Boss of north's biggest IT company is set for departure

Allstate NI managing director John Healy is set to step down at the end of this year
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE boss of the north's biggest IT company is set to leave the company at the end of this year.

John Healy OBE, who has led the US-headquartered Allstate in Northern Ireland for more than six years, is stepping down in December.

It is understood the 52-year-old father of four is leaving "to pursue new opportunities".

The company has not responded to requests from the Irish News to confirm the departure officially.

Mr Healy, who has spent all of his career in financial technology with companies such as JP Morgan and Citi, joined Allstate in 2016 as managing director to lead its business operations in the north, and a year later he was promoted to vice-president.

Allstate Northern Ireland specialises in technology and business services, and employs more than 2,200 people at sites in Belfast, Derry and Strabane.

His influence has elevated Allstate's reputation as the top technology employer in the north, where he has helped establish strong ties with universities, as well as ensuring strong working relationships with local and national governments.

Mr Healy has extensive experience at leading global teams, developing strategy and delivering solutions to address business and technology issues, and is regarded as one of the best known business figures in Northern Ireland (he also held senior roles at Grafton Recruitment, Liberty IT, J P Morgan Chase, St George Bank Treasury and Merrill Lynch).

This was cemented when he was elected in 2019 for a two-year term as president of the NI Chamber, which represents more than 1,200 firms which between them employ 100,000 people.

He was awarded an OBE in the 2020 new year's honours list in recognition of his services to economic development in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to the Irish News at the time, he said he was "absolutely delighted" at being told he was the recipient of the award, adding: "Allstate in particular has made an immense contribution to the Northern Ireland economy, and this honour is a team effort."

It is not certain what "new direction" Mr Healy may take when he leaves Allstate in December.

But it comes as the search intensifies to appoint the next permanent chief executive of Invest NI.

The agency has not yet begun its formal recruitment process to find a successor to Kevin Holland, who stood down last December after just two years in the role.

But following a public procurement exercise, Invest NI has appointed Berwick Partners, part of the Odgers Berndtson Group, as its executive search partner.

Part of the consultants' remit has been to effectively "warm up the market" and head-hunt a new CEO, and that process has been ongoing since July.

When asked about the process, Invest NI would only say: “We have now appointed an executive search partner to assist us in the recruitment of a chief executive. The role will be publicly advertised in due course, and full details provided at that time.”