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First Derivatives CEO loses cancer battle

The founder and head of Newry-based financial and technological firm First Derivatives has passed away after a short battle with cancer.

Brian Conlon (53) died on Sunday morning, less than three months after he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease.

Mr Conlon founded First Derivatives in 1996 and has since established the company as one of the foremost consultancy firms in the world, and which he proudly headquartered in Newry.

Providing trading and risk management software systems and consulting services, First Derivatives counts some of the world’s top investment banks and hedge funds as its clients and employs more than 2,400 people across the globe.  

Mr Conlon’s business achievements were widely recognised and last year he was named Entrepreneur of the Year at an event held in London. His company was also bestowed with the Best Technology Award at the same ceremony.   

Although having been diagnosed with cancer in May of this year, Mr Conlon, a married father-of-two, continued in his role as Chief Executive while undergoing intensive chemotherapy treatment.

During his battle with cancer, he was aided by the firm’s non-executive Chairman Seamus Keating, who issued a statement on behalf of the company on Sunday. 

He said: “Brian built a world-class business in First Derivatives. 

“His drive, ambition and determination inspired all who had the privilege to work with him. This news is a profound shock to all of us.” 

Mr Conlon’s untimely passing on Sunday has sent shockwaves through the Newry business community and beyond where, despite his global success, he remained actively immersed, providing dedicated support to the local economy.

First Derivatives is one of the biggest graduate recruiters in Ireland and employs many local people and as its head, Mr Conlon was fiercely committed to maintaining the firm’s independence through its commitment to the Newry area, previously telling the Financial Times: “We have a real sense that we are on to something special here.”.

Offering condolences to Mr Conlon’s family on behalf on behalf of Sinn Fein, Conor Murphy MLA said: “Brian Conlon and his partners have grown First Derivatives from a small local company into a globally renowned company, over those years they have given many young people from the area and across Ireland opportunities to gain employment and to travel the world.

“I engaged with Brian on numerous occasions and always found him to be hugely committed to the Newry area and region.  I would like to extend my sympathy to Brian’s wife, children and entire family circle,” he added. 

Mr Conlon is survived by his wife Julie, his children, mother Josephine and wider family circle.  Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. May he rest in peace.