The introduction for Alltech’s Aidan Connolly at the company’s One Ideas Forum in Co Meath on Tuesday contained a surprise announcement: the chief innovation officer is leaving the firm, but will continue to collaborate as a consultant.

Connolly will certainly leave a gap in a company built precisely on innovation – originally in feed additives and most recently through Connolly’s drive to make Alltech the centre of a galaxy of ag-tech startups.