A tube strike in London and disruptions in the city’s underground transit system service may seem half a world away from Mentor, Ohio, but it is all part of a day in the life of Jack Byrnes ’82. Byrnes is CFO for BBDO’s Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. He has been with BBDO, a worldwide advertising agency and communications company, since 2002 and recently became a British citizen. Initially, Byrnes was hired as vice president of finance and was based in New York. Now he spends most of his time either in London or traveling to his other regions for a job that was expected to last one or two years.
“Honestly, at first I didn’t think this was for real,” Brynes said when asked to be an alumni spotlight. “I can’t believe I am that interesting.”
BBDO is only his second job out of college. Byrnes, a CPA, received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame. He was an audit partner for Arthur Andersen’s Media, Entertainment, and Publishing group. The firm folded in 2002. Byrnes coached the accounting firm’s audit teams and was in charge of publishing-industry training in Spain, the Netherlands and Illinois.
Prior to his current position, Byrnes lived in Hoboken, N.J. His family moved from New Jersey to Mentor when Byrnes was in seventh grade and returned when he was a junior at Notre Dame. “I get back to New Jersey at least once a month, when I work in the New York office or just to get back for a weekend,” Byrnes says. When he returns, Byrnes visits his sister, Debbie Byrnes Murray ’84, and enjoys spending time with her children. He also tries to catch up often with his brother, Kevin, and his family in Florida.
When Byrnes gets back to Cleveland, he reconnects with classmates Frank Childs, Rick Coyne, Don Patacca, Jim Evans and Marty Fallon. “Frank, Rick and their boys usually meet me at Notre Dame for a football weekend at least once a year,” he says. “All of them have been to New Jersey to see me. Don and his family have visited me in London and Rick’s oldest son, Ryan, visited London last summer.”
Byrnes also keeps close ties with Notre Dame and is treasurer of its Alumni Club in London. “I am getting to see places that I never really thought I would see,” he admits. When he travels for work, the CFO arrives early, remains after meetings and goes sightseeing on weekends.