Tom Arnold: our former CEO

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Tom Arnold: our former CEO

Tom Arnold is the former CEO of Concern Worldwide, which has its headquarters in Dublin. Concern has a growing presence in the United Kingdom and America, and is the largest humanitarian organisation in Ireland. Its work focuses on helping the poorest people in the world’s poorest countries.

Innovation and influence

Appointed as CEO of Concern in October 2001, Tom led the organisation through a period of growth in budgets, operations, innovation and influence. Tom left Concern in 2013 to take up the role of chairman of the Constitutional Convention.

Tom’s other engagements

  • Member of the Consortium Board of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research since 2009
  • Member of the International Food Policy Research Institute's 2020 Advisory Board since 2006
  • Current vice-chair of Trans Atlantic Food Aid Dialogue since 2006
  • Governor and director of The Irish Times newspaper since 2008
  • Chair of European Food Security Group, a network of European NGOs, from 2005 to 2010
  • Member of Irish government’s Commission on Taxation from 2008 to 2009
  • Member of Advisory Board for the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund from 2006 to 2009
  • Member of Irish government’s Hunger Task Force from 2007 to 2008
  • Member of UN Millennium Project’s Hunger Task Force from 2003 to 2005

Before Concern

  • Tom was chief economist (1988 to 1993) and assistant secretary general (1993 to 2001) with the Irish Department of Agriculture and Food. He led a major programme that involved the certification of the department as an EU Paying Agency, responsible for accounting of €2 billion annually. During this time, Tom also worked as:
  • Senior economist with the Irish farm advisory service ACOT from 1983 to 1988  
  • Administrator in the Directorate General for Agriculture in the European Commission from 1974 to 1977
  • Agricultural advisor to the EC delegation to the Ivory Coast from 1977 to 1979
  • Agricultural advisor to the EC delegation to Malawi from 1979 to 1980
  • Administrator in the Food Policy and Projects division of the Directorate General for Development from 1980 to 1983
  • Chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Committee of Agriculture from 1993 to 1998
  • Chair the Working Group on Agricultural Policies and Markets from 1990 to 1993
  • Chair of EuronAid from 1992 to 1996
  • Chair of the Irish Council of the European Movement from 1991 to 1993


Tom is a graduate in agricultural economics from University College Dublin and has masters degrees in business administration and strategic management from the Catholic University of Louvain and Trinity College Dublin, respectively.
He was one of a handful of distinguished Irish people to receive honorary doctorates from the National University of Ireland in 2009. Tom also received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from University College Dublin.