e calls it “positive stress”. Conor Pierce lives five minutes from the beach in Dublin and every day, no matter the weather, he goes out swimming in the Irish Sea, in the middle of winter. “I cheat, though,” he says. “I take a two-litre flask of hot water with me to pour over my head when I get out. I have to survive.” His slogan is “Do what you can’t”, which works well for him as corporate vice president of Samsung for UK and Ireland, and evangelist of the transition to 5G.
He has had to overcome his share of obstacles. Brought up in Shankill, south of Dublin, at the age of 10 he was diagnosed with a form of juvenile arthritis that put him on crutches for a year. “Swimming took over my life,” he says. From 11 to 16, he would spend hours in the pool every day with the Trojan Swimming Club, doing a mile just for a warm-up, and specialising in butterfly. “You’re so tired after that,” he says, “you don’t worry too much about missing out on the usual adolescent activities.”