The Business On... Patrick Kennedy, Chief executive, Paddy Power

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The Independent Online

Hold on, doesn't Paddy Power run Paddy Power?

Sorry, but no. Paddy is in fact just the front man. The business is actually run by a Patrick, but in this case it's chief executive Patrick Kennedy.

Oh, where's he come from, then?

Well, he's actually got a thoroughly conventional (if rather impressive) business background. His CV boasts the names of McKinsey and KPMG and he was the finance chief at food company Greencore Group when he joined the board of Paddy Power as a non-executive director. From there, it wasn't long before he was installed as the bookie's chief executive.

Paddy Power's quite a transition from McKinsey and KPMG.

What, you mean that the Paddy Power boys are not without senses of humour and are fond of PR stunts such as setting up a betting stand outside the Vatican to offer odds on the next Pope? It's true that Paddy Power isn't a particularly conventional business, but don't be fooled by the blarney. It is a highly successful commercial organisation and yesterday unveiled a 54 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to €52.5m (£43.2m).

Good going for an Irish business.

Yes, although Paddy Power is rapidly exporting its unique brand of paddy wackery around the globe, which has driven the results. For example, in less than two years Mr Kennedy's company has built up a chain of over 100 shops in Britain. We'll be seeing a lot more of him, and of Paddy.

So, does Mr Kennedy bet?

Yes. Refreshingly, he's not one of those gambling bosses who say they won't indulge in a punt. In fact, he says joining the board of Paddy Power meant "I could actually take some money out of Paddy Power rather than giving it to them". He freely admits to being rather better at business than he is at betting.

What's his poison?

Football, first and foremost, but he'll happily bet on racing and rugby as well. He coaches the latter at youth level – his kids play and, with five of them, he probably doesn't have time for all that much else.