davos, as well as regional events in the USA, India and China. He has worked on the Young Global Leader's task force aimed at establishing a global business oath for corporate leaders and social entrepreneurs.
- "QUB Alumni Classnotes". QUB. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- "Aaron McCormack". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "1996 Forum Elections: Candidates in Foyle". The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- "BT Conferencing names Jeff Prestel as new CEO". Fierce Telecom. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- "BT Conferencing Completes Acquisition of Wire One Holdings, Inc". NewswirePR Today. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- "Global Business Oath". WEF. Retrieved 24 March 2011.