Home > Bega Cheese Executive Chairman Wins AgriBusiness Leadership Award 2011

Bega Cheese Executive Chairman Wins AgriBusiness Leadership Award 2011

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article image Barry Irvin AM, Bega Cheese Executive Chairman

Bega Cheese Executive Chairman, Barry Irvin AM, has been awarded the Rabobank Leadership Award 2011 for his outstanding contribution to the food and agribusiness industries. Presenting the award was Thos Gisekes, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, who said Irvin was a “one of the business world’s true leaders.”

“Barry has shown extraordinary leadership in a great many aspects of his life – both in and outside of business. And as such, he is a truly worthy recipient of this award,” says Gisekes.

“His leadership of Bega Cheese, which was formerly the Bega Co-operative Society, over the past 11 years has been nothing short of inspirational. In a little over a decade the Bega Cheese group has grown from a single-site regional dairy processor in southern New South Wales, with 80 employees and selling only into the domestic market, to its position today as the southern hemisphere’s largest cheese-packing and processing business, with sales nudging close to $A1 billion a year, exporting to more than 40 countries and employing some 1400 people.”

Barry Irvin AM is the fourth generation dairy farmer, who had initially started his career as in banking. Irvin had returned to take over his family’s property and expanded the enterprise to seven farms. Irvin is also the chair of Tatura Milk Industries, a director of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory and a director of the Gardiner Foundation.

"I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive such a prestitous award. I have had a wonderful team around me who have shared with me a vision and commitment to build a very special business that is not only successful but has created many opportunities and made a significant difference in the communities that it operates in,” says Irvin.

Gisekes has added that Irvin’s contribution as a leader had extended beyond his role with Bega Cheese, but also to the wider dairy and food and agribusiness industries, to rural and regional communities and charities.

Irvin is also the chairman for the charity, Giant Steps, which provides high quality, globally recognised educational and therapeutic services to children and young adults with autism. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the dairy industry and children with disabilities.

“Over his time as executive chairman, Barry has actively and energetically led the team which saw Bega invest in people and plant, brand marketing and an aggressive and well-founded restructure of the business,” says Gisekes.

The Rabobank Leadership Award is a key recognition for achievements in, and contributions to the Australia and New Zealand food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

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