Irish man named new chief executive of Silicon Valley giant

Padraig McDonnell to take over at top of company spun out from HP

Cavan native Padraig McDonnell has been named as the incoming chief executive and chief operating officer of Silicon Valley life sciences giant Agilent, a $40 billion (€37.3 billion) firm specialising in the pharmaceutical, diagnostics and clinical markets.

McDonnell succeeds current chief executive Mike McMullen, and will formally take the top job as well as joining Agilent’s board on May 1st.

“After a thorough succession process, I’m pleased that Padraig McDonnell has been selected as Agilent’s next CEO,” company chairman Koh Boon Hwee said in a statement. “This is a clear illustration of the quality and depth of the Agilent team,” he added.

Agilent is a Santa Clara, California based spin-out from tech giant Hewlett-Packard. The company made history in 1999 with the largest initial public offering in Silicon Valley history at the time, raising $2.1 billion.


Mr McDonnell (52) is currently president of the Agilent CrossLab Group, a role he’s held since 2020. He was also named chief commercial officer in November 2021. Before that, Mr McDonnell was vice-president and general manager of Agilent’s chemistries and supplies division from 2017.

McDonnell started his career with Agilent’s predecessor Hewlett-Packard in 1998 and has spent 26 years in the analytical and scientific instrument industry.

He is a graduate of Maynooth University, with a bachelors in science and a masters in biochemistry. He is also a graduate of St Patrick’s College Cavan.

Agilent has a market capitalisation of $40 billion and has featured regularly in the Fortune 500. It recorded full year 2023 net income of $1.24 billion on flat revenue of $6.83 billion.

In 2018, Agilent opened a division in Little Island in Cork, which is focused on developing advanced technologies for the analysis of live-cells in real-time.

“As I think about Agilent’s future, I am excited by the endless possibilities and opportunities that lie in front of us as we help our customers bring great science to life,” Mr McDonnell said in a statement.

Agilent chairman Koh Boon Hwee said: “Padraig has been a success in every role he’s held at Agilent. I’m confident that as Agilent’s next CEO, he will continue that record of success.”

Karlin Lillington

Karlin Lillington

Karlin Lillington, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about technology