Chamber News

Exiting with pride and new skills

RLP Lunch Gerry Cahill

It is hard to be positive when you get the news that your business is closing its operation. However, one company, Roche Ireland Ltd. in ClareCastle, Co Clare, have succeeded in turning the devasting news into a positive experience which is full of hope.

As part of the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme, Managing Director of Roche Gerry Cahill addressed participants and mentors at their speaker lunch at WIT Arena with the theme “Exit with Pride & Ready for my Future”.

Introducing Gerry, Sara Mullally, Waterford Chamber Skillnet Network Manager, said: “As an authentic leader Gerry has led the Roche site for over six years, with the last three being the most challenging … and rewarding. It has involved a significant re-structuring, a large re-organsiation of the site, and a subsequent re-engagement of site personnel.”

Taking to the podium, Gerry outlined how Roche is a world leader in developing medicines for unmet medical needs but the Irish plant will officially cease operating in early 2020. When the announcement came three years ago, Gerry and the leadership team decided they wanted their colleagues to leave Roche with pride and a sense of opportunity. To do that Gerry said, “We needed to make time available to develop new skills”.

With a passion for life long learning, Gerry naturally brings a strong business acumen to his role as MD, but his principle focus and passion has been on supporting and developing people and is a firm believer that “a learning culture should result in better business results”.

This proved entirely true for the Roche workforce and through supporting the staff, offering training opportunities and developing their talent, in the three years since the closure announcement, they have had a record output, engagement has increased by 23%, safety and quality standards have increased, more than 50% of staff have green, black or master black belt, over 95% have LEAN training and 80% have moved roles.

Gerry also touched on bringing fun into the workplace by saying “Employee wellbeing is to the core to our programme”, with frequent team building days and community events. In fact, they completed 5,000 hours of wellbeing in the workplace in 2019.

Above all, Gerry said they have encouraged staff to have the confidence to look outside their current role and move forward with pride. He said this couldn’t have been done without the financial support of Roche and also Skillnet Ireland.

Concluding, he said: “I am delighted to share our journey and Leadership learnings with the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme and participants. Waterford Chamber is a great example of promoting learning and leadership development across many different sectors highlighting that we can learn from each other even if we are doing different work.”

Thanking Gerry, Sara finished the event by informing guests that Waterford Chamber Skillnet funding for training has almost doubled in six years due to demand from members.

“This budget will be to support growth for local industry through training and development of employees and the employability of jobseekers at the transferrable skills level. This should be seen as a significant investment in the region and it shows the commitment member companies have in the development of their personnel in Waterford and the surrounding region.”

The Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme is supported by Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Bausch + Lomb and WIT. The next speaker event will be on April 29th with Edwin Rohan, Head of European and Latin America, Customer Success Acceleration at Google.

For more on the Regional Leaders programme please see or for training needs go to


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What Our Members Say

"Both Waterford Chamber and Bausch + Lomb understand the importance of leadership for the achievement of business success. Working with Waterford Chamber on the Regional Leaders Programme demonstrates just how effective it can be to come together and work collaboratively. The Regional Leaders Programme provides an opportunity to share our talents and expertise with the motivation to really ‘make things happen’."

Jackie Roche, Learning + Organisational Development Manager, Bausch + Lomb




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