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Dan MacSweeney: Agribusiness Leader 2017

Published: 07/11/2017

While shortlisted candidates across 14 categories will have to wait until the night of the Agribusiness Awards to be held at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, on Thursday, November 9th, 2017 to find out if they are successful, one trophy recipient has already been named.

Dan MacSweeney, CEO, Carbery GroupDan MacSweeney

Dan MacSweeney, CEO of the Carbery Group, will receive the Agribusiness Leader 2017, sponsored by GS1 Ireland, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the growth of the sector in Ireland.

Dan MacSweeney has played a significant role in Ireland’s agribusiness sector for many years.

As Chief Executive of the Carbery Group for 25 years, he has led the expansion of this business from its co-op roots in West Cork to become a major global company with diversified operations across four continents. Today, Carbery Group is a leading multi-national food ingredient company supplying close to 40 international markets, from its successful and diverse portfolio of dairy, nutrition and food ingredients products.

Importantly for the four west Cork co-ops - Bandon, Barryroe, Drinagh and Lisavaird - and their suppliers, this business success has allowed Carbery consistently pay industry leading milk prices and deliver shareholder return and profit margins.

In his role as CEO of Carbery Group since 1992, Dan has led many successful developments for the business:

  • Following the acquisition of Carbery, from Grand Metropolitan, by the four West Cork Co-ops, Dan and his team led a transformation that saw the creation of the Carbery Group and the development of a market leading multi-national cheese and food ingredient company.
  • The key hallmark and value of Dan’s leadership was the creation of significant shareholder value for Carbery’s shareholders together with the payment of a leading milk price and the creation of significant, highly skilled employment in a rural region.
  • He, and his team, defined a clear growth strategy for the business to add value to the West Cork milk supply through growing the value in its cheese and dairy ingredients business and investing in new product areas, flavours and natural extracts.
  • A key part of the implementation of the strategy was the creation of Synergy Flavours. This involved acquisition of two flavour businesses in the UK, three flavour businesses and one natural extracts business in the USA, one flavour business in Brazil and the setting up of a flavour facility in Thailand to serve the South East Asian market. Synergy is a strong, profitable and innovative ingredients business with key differentiators that enable it to maintain consistent growth each year.
  • Carbery Group now has a turnover of €380 million and an EBITDA of €40 million. The business has significant plans to grow and develop over the coming years.
  • Dan was the leader of the business during this transformational time and he was responsible for building a strong and professional team across different geographical regions that delivered good performance for the business.

Before becoming CEO, Dan held several other roles in Carbery. When he first joined the company in 1979, he worked as Production Manager, Ingredients, for Carbery Milk Products, as the organisation was then known.

After nine years, he became General Manager of the Carbery facility at Ballineen. During that time, the dairy business continued to progress with further innovations in dairy ingredients and growth in its substantial cheese business. It was the largest producer of cheddar type cheeses in Ireland at that time, launching “Dubliner” cheese in the Irish market in 1991. This cheese has subsequently become the biggest selling Irish cheese in the US market.

Before joining Carbery, Dan worked with the pharmaceutical Company, Syntex Ireland in Clarecastle, Co Clare. This business manufactured the drug, Narposyn, for the treatment of arthritis and was subsequently acquired by Roche.

Other Leadership roles

In addition to his role as CEO of Carbery Group, Dan has held several other leadership roles in Ireland’s agribusiness sector, including:

  • Director of Ornua (formerly the Irish Dairy Board) since 1992.
  • Chairman of the Irish Dairy Industries Association (IDIA), now known as Dairy Industry Ireland, from 2013 to 2015.
  • Director of Teagasc for four years.

He was also Chairman of the West Cork Technology Park task force which was set up in the mid-nineties. Since its inception 15 years ago, the West Cork Technology Park has been host to businesses that have consistently employed over 900 staff each year.

Education Background

Dan studied at University College Cork (UCC) qualifying with a degree in Dairy and Food Science (Hons) in 1976. He was subsequently awarded an Alumnus Achievement Award from the UCC College of Science, Food Science and Engineering in 2012 for his achievements in building the Carbery Group and his input into the dairy Industry in Ireland.

He completed the Leadership 4Growth course with the IMD College in Lausanne in 2011.

To book seats to the Agribusiness Awards 2017 gala ceremony on Thursday, November 9th, click here.


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