When he spoke to the Journal on Wednesday, businessman and now tv star Peter Casey had just touched down in Atlanta after a turbulent flight from the Hawaiian island of Maui. The successful Derry born businessman had been spending spring break there with his wife Helen and children Fionnbarr, Ryan, Neala, Ailisha and Siofra.
Born and raised in Bishop Street, Peter now regularly travels the world with his business and is at the top of his game internationally when it comes to recruitment.
He’s founder and executive chairman of Claddagh Resources, which places some of the most successful employees in the world with the some of the biggest employers. Some of the clients associated with the firm - which has its European headquarters in Buncrana - are Tata Consulting Services, Ernst & Young, Oracle, AVG Software, SAP and many other household names.
Peter’s parents the late Patsy, and the late Leo, are both well known names in Derry. His mother was a deputy headmistress at Nazareth House Primary School and his father Leo was a Bursar at St Columb’s College. He’s one of a family of eight children including local solicitor Kevin Casey and well known GP Lee Casey.
On his Dragon’s Den biography page on the RTE website, Peter says he likes to invest in people. Lending credence to that philosophy the Derry born entrepreneur has worked hard to maintain links with his home and family in the North West.
Far from keeping himself in a shiny office in the US, Peter likes to keep in touch with his business interests on the ground and is back home every few weeks.
During his many visits home, Peter caught up with the Dragon’s Den show which his late mother Patsy had recorded and had fun investing on the sofa, but keen to expand his portfolio in Ireland the Derry born businessman acted on the advice of his brother Kevin and got in contact with the production company behind the show.
In December, after a tv interview, the father of five took one of the five hotseats, put his money where his mouth is, and filmed the series.
Viewers here have enjoyed two episodes so far and seen Peter invest a very real 30,000 euro in Cork woman Aideen O’Grady and her business Starcamp, Ireland’s only nationwide children’s performing summer camp.
He’s remaining tightlipped about any other investments made but is assuring viewers that there’s plenty of big money action to come in the Den.
“It’s every bit as tense as it looks on screen,” he says.
“Usually, if I’m making an investment I spend months looking at it and considering it and then make my decision but we literally do have to make these decisions right there and then.
“It is definitely very real money and real investments that we’re dealing with here which is scary stuff, but it’s exciting too,” he said.
Peter has no shortage of experience in the world of big business. In 2007 Irish America magazine named him as one of their leading businessmen of the year and with his business interests spread across three continents, and has invested heavily in property and farms in Ireland.
“I come home once a month,” he says.
While his European headquarters here, most of Peter’s recruitment work now takes place in Asia but every investment he makes, he claims, all comes back to the most basic principles of human resources.
“At the end of the day it’s the people who make it.
“You can have the greatest business idea but if the person behind it doesn’t have the passion for it, it’s not happening.”
He’s particularly enthused by some of the young people who’ve taken part in this year’s Dragon’s Den.
“This year for the first time we have some junior dragons and I think people are just going to be completely blown away by them and their passion and ideas,” he says.
As for the banter in the den, Peter says he’s getting on well with his fellow dragons and promises viewers there’s plenty more entertainment to come.
“It’s been great and I think after watching it I would say it’s probably the best of the shows that are out there. I’m delighted to have been given the chance to take part and I hope people enjoy watching it.”
Peter will be back in the city for the coming weeks and has his eye on a property in Inishowen where he’s hoping to spend some time in the summer.