THE Vice Chairman of State Street, Joe Antonellis said that the international financial services company could soon be the largest employer in Kilkenny.
Speaking at a civic reception held in the castle tower to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of State Street in Kilkenny Mr Antonellis said “We find ourselves now as one of the three largest employer in Kilkenny. Maybe one day we’ll become the largest employer in Kilkenny, we’ll see.”
Mr Antonellis described State Street’s Irish operations as the jewel in State Street’s crown and central to the growth of the multi-national company. Mr Antonellis said “Our growth is outside of the United States and this (Kilkenny) is very important to our growth. The main jewel in our crown is the Irish operation that we have here in Kilkenny and Dublin.”
It isn’t Ireland’s corporate tax rate alone that has attracted State Street to set up in Kilkenny. Mr Antonellis explained that since setting up in Kilkenny in 2001 with only 30 employees the Kilkenny operation has grown in the complexity and volume of work that it handles. State Street now employs 450 people and this growth is due to the quality of employees that State Street has found here.
“It is the human capital and the education and the language, quite frankly it is. English is the universal business language and our team here supports clients in Asia, in Europe and in the United States we have multiple shifts. People come in at 5am to handle one part of the world then there is a normal shift and then there is a late evening shift to handle the states so because of the language capability they are able to deal with it. The human capital is the biggest factor.”
Mr Antonellis dismissed any suggestion that jobs would be returned to America. He said that the expertise built up in Ireland would be very hard to replace and that he would like to see the growth of the last ten years continue but in a stable manner.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan praised State Street for their commitment to Ireland. Minister Hogan said that in the boom years we were guilty of taking companies like State Street for granted, but that in the current climate they appreciate it more. He said “As a minister I deeply appreciate your contribution to the country and as a local I appreciate your work here.”
Kilkenny Borough Council honoured Mr Antonellis first visit to Kilkenny by presenting him with a civic honour to mark 10 years of State Street in Kilkenny. Mayor David Fitzgerald and Chairman of Kilkenny County Council Paul Cuddihy presented Mr Antonellis with a framed parchment and a Nicholas Mosse plate to commemorate his visit to Kilkenny.