Tara McCarthy, CEO Bord Bia

Tara McCarthy replaced Aidan Cotter as CEO of Bord Bia in early 2017.

She took over the top spot after spending a year as CEO of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). Prior to that she was director of food and beverage in Bord Bia for eight years. She has also held a number of senior positions for Bord Bia in Europe.

A commerce graduate from University College Galway McCarthy, holds a master of business studies from UCD’s Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

She is also an affiliate of Harvard Business School and holds a certificate in Advanced Strategic Management from IMD Business School, Switzerland.

Edmond Scanlon, CEO Kerry Group

Edmond Scanlon succeeded Stan McCarthy as CEO of Kerry Group in September. Rising through Kerry’s graduate programme, he previously held many senior positions in the group.

But it is his great depth of experience in Asia, a key future growth region for the group, that makes him ideally suited to the role.

Scanlon inherits a company with a global footprint in a solid position with a strong-performing ingredients and flavours business.

Last year, Stan McCarthy also stepped back from his role as CEO of Kerry Co-op. Scanlon does not take up this role as the co-op has recently appointed Thomas Hunter McGowan as an executive company secretary.

Edmond Scanlon, CEO Kerry Group.

Kevin Toland, CEO Aryzta

In May, speciality bakery company Aryzta announced Kevin Toland as the company’s new chief executive. Toland took over the reins of Aryzta following the departure of long time boss Owen Killian in March.

Toland has a tough task ahead of him to turn around the struggling bakery giant best known for its Cuisine de France brand.

However, he brings with him a wealth of experience in the food industry having previously held senior positions with Glanbia as chief executive of Glanbia USA & Global Nutritionals. Toland takes up the role after a period as CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority.

Kevin Toland, CEO Aryzta.

Jason Hawkins, CEO Carbery Group

Jason Hawkins was appointed new CEO of the Carbery Group to start on 1 January 2018.

Hailing from Tralee, Co Kerry, Hawkins was previously chief operating officer with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

The majority of his career has been spent in the US in several leadership positions where he was responsible for the development of several of Kerry’s businesses in North America.

Hawkins succeeds Dan MacSweeney, who retires after 38 years with the company – 25 as CEO.

He leaves the group in rude health.

Under his leadership the group expanded to employ close to 600 people, turnover of €340m and profits of €37m last year.

Jason Hawkins CEO, Carbery Group.

Kevin Lane, CEO Ornua

In December, Kevin Lane, the CEO of the co-op behind the iconic Kerrygold brand, announced his intentions to step down next year after eight years as CEO.

Over his tenure, he completed a string of acquisitions in Europe, the US and the Middle East, moved into butter processing in Ireland, sold the US distribution business, renamed the business to Ornua, and suspended the farmer levy.

He also oversaw the international expansion of Kerrygold which now edges closer to becoming a €1bn global brand. He leaves the business with a healthy balance sheet with no debt. Thoughts now turn to who will replace the affable Kerryman.

Kevin Lane, CEO, Ornua.

Damian McDonald, director general, IFA

Having been announced in late 2016, Damian McDonald officially started his role as director general of the IFA in January 2017.

The Wexford native left his position as chief executive of Horse Sport Ireland to head up Ireland’s largest farmer organisation. He replaces Pat Smith, who left the IFA in 2015.

McDonald grew up on a dairy, beef and pig farm in Crossabeg, Co Wexford but now lives in Stradbally, Co Laois.

The new IFA boss takes over at a time with a number of major challenges facing Irish agriculture including Brexit and the EU-Mercosur trade deal.

Damian McDonal, director general, IFA.

Jerry O’Callaghan, chair, JBS

In October, Irish man Jerry O’Callaghan was appointed chair of JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company.

O’Callaghan has worked with JBS for over 20 years, having first joined the Brazilian company in 1996. He has previously held roles in the company as head of investor relations as well as working in the group’s international business division.

The Cork native finds himself promoted to chairman of JBS at a time when the company has faced a number of significant challenges including corruption charges against senior executives and the continued fallout from the Operation Weak Flesh scandal.