Caroline Dunlea takes over from global luxury business adviser Ashley McDonnell, and will remain in the position until 2026 

Today, Digital Business Ireland announced the appointment of its new Chairperson Caroline Dunlea, the CEO and co-founder of Co. Clare based company Core Optimisation. 

Caroline founded the award-winning digital growth agency Core Optimisation in 2015, which supports digital transformation and digital performance growth for businesses within the Irish and UK markets. 

Caroline brings over 15 years of experience in the Digital sector, was a 2022 finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Emerging category and won the Entrepreneur Award from Dublin Tech Summit, Women in Tech in 2019.  Caroline was a founding council member of Digital Business Ireland and leads Core Optimisation’s management of the ground-breaking Digital Transformation Programme “Digital that Delivers” for Failte Ireland. 

Caroline will take over from current Chair, Ashley McDonnell of global luxury powerhouse PUIG, whose term draws to a close this month. 

Speaking on the appointment, Secretary General of Digital Business Ireland, Lorraine Higgins, said: “I am delighted to confirm the appointment of Caroline Dunlea as the new Chairperson of Digital Business Ireland. Caroline has been involved with Digital Business Ireland from the very beginning as a founding council member and trusted voice on the advisory council. There is no doubt that her experience and talent will be a major asset to Digital Business Ireland as we look to deliver on our ambitions for 2024 and beyond.  

On behalf of Digital Business Ireland, I want to extend our thanks to Ashley who has done a spectacular job in her role and wish her the very best with her many endeavours in Paris.” 

Caroline Dunlea, Chairperson of Digital Business Ireland said: “I am so pleased to be appointed Chairperson of Digital Business Ireland, and I look forward to leading the country’s dedicated representative body for digital and ecommerce. It is an exciting time for Digital Business Ireland, with outstanding work being done by the team on the recent National Digital Awards, the Summit in the autumn and the growth of the Female Mentoring Initiative.  

I am thrilled to be taking on the role during such a transformative time for the Irish digital sector and look forward to building on the success of Digital Business Ireland for our members and our partners.” 


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