• Senior Management Team
  • Our Global Team

Mark O’Connell

Executive Chairman

Areas of Expertise

Mark is Executive Chairman and founder of OCO Global. A trusted advisor to governments across the world, Mark brings expertise and innovative thinking to the areas of Economic Development and Global Trade and Investment. He has broad experience in developing cutting edge strategy, and designing and implanting large scale programmes on behalf of clients.

What is your biggest ambition for OCO’s future?

I am immensely proud of how OCO has established a global reputation in the trade and investment advisory space over the last 20 years. We will continue to innovate and embrace new digital ways of working, expand our offer to support clients at all stages of their internationalisation journey, and become recognised as the agile, effective and go-to facilitator of international trade. Our clients return because we deliver impact and outcomes. We aim to keep doing that


Gareth Hagan

CEO

Areas of Expertise

Gareth is the CEO of OCO Global and leads on OCO´s corporate expansion services. With extensive experience in Strategy Development, he works with companies and governments to help them develop and realise their international growth plans. Gareth also brings significant financial and operational know-how, derived from working in senior roles within global banking and multi-nationals to ensure our support to clients blends both best practice and practicality

What are the biggest opportunities going to look like?

Global Trade and Investment is simultaneously becoming a both a bigger and smaller world. Bigger as industries transform and emerging economies grow, and smaller as business is done in a more digital way. Our opportunity is to be providing the products and services for our clients to be at the centre of this.

 


Dr. Joachim Arnold

Deputy CEO

Areas of Expertise

Joachim is OCO’s Deputy CEO and heading up the Group´s Investment Attraction practice. He works with clients across the globe to position themselves in international markets, develop strategic partnerships and attract investment. Joachim blends extensive knowledge of the global foreign direct investment (FDI) landscape, with expertise in business intelligence, proposition development, and program management to deliver successful long term outcomes for our clients.

 

What are the biggest challenges your clients will face in the next 5 years?

The biggest challenge for corporates and governments alike is to remain agile in a face-paced competitive environment driven by new technologies and a changing geopolitical landscape. Corporates need to innovate and re-invent their business models as well as diversify into new industries and markets. Governments on the other hand, are challenged to apply innovative policies and develop their location propositions to meet the future investor requirements while building out new trusted trade and investment corridors


Shalini Raste

Managing Director, Economic Development Consulting

Areas of Expertise

Shalini is the Managing Director of OCO’s Economic Development Consulting business. Shalini has led the design and delivery of large scale projects encompassing Trade and Investment strategy in the world’s largest economies, as well as International Development programmes in emerging economies. Through this broad experience, Shalini has deep expertise in the areas of strategy and policy development, skills and talent and innovation. Shalini also has extensive experience in business case development, and monitoring and evaluation of programmes to ensure our clients’ return on investment is maximised


Colin McCullagh

Managing Director, Trade Services

Areas of Expertise

Colin is the Managing Director of OCO Global’s Trade Services business. Colin has spent the majority of his career helping companies to grow internationally , and works with governments on designing and implementing SME international trade programmes. Colin has deep expertise in capacity building and growing business development capabilities within internationally orientated companies. Colin’s focus is always to balance delivery of short term outcomes with establishing companies’ platform for sustainable long term growth

What makes a great client?

For a SME, a great client is one that is committed to internationalisation, understands that it is a strategic not opportunistic endeavour, that is open to considering different approaches for different markets based on the insights and experience of the local team, and one that is collaborative and work with us a genuine extension to their team.

For EDO’s, a great client is one that balances internal KPIs with commercial realities; that understands and services the real needs of its client companies versus the tactical activities that are easy to fund and measure; and one that works with us as a partner to identify, engage and support its highest potential companies to achieve their potential in international markets.


Nigel Moore

Chief Financial Officer

Areas of Expertise

Nigel is OCO’s Chief Financial Officer, with primary responsibility for all financial-related activities including the development and delivery of financial strategies across the business. He also has overall responsibility for the areas of risk management, legal, IT and HR. An experienced senior finance leader with over 20 years experience gained in the UK and internationally. His experience includes senior roles in global professional services firms, developing and scaling high growth businesses, and includes 8 spent years in the Middle East.

Nigel’s areas of professional expertise include financial strategy, business planning and reporting, process improvement, M&A and IPOs.

Nigel has a degree in Politics from Queen’s University, Belfast and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland.


Naomi Byrne

Director, Managed Services

Areas of Expertise

Naomi leads OCO’s Managed Services business, which provides a broad range of outsourced solutions for clients including market and business intelligence, trade and investment research, and marketing services.

Naomi has significant client experience from across the globe, and has been a key contributor to the ongoing development of OCO’s broader service offer and our thought leadership agenda


Tom Munro

Head of Consulting

Areas of Expertise

Tom is the Head of UK Consulting Services at OCO. With a strong background in data analytics, Tom has broad experience delivering economic growth and internationalisation projects globally. His work has focused on strategy, research, data analysis and programme management for trade and investment projects for a range of government and private clients, including multilateral institutions and donor-funded international development projects.


Nick Watson

Senior Consultant

Areas of Expertise

Nick is a manager in OCO’s UK Consulting Services business, where he works with private and public sector organisations to devise and implement strategy. With a background in economics, and experience working within capital markets, Nick has been central to broadening OCO’s advisory services to include market entry and M&A support to ambitious international firms.


Conor Griffiths

Head of Trade

Areas of Expertise

Conor is the Head of Trade Services for the UK, and has helped hundreds of global SME’s grow their business in international markets. Conor leads OCO teams who undertake market assessment, identify potential opportunities, and support clients with establishing contact and building direct relationships in-market. Conor has also been central to the broadening of OCO’s data and intelligence solutions to support our Trade business.


Jens Manke

Director

Areas of Expertise

Jens Manke is Director Germany with OCO Global based in the Frankfurt Region, Germany. In this role he is responsible for the operational management and support of ongoing projects for the German-speaking market. Jens has more than 10 years of experience in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and international trade relations. He advises and accompanies economic development organisations with their strategic positioning for FDI and related trade and investment advisory programs.


Mario Monsreal Vargas

Head of Investment Attraction

Areas of Expertise

Mario is Head of OCO’s Investment Attraction business in Germany, where he works with international clients to identify and realise investment opportunities from Europe’s largest market. A Mexican native, Mario also leads on OCO’s engagement with multiple clients across the LatAm region, and our thought leadership and market insights on the region.


Marit Scharffenorth

Head of Trade

Areas of Expertise

Marit is Head of Trade Services for OCO in Germany where she helps SMEs trade clients develop, scale and export more successfully. Marit is a passionate business match maker with 20+ years of experience in international collaboration, innovation and business development. She has a proven record of accomplishment of successfully forging business relations and has worked with business partners from a variety of industries and sectors.


Ian Hunter

Director

Areas of Expertise

Ian is OCO’s US Market Director, based in New York, having recently re-located from Palo Alto. An experienced economic developer with experience working coast-to coast American market, Ian leverages his market know-how, sectoral experience and a board network of contacts to support our clients’ goals in North America and beyond.  Ian leads OCO’s thought leadership on the global Technology sector, as well as our strategic relationships with VCs across the globe.


Paula Fitzgerald

Senior Project Manager

Areas of Expertise

Paula is a Senior Project Manager in New York, working within Investment Attraction where she supports international clients in the North American market

Paula has significant sector expertise in research-intensive emerging industries including FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, AgTech, as well as working extensively in significant US sectors such as Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Food & Beverage, Business, Professional & Financial Services.


Callie Duksin

Senior Consultant

Areas of Expertise

Callie Duksin is a senior consultant based in Chicago. Callie has supported hundreds of private organizations with their international expansion – from go-to-market strategies support to business development. Additionally, she has worked with various international Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) and developed value propositions to help these IPAs achieve the future economies they desire. Callie thrives in international environments and is passionate about bridging the gap between private sector organizations and government entities to continuously build a global economy.


Joe Hepworth

Director

Areas of Expertise

Joe is OCO Global’s Middle East Director. He has a long track record in international trade and FDI development, both on the direct business management side and in an advisory capacity. He has lived in the GCC since 2008 and has worked with governments across the region to help drive investment and economic growth. He has worked with multiple governments & jurisdictions in the region to improve their investment attraction approach & visibility in international markets, as well as supporting international clients in the Gulf. Joe is the CEO of OCO’s subsidiary, the British Centres for Business UAE.

What are the biggest opportunities for the future going to look like?

Throughout the Middle East, the seismic shift away from dependency on oil & gas – now with an ESG catalyst – presents once-in-a-generation opportunities in both trade and investment for international companies to supply, deliver, develop, and build broad-based economies of the future.


Zehra Fattah Bani

Head of Investment Attraction

Areas of Expertise

Zehra is the Head of Investment Attraction at OCO Global- Middle East, based in Dubai, where she works with Investment Promotion agencies globally and across various industry sectors. With extensive experience in business development Zehra has been instrumental in winning significant investment into the GCC. She has supported a global portfolio of over 500+ private sector clients from various sectors, ranging from tech start-ups to large scale manufacturing companies set foothold in the GCC region.


Vineetha Sony

Head of Trade

Areas of Expertise

Vineetha heads up OCO’s Trade Services business in Dubai, and her main areas of expertise include sector strategy and development, export advice, market research and location advisory.

Originally working within OCO’s BCB subsidiary, Vineetha assisted hundreds of UK companies across multiple sectors successfully set up in the UAE. Now working across OCO’s global client base, her extensive network and in-depth knowledge of the GCC markets, is supporting countries from across the world to thrive in these fast growing economies


Ricky Shah

Head of Consulting

Areas of Expertise

Ricky leads OCO’s consulting team in the Middle East. He currently works with government organisations and donor agencies across the region to develop and execute strategies to promote inward investment, drive exports and help SME’s enhance their capabilities.

Ricky has been central to OCO developing a large scale programme management and transformation capability, utilising experience gained from the UK public sector, where he designed and delivered  large digital and infrastructure programmes in transport, healthcare, trade and local government.


Kilian Cawley

Director

Areas of Expertise

Kilian is OCO’s Market Director for Ireland, where he works with national and local government agencies on shaping and delivering economic development activity, as well helping ROI business reach new markets and promoting & advising on international companies entering one of Europe’s fastest growing economies.

Kilian brings experience and expertise from working in the financial services and manufacturing sectors. He has also been central to shaping OCO’s support services to SMEs seeking international growth.


Ciara Rafferty

Director, MINTEL

Areas of Expertise

Ciara is Director for our sister company Mintel Ireland. Ciara studied Modern Languages (French & Spanish) at Trinity College Dublin and has a post grad diploma in Marketing. Ciara also spent a year at Universidad de Leon in Spain where she studied linguistics and taught English.

Ciara has over 16 years’ experience of Account Management. Before joining OCO Global/Mintel, Ciara worked in several client-facing roles for multinational companies including Citibank, Dun & Bradstreet and Seagate. In these roles Ciara was responsible for managing corporate accounts across the following key markets: UK, Ireland, Benelux and South America.

Ciara joined OCO Global Ltd in 2006 as a Mintel Account Manager. She now heads up the team.

In her current role Ciara is responsible for managing a portfolio of 40 Irish clients. She works across the following key sectors; Food, Drink, Leisure, Finance, Academia and Government bodies. She supports companies with both Syndicated and Custom reports (dependent on their research needs!). Ciara helps organisations to diversify their product offering and explore/understand new markets. Her key clients include Bord Bia, Invest NI and Glanbia.

Ciara is responsible for driving revenue for the Mintel business and overseeing all sales and marketing-related activity.


Aodhán Hickey

Senior Project Manager

Areas of Expertise

A Senior Consultant within OCO Ireland, Aodhán is responsible for coordinating OCO service delivery and providing consultation for its diverse clientele and stakeholders which include state agencies, national governing organisations, and private companies, among others.

Aodhán is an experienced strategy consultant with expertise in data modelling, health informatics, technology development, and big data.  Aodhán leads OCO’s thought leadership within the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector


Laurent Sansoucy

Director

Areas of Expertise

Laurent is Director at OCO Global. A recognised global expert within Investment Attraction, Laurent works with clients on international strategy, sales & marketing, and location assessment.

Laurent has been central to developing OCO’s data and product offer across Trade and Investment, and regularly contributes to OCO and external thought leadership on the global economy.


Christelle Maffre

Director Trade & Invest Southern Europe

Areas of Expertise

Christelle leads on OCO’s Trade and Investment Attraction business in France and Southern Europe. Christelle works extensively with international clients planning to enter the French and Southern European markets as well as leading on OCO’s support to French companies seeking to expand internationally.

With significant experience working within various industries in the private sector, Christelle has led the development of OCO’s training offer to SMEs in Europe, as well as developing a range of commercial partnerships to broaden the reach of OCO’s Trade Services offer.


Vincent Raufast

Market Director - Southern Europe

Areas of Expertise

Vincent is the market director for Southern Europe. He has over 20 years of experience in foreign direct investment and economic development. Prior to joining OCO, Vincent worked for EY Consulting, where he was Associate Partner and leader of the International Location Advisory Services (ILAS) team, assisting governments with FDI promotion strategies and supporting corporate clients with site selection and international expansion strategies. Vincent was also the founder of the innovative service offering “EY Lead Analytics”, a solution designed to help IPAs, Real Estate developers and M&A clients accelerate, increase and improve their pipeline of leads.


Yi Zhang

Director, China

Areas of Expertise

Yi Zhang leads OCO’s China business and brings more than 10 years of professional experience in the area of investment and export promotion with a focus on promoting locations in China and Europe as well as assisting foreign companies to enter the Chinese market.

Yi brings relevant experience within China, previously as Head of Investment Promotion Bureau at the Zhenjiang New Area, responsible for international investment promotion. He was also the deputy director of the Sino-Swiss Industrial Park and responsible for the operation of the Swiss and German representative offices.


Ziyi ZHAO

Head of Trade

Areas of Expertise

Ziyi leads OCO’s Trade Services business in China, assisting international clients with business development and market expansion. Ziyi has supported multiple international IPAs across Europe and North America with market insight and entry strategies, and worked directly with dozens of companies in the Chinese market.

Ziyi brings significant practical know-how to doing business in China having worked at a Leadership Consulting boutique as an account manager, supporting companies in China with organizational structure transition, talent management and upskilling, training as well as e-learning solutions.