Posted on Monday 29 July 2019 by John Mulgrew
The founder of one of Northern Ireland’s leading technology companies has died at the age of 53 following a battle with cancer.
Brian Conlon was the man behind Newry’s First Derivatives – a firm which produces software used in the financial service sector, but has also landed deals for work with Formula One team Red Bull and in other areas.
The company announced in May that Mr Conlon had been diagnosed with cancer. Mr Conlon passed away at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry on Sunday.
He formed the firm in 1996, based in Newry. Now, it’s a global player in the financial software sector with offices in Belfast, Dublin and locations worldwide.
A former Abbey Grammar student, the 53-year-old was married to Julie and had two young children.
Outside of his position as one of the leaders in Northern Ireland’s burgeoning technology sector, Mr Conlon was also a successful gaelic footballer, having played for Down.
Following Mr Conlon’s death, non-executive chairman Seamus Keating has been appointed executive chairman with immediate effect.
Mr Keating said: “Brian built a world-class business in First Derivatives. His drive, ambition and determination inspired all who had the privilege to work with him. This news is a profound shock to all of us. We offer Brian’s family our sincerest condolences and ask for privacy on their behalf at this sad and most difficult of times.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster, a former Enterprise Minister, described Mr Conlon as a 'trailblazer' in the fin-tech sector.
And SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty, who previously worked for Mr Conlon, said: "Brian was a revelation in business. On a global stage he has built a company to be proud of. On an Ireland basis he is a leading light. Brian spotted global opportunity where no one else did.
"But on top of that he combined pride in his home town of Newry with his knowledge that the people of the North have the education and drive to excel.
"Building a billion dollar company with clients from Sydney to New York, Hong Kong to Stockholm, from a starting point in his mother's house is an incredible achievement."