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Michael McDonald

Director, Finance Operations at a manufacturing facility of AbbVie Inc

Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald

Director, Finance Operations at a manufacturing facility of AbbVie Inc

Michael McDonald is Director of Finance Operations, at global pharmaceutical company AbbVie Inc.
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Michael originally trained and qualified as an accountant in practice, before moving into finance roles in industry and financial services through positions. These roles have included: management accountant; group financial controller; and finance manager. During the past 17 years, he has worked exclusively in the pharmaceutical sector, at a strategic finance level.

What is the one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

A combination of integrity, transparency and respect. 

What is the most important lesson, from your personal or business life, that has guided you the most in being a business leader? 

From a business perspective, always follow your instinct. This is particularly true in the finance area but if something doesn’t look right, stop, check and reassure yourself that everything is as it should be before continuing. From a career development point of view, if you are presented with an opportunity, take it! Opportunities will not come along that often.  

How has membership of IoD Ireland helped you feel more equipped in your role as Finance Director at AbbVie?   

A key advantage to being a member of the Institute of Directors in Ireland is having access to their continuous professional development programs. There is a combination of in person and online events across a wide spectrum of topics that members can leverage to ensure they can succeed in their chosen career path. 

What do you value most about being a member of IoD Ireland? 

IoD Ireland provides great networking opportunities and the real value is the variation in members which ranges from very successful entrepreneurs, to senior leaders in multinational organisations covering multiple industries.

Is there someone who has had a major impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life? 

It is difficult to call out one person but when I reflect on my career to date, I would say that people who trusted and believed in me to hire in the first instance and/or promote to senior positions within an existing organisation have been the most impactful. They provided the opportunity for career development.

What are the biggest business challenges or/and opportunities that you have seen over your career to date? And how did you help to overcome or/and optimise these? 

The key challenge I have seen over my career is to remain agile and ensure that I develop my own skills and keep ahead of the technological evolution that has taken place over the years. This of course has also been a fantastic opportunity to source key talent and build a team around you to enable your organisation to set themselves up for success. 

How do you think business leaders can best prepare for the future? 

I think it is important for today’s leaders to be fully inclusive. There is compelling evidence that a diverse management team will bring a broader range of ideas to the table and so ultimately make your organisation more competitive. 

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring directors in Ireland? 

Aside from hard work and good communication, I would advise all aspiring directors to approach their role with a growth mindset. Opportunities are endless but as businesses and technology environments continue to evolve, it is critical to be agile and develop your business both organically and technologically, to set it up for future success in both the community and economy which it operates in today.