Born and bred in the rough inner city slums of Summerhill in Dublin, Bill was one of fourteen children. Selling on the streets from the age of six, be it fruit, flowers, newspapers, Christmas decorations, football colours, or programs, was a means of putting food on the table for Bill and his family. He finished school at thirteen to go on the street full-time. In 1956 Bill got a job as a messenger boy for a pound a week at Waldens Ford Dealer in Dublin.
Through hard work and unrelenting determination, Bill was appointed director general of the company in 1965. Bill went on to set up the Fairlane Motor Company, which became the biggest Ford dealership in Ireland. In 1986 he took over the troubled Renault car distribution franchise from Waterford Crystal. His turnaround of that company into what is now the Glencullen Group is a business success story – the group now has an annual turnover of €350 million.
Bill Cullen is a director of the Irish Youth Foundation and in 1998 was a recipient of the Lord Mayor’s Award for his work with the disadvantaged young people of Dublin. In September 2004 Bill was awarded the inaugural Princess Grace Humanitarian Award.