Ornua’s Róisín Hennerty named ‘Irish Times’ Business Person of the Year

Hennerty is credited with helping Kerrygold exceed €1bn in annual sales

The managing director of Ornua’s global foods division, Róisín Hennerty, has won The Irish Times Business Person of the Year Award at a virtual ceremony on Thursday in association with KPMG.

The boss of the Kerrygold brand won the award for her success in helping the food brand become the first Irish food brand to exceed €1 billion in annual sales.

In particular, Hennerty is credited with getting it off the ground in the US market having targeted the premium food brand segment in high-end retailers. Grass-fed, hormone-free and entirely natural, it tapped the growing demand for whole foods, something other than high-intensity farming.

Hennerty originally joined Ornua Co-operative in Dublin before moving to the US where she was responsible for the strategic marketing and launch of Kerrygold and Dubliner Cheese. Now, she oversees a portfolio of brands sold in more than 100 countries.


“I’m really honoured to receive this award on behalf of Ornua and to have been nominated with such esteemed colleagues in the Irish business industry,” said Ms Hennerty.

“This is a very historic moment for Ornua and for the Kerrygold brand and it’s all the more poignant because last year we celebrated a huge milestone for our business and this award is linked to that milestone. After 60 years of dedicated focus and investement, Kerrygold became Ireland’s first €1 billion food brand and we’re hugely proud of that milestone as an agri-food business and we’re proud of the collaboration that it’s taken between our people, our member co-ops and indeed the Irish framing families we represent.”

The other nominees for the business person of the year award were: DCC chief executive Donal Murphy; Belfast-born construction magnate Kevin Lagan; Uniphar chief executive Ger Rabbette; Fulfil Nutrition chief executive Brian O'Sullivan; Dalata Hotel Group chief executive Pat McCann; Taxback. com chief executive Joanna Murphy; Prepaid Financial Services founders Noel and Valerie Moran; Megron founder and managing director Pat Beirne; Pointy founders Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby; Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh; We Got Pop founder and chief executive Kate McLaughlin; An Post chief executive David McRedmond; and Seamus Gorman, the chief executive of Hibergene.

Other awards include Company of the Year, Local Enterprise of the Year, Deal of the Year and Distinguished Leader in Business for 2020.