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Heritage CIOB’s John O’Keefe takes up new role

8 January 2021

Member John O’Keeffe takes up CEO post in Ireland’s Discovery Programme

The Discovery Programme at the Centre for Archaeology and Innovation in Ireland has appointed CIOB member Dr John O’Keeffe as its new chief executive officer.

The Discovery Programme’s mission is to explore Ireland’s past and its cultural heritage by conducting advanced research in Irish archaeology and related disciplines and by disseminating its findings widely to the global community.

Before taking his new post, O’Keeffe (pictured) was a senior manager in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, principal inspector of historic monuments and has been assistant director of the Historic Environment Division (formerly the Built Heritage Directorate) since 2007. 

With more than 25 years of postgraduate professional experience in archaeology, he has developed an expert knowledge of heritage management, academic research and built heritage conservation, alongside a practical application of core personnel and project management skills. He holds an honours degree in Archaeology (awarded 1995), and a PhD in Archaeology and Heritage Management (awarded 2008). 

O’Keeffe joined the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland in 1998, having been involved in contract archaeology following graduation from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1995. He has worked across all aspects of archaeology and the management of historic monuments in Northern Ireland. 

In announcing the appointment Paul Walsh, acting chair of the Discovery Programme board, said: “Dr O’Keeffe’s eminent standing in archaeology in Ireland and his track record in the Northern Ireland Civil Service will be a major asset to the Discovery Programme at a time of change and development for the organisation. 

Before taking up the post in November 2020, O’Keeffe said “I’m honoured to be offered the post, looking forward to joining a great team, and ready to go!”

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