Frances Ruane served as Director of the ESRI from 2006 to 2015. She previously taught in the Dept of Economics at TCD, and earlier in her career she work at Queens University in Canada and at the Central Bank of Ireland and the IDA. In Ireland, her current activities include chair of the Interdepartmental Group on Making Work Pay for People with Disabilities at the Department of Social Welfare, membership of the Public Interest Committee of KPMG, and an Honorary Professor in the Department of Economics at Trinity College, where she contributes to the MSc in Economic Policy Studies. She is also a Research Affiliate at the ESRI and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.
IMI: Based on your current work – if you only had 6 words of advice to give a business – what would they be?
FR: Look positively beyond the immediate.
IMI: What does this mean?
FR: After a period of rapid growth, the global financial crisis meant that Irish businesses had to concentrate on handling immediate challenges. They managed that disruption well and this contributed to the strength of Ireland’s recovery. But the focus on the immediate has left many businesses with legacy issues (debt burdens, under-investment in innovation, poor staff morale). And now businesses need to prepare for the medium term when we discover what is really meant by ‘Brexit means Brexit’. Forward looking businesses leaders need now to ask: what could Brexit mean for my market and company? Where am I exposed to risk and how can I mitigate it?