Pierce O’Callaghan, the Chairman and CEO of the company, has lived a life passionate about sport and was a former 16-time Irish athletics champion and Irish international athlete who represented his country from schools to European Championship and World Cup level.
Following his competitive career, which saw him achieve the Olympic qualifying standard for the Sydney Olympics, only to subsequently miss out through injury while training in Australia, he coached Irish record holder Jamie Costin to the Sydney & Athens Olympics before deciding to work professionally in the sport after 5 years working with the AIB/Bank of New York in Dublin.
After a period with Platinum ONE in Dublin he then spent two years as Events Manager of Scottish Athletics based in Edinburgh. While in Scottish Athletics, he created a made for TV athletics match between Scotland, Ireland and Wales called the Celtic Cup and sucessfully negotiated a two hour LIVE package with BBC Scotland which attracted over 250,000 TV viewers and over 3,000 to the stadium in Falkirk.
He then spent three years as Director of Communications for the European Athletics Association based in Lausanne, Switzerland where among his achievements were the growth of the European Athlete of the Year from a relatively small pesentation where the stars rarely appeared to a star studded extravaganza which in his final year was attended by Olympic Champions Yelena Isinbayeva and Andreas Thorkildsen along with seven different international TV companies.
He also introduced the European Athlete of the Month award and the European Athletics Rising Star to the annual awards night as well as overseeing the media operations at over 30 European Athletics Championships.Wanting to move back to his native Ireland for family reasons, he commuted weekly to London for 18 months as Business Manager of Run Britain, the road running arm of UK Athletics based in the London Marathon office before deciding to set up SAVVY Sports at the end of 2009.
In April 2010 he was appointed by the European Olympic Committees to be a member of the commission to explore the possibility of a European Games, a commission chaired by Zlatko Matesa, the former Prime Minister of Croatia.
Following this, he advised the government of Azerbaijan on their strategy to organise the European Games in 2015 in Baku and was one of the two European Olympic Committee’s lead advisors for the development and launch of The European Games a multi sports competition with the inaugural edition to be staged in the City of Baku in 2015.
He relocated to Baku, Azerbaijan to live for two years where he took up the role the Director of Sport for these inaugural European Games.
In this role he oversaw a professional team of 120 staff and the sporting operations for 6000 athletes and 2000 sports officials.
Following the successful conclusion of the Games, he took on the role of Head of Operations for the IAAF World Championships London 2017 overseeing all operations for what was hailed as the best World Championships ever held.
On the political level, in April 2011, he topped the poll of 16 candidates when he was elected onto the European Athletics Competition Committee for a four year term until 2016.
He was subsequently reappointed to this Commission until 2019 and is also a member of the IAAF Competition Commission for the same period.
In 2011, along with his friend and Business Partner, Eamon McLoughlin, he founded the Dublin Staff Relay which now attracts over 5,000 participants to this team building running event at the end of May in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Together they have plans to make this one of the biggest events on the Dublin sport’s and social calendar.
In November 2011, he was the only non Briton selected as part of the bid team for London to host the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships at the IAAF Council Meeting in Monaco. Going head-to-head with the financial might of Doha, Qatar, he worked closely alongside Lord Sebastian Coe, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson in what was ultimately an unexpected but decisive victory for London.
He is a regular athletics TV commentator on Setanta Sports and a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The Sunday Tribune, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Independent and The Star as well as RTE Radio and Independent Network News radio stations.
He is also working on a book called “Irish Sporting Records” which would list every Irish Champion in every sport from the 1850s to the present day.
Internationally, he led a SAVVY Sports Management team contracted to work as Sports Information Specialists and Media Operations Consultants at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in November 2010 and the World University Games in Shenzen, China 2011.
He has also worked as a Sports Presentation Announcer at numerous international events including notably the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.
He is the only Irish Athletics Official who is qualified on the IAAF elite panel of judges and referees and was an International referee at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as 4 IAAF World Championships.
He has honours degrees in Commerce (1998) and Sports Management (2005) from University College Dublin. and a Masters Degree in Sports Organisation Management (2016) from the University of Lieven in Belgium after receiving a scholarship from the International Olympic Committee.
As well as athletics he is an avid GAA, rugby and football fan and prides himself on knowing everything you never needed to know about sport in Ireland!
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