IN­TER­VIEW

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

WHenoath­moved into its fancy new Eu­ro­pean head­quar­ters at the Point Vil­lage at the far end of Dublin’s north docks ear­lier this year, it still felt as if the US tech multi­na­tional was, in many ways, on the edge of things. That has all now changed in­sists Pa­trick Scully, who runs Oath’s Eu­rope, Mid­dle East and Africa op­er­a­tion from Dublin.

“We’re now right in the mid­dle of things,” says Scully, ges­tur­ing out of the huge win­dows at a for­est of cranes and con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity that is rapidly rein­vent­ing a pre­vi­ously drab ur­ban waste­land at the fur­thest pub­licly-ac­ces­si­ble end of Dublin’s north quays.

The whole area is be­gin­ning to take on the same look and feel that has so trans­formed the nearby Grand Canal Docks area, where Oath’s huge com­peti­tors Google and Face­book have built their own Eu­ro­pean head­quar­ters on the south bank of the river. Now, says Scully, cof­fee and salad out­lets are open­ing as foot­fall in­creases around a once-for­bid­ding end of the north quays with the open­ing of each new gleam­ing build­ing.

Oath, of course, is the new name for the com­bined en­tity that now holds Yahoo and AOL, two com­pa­nies that have been around since the World Wide Web first be­came a global phe­nom­e­non. Both have lived tur­bu­lent ex­is­tences, as they were eclipsed by Google and Face­book who dom­i­nated and be­came verbs that would de­fine the in­dus­try.

Both Yahoo and AOL had op­er­ated in Ire­land for quite some time. In the mid­dle of 2017, Oath was formed as the re­sult of the ac­qui­si­tion of Yahoo by US telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant Ver­i­zon. It now serves as the busi­ness-to-busi­ness face for a host of well-known in­ter­net brands in the Ver­i­zon sta­ble. Yahoo and AOL form the back­bone, but it also in­cludes Huf­fpost, En­gad­get, Techcrunch, Tumblr and other web brands that ac­count for a bil­lion users.

“We are like a shoal of fish that comes to­gether in the sea — some big ones, some small ones — to fight off the big­ger preda­tors. Our col­lec­tive rounded mass gives us a bit more clout and fight­ing power in the big ocean that is out there,” says Scully.

He is con­vinced that the new struc­ture is the ideal way for brands that have been around for some time to be­come newly dis­rup­tive, push­ing them­selves back into the cen­tre of things.

“There is no ques­tion that there have been chal­lenges along the way and in­vari­ably there still are,” he says. “I would ar­gue that there isn’t an en­tity out there that hasn’t had its chal­leng­ing mo­ments across the dig­i­tal eco­sphere. It’s a jour­ney for every­body and there is no ques­tion it has been for Yahoo and AOL and our other prop­er­ties. But we find our­selves now in Ver­i­zon, which is a su­per-in­ter­est­ing place.”

The new struc­ture un­der the Ver­i­zon um­brella has cre­ated a whole new set of pos­si­bil­i­ties for each of the brands, says Scully. For ex­am­ple, Ver­i­zon is mak­ing ma­jor in­vest­ments in 5G tech­nol­ogy and pre­vi­ously bought Ir­ish ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy player Fleet­mat­ics (which it has re­branded as Ver­i­zon Con­nects). “It opens doors for us in terms of the in­ter­net of things, gam­ing and the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence that we weren’t even think­ing about even two or three years ago. It’s a new land­scape.”

Scully joined Yahoo in 2014, but was part of the orig­i­nal wave of Ir­ish em­ploy­ees to be­gin their ca­reer in Ir­ish-based US tech com­pa­nies. His first job was with Dig­i­tal in Gal­way, which, although it even­tu­ally shut its doors, was a fa­mous in­cu­ba­tor for indige­nous tech ta­lent.

“It was one of the most won­der­ful uni­ver­sity com­pa­nies of all time and a fan­tas­tic place to get ex­pe­ri­ence. I’ve spent all my time since work­ing at US tech head­quar­ters here in Ire­land.”

Af­ter mov­ing on from Dig­i­tal, Scully held lead­er­ship roles at Siebel Sys­tems and Wood Group, be­fore be­com­ing in­ter­na­tional di­rec­tor of sales op­er­a­tions at Balls­bridge-based Nu­ance Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, which pro­duces Siri for Ap­ple’s iphone.

At Siebel, Scully had worked with Ken Gold­man who would go on to be­come chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer at Yahoo. So, in 2014, when Yahoo de­cided to move its Eu­ro­pean head­quar­ters from Switzer­land to Ire­land, Scully was hired by Gold­man to set up the new Ir­ish op­er­a­tion.

“My job was to make Dublin work,” he says — no easy chal­lenge at a time when Yahoo was strug­gling to find its place in the rapidly chang­ing web uni­verse. “Yahoo’s pro­file in Dublin has

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