To contact or appoint Austin Kenny, call CEDR on +44 (0)207 536 6060 or email email@example.com
"We were very pleased with the cool professionalism that Austin brought to this emotionally charged and bitter disagreement." - Mediation Feedback
An independent mediator and business consultant with a strong accountancy and business background, Austin Kenny is also chairman and non-executive director of three companies. He has conducted mediations in Ireland the U.K. across a broad range of sectors including property, manufacturing and retail sectors, with case values ranging from 0 to 10 million Euros.
He has been a practitioner member of MII and panel member of International Mediators Institute (IMI) since 2009, a panel member of ICMA since 2005 and completed the conflict management coaching certificate in 2011.
Prior to becoming an independent mediator Austin owned and managed his own accountancy and business consultancy practice for 20 years. He has significant expertise and experience across a rich portfolio of professional services including accounting, audit, forensics, insolvency, tax planning structures, mergers & acquisitions, corporate finance, business contracts, raising finance, strategic planning, succession planning. He has also co-owned businesses in property, manufacturing and retail.
His professional specialisms include forensic accounting, business diagnostics, mentor/adviser to a wide range of owner-managed and family businesses.
Banking & Finance
Because of his accountancy and finance background Austin is chosen for many mediations where the mediator skills required include skill and proficiency in numeracy, accounting knowledge, tax knowledge, understanding of banking and standard banking contracts, familiarity with funds, insurance contracts and many elements of financial transactions. Examples of mediations in this area are:
- A well-known charity with a large employee pension fund in dispute with the managers of the pension fund over the performance and administration of the fund
- Over 50 cases appointed as mediator by the Financial Services & Pensions Ombudsman of Ireland involving complaints against Banks, Insurance Companies and pension Funds ranging from non-financial settlements up to claims of €1,000,000
- A large state owned Irish bank and a very large Irish retail company went into a bitter legal dispute over the appointment of a Bank Receiver to a shopping centre.
- Several loan restructures between banks and commercial customers with loans ranging from €1m to €25m
Having worked in a business environment as an entrepreneur, accountant and business adviser for 30 years, Austin has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience in commercial contracts – both from a commercial and legal context. He has built a very strong business acumen. Examples of mediations in which his business acumen were a defining factor in the outcome of a successful deal are:
- A southern hemisphere owner of a large number of private hospitals in the UK contracted certain medical services from a UK service provider. The contract and the relationship had fallen apart over pricing and delivery issues and resulted in a claim of £12m by the service provider.
- A contract for the supply of food produce by a very large Irish manufacturer to a distributor ceased after a dispute over discounts, credit returns and the geographic spread of the territory.
Construction & Engineering
Austin has wide experience in the Construction sector. He was Chairman of a UK property which masterminded a three million square foot mixed use development in Manchester City. During the property boom in Dublin in the nineties and noughties he acted for many clients in the construction sector including developers, contractors, sub-contractors and construction professionals. He set up numerous property-backed investment vehicles and oversaw many construction projects. Because of his construction experience and dealings with contractors, financiers, architects, engineers, chartered and quantity surveyors, he gets appointed as mediator on many types of cases involving construction and engineering. Here are some examples of cases which concluded successfully in mediation:
- A large Spanish Construction Corporation built a sports facility for an Irish Local Authority. While the contract sum was initially €14m, five years later the claim mounted to €58m over €8m was spent in dispute resolution costs and the matter was stuck in a badly managed highly expensive arbitration process. The Spanish Construction firm were suing the Local Authority for payment.
- A stunning exclusive home set on the beautiful scenic coastline of Connemara in the West of Ireland was built two metres above its permitted height and of timber structure which was not water resistant. The home owner was in litigation with the engineer, an explosives expert, the contractor and others to have the house demolished and re-built.
- A hospitality sector business sought €10m from a State Transport Operator due to water ingress over many years at one of its top class facilities.
Energy & Natural Resources
As with all nations Ireland and UK have become hotbeds of activity in the attempts to reduce the carbon footprint - generating energy from wind, water, waste, geothermal, electrification of cars and designing energy saving buildings. Examples of these types of cases are:
- A US wind turbine manufactured supplied and fitted several wind turbines to an operator in the midlands in Ireland. The contract was worth over €5m. The contract collapsed over the failure of the turbines to deliver the energy savings promised.
- A large Irish waste contractor entered into long term arrangements with a land owner for the installation and management of a landfill site as well as the production of electricity from the waste. The contract fell apart over the land rental charges and the profit share from the electricity generated.
- A public sector electricity utility company in Ireland fell out with several landowners over damaged caused to lands during laying of pipes for a large scale interconnector project.
- A wind turbine manufacturer from the US entered into a distribution contract in Scotland with a local distributor. The contract fell apart over charging, payments and product quality issues.
ICT – Information, Communication & Technology
Ireland has become home to almost 700 US Companies many of whom are household names in the ICT, Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices sectors. During his career as a Business Consultant and Accountant he advised many new ‘High Potential’ start-up companies many in the ICT sector providing him with knowledge and experience in these sectors. Some examples of mediation work in this area are:
- The break-up of an owner-run business that had developed a Financial Advisory Services website with Central Bank Regulatory and other issues.
- The second round funding stage of a new Mobile Phone Platform which was based on location connectivity
- An Irish Bank engaged a UK mobile software design house to design a Mobile Phone Application. The deal fell apart over design, time deadlines and delivery issues.
- A group of Irish computer scientists invented a highly technical device that started life as a gaming tool and became a highly valuable stress management tool for the mental health sector. A consortium of parties including the inventors, venture capital investors, state grant agencies and banks fell out over ownership and future planning matters.
- Dispute over the Intellectual Property of a crowd funding website.
- Sale of website IP address.
- The break-up of a business that had developed a Financial Advisory Services Website with Central Bank Regulatory and other issues.
- The second round funding stages of a Mobile Phone platform which was based on location connectivity.
- Dispute on mobile application provided and bank rejecting and misunderstanding in terms of the contract, for the design and delivery of a banking app.
- A highly technical gaming device that started life as a game tool and has advanced into the mental health sector. The shareholders and new investors were at dispute over ownership and operational matters.
- During his career as a Business Consultant, Austin assisted a number of companies that were High Potential Start Ups.
Having worked in a business environment as an entrepreneur, accountant and business adviser for 30 years, Austin has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience of all types of insurance as they apply within the business community. Some examples of cases involving the insurance sector.
- Following fire damage to a block of apartments in 2008 just at the time of the crash of the Irish economy. The developer sought €15m through litigation against five parties for damages, loss of earnings and professional negligence.
- Flood damage to a major retail unit just outside Dublin.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance claims on a number of construction projects against architects, engineers and surveyors.
- Many cases with the Financial Services & Pensions Ombudsman dealing with claims and service issue complaints against Insurers.
- Multi-party fire claim and loss of earnings; professional indemnity & duty of care.
Partnership & Shareholder
As a partner and shareholder in a number of businesses over 30 years Austin learned the challenges of important interpersonal relationships in the workplace particularly when there is money and reputation at stake. The poor ability of people to deal with conflict invariably leads to a breakdown in communication and trust and inevitably leads to vitriolic disputes. These types of disputes require a mediator with extremely well-defined conflict management and coaching skills. Examples of these type of disputes that Austin has mediated are
- The Board of a large successful Irish Civil Engineering Company fell into disarray over succession planning and exit mechanisms for retiring board members.
- A highly successful four partner specialist medical practice in Dublin became divided over the introduction of a new partner.
- A three partner law firm in southern Ireland got embroiled in a divisive dispute over ownership and consultancy arrangements for one retiring partner.
- A two partner accounting and audit firm became divided over professional indemnity issues and client advisory practices.
- Shareholder minority oppression allegations in a very successful restaurant chain which led to dividing up the business.
- Many family business disputes in lots of different sectors including farming, retail, fashion and construction. Land disputes in particular can be highly vitriolic because they often involve many generations of conflict.
- S 205 minority oppression claims.
- Dissolution of construction partnership.
- Dissolution of family fashion business.
- Family business disputes in farming, property and retail sectors.
- Partnership – medical partnership shareholder dispute.
- Succession dispute between shareholders in engineering sector.
- Farming rights of way.
Landlord and Tenant
- Dilapidations and rights to renew dispute; rental revision.
- Dispute between the Board of Management of a school and a group of unionised teachers (with their Union rep).
- Claim against Local Authority for repairs to sewerage scheme.
- Sale of waste disposal business.
- CPO Compensation claim over land and crops, damaged during installation of electricity interconnector.
Austin works on building trust and confidence with the parties and their lawyers from the very start and is very keen on pre-mediation meetings. He is tough on the problem and will push for solutions and creativity from the parties from early on. He believes parties have the ability to resolve the dispute if he provides a safe environment and works on removing any barriers to settlement. Austin has a strong business acumen which helps the parties to be deal-focussed. Austin has also trained as a Conflict Coach and can work with parties to face difficult situations, often in advance of a mediation.
- “Quick off the mark and flexible.”
- “He is an extremely good character with great charisma and very experienced. He went the extra mile and to great lengths to attempt a settlement.”
- “An excellent mediator who was very professional and who focused on the right issues throughout the mediation.”
- “He has a good style, easy listener and does not overly impose his personality. At the end of the day, the thing this mediation most lacked and missed out on was that the mediator did not impose himself to assist the parties in bringing closure to the mediation. I guess you have to be patient and do accept that the mediator has only a facilitative not a dicatorial role.”
- “Austin combined very good interpersonal skills with common sense, commercial awareness and instilled confidence in himself and in the process of mediation. I would happily retain Austin as a Mediator again.” (Solicitor)
- “Austin Kenny helped us bring an end to a very acrimonious and legally expensive dispute between two sides. We were very pleased with the cool professionalism that Austin brought to this emotionally charged and bitter disagreement.” (Party)
- “Austin was involved in a very difficult mediation involving a number of the directors of a trust fund that had lost a lot of money. It took the directors six months to simply agree a mediator. The issues were many and complex but thanks to Austin the most contentious and complex issues were resolved completely, resulting in no legal action being taken. He was particularly skilful at getting the parties to recognise and park the emotive issues and facilitating the satisfactory resolution of the substantive and complex issues. I have no hesitation in recommending his services and would be delighted to use them personally again.” (Party)
- Mediators Institute of Ireland (MII) Practitioner Member since 2009
- Member of the International Mediators Institute (IMI) since 2009
- Advanced Mediator Certification with MATA in 2008
- Accredited Conflict Management Coach since 2010
- Master Trainer in Conflict Competence since 2013
- Delegate for membership of the International Academy of Mediators 2018
- Certified Public Accountant since 1988
Updated: June 2018