Originally a biochemical engineer, Sir Ciarán spent his formative career in industry before becoming a management consultant, specialising in large scale change projects with multi-national companies.
Ciarán was chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support from 2007 to 2014. During Ciarán’s tenure, Macmillan became the country’s most respected charity and the UK Brand of the Year.
In 2015 Ciarán became chief executive of the British Council, the UK’s organisation for international education and cultural relations where he focused on demonstrating the impact of the organisation’s network of 110 country teams, building trust in the UK, its institutions and its people.
In 2021 Ciarán joined Coventry University Group as the Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations which applies social science research to building peace and security in challenged societies. Ciarán is now the Special Envoy Africa and Europe for the University Group.
Ciarán has been a non-executive director of NHS England and President of the European Development Practitioner’s Network. Currently he is chair of the Health Service Executive, Ireland’s public health and social care system and of Core Social Leadership.
Ciarán is recognised as a thought-leader in international policy, and in leadership of complex systems. Ciarán was knighted in 2015 for services to cancer patients.