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Ornua Chief Executive, John Jordan, is to step down to take up a new role as Chief Operating Officer at a US-based private equity company.  

Mr. Jordan who has been CEO since 2018 has worked with the company for 30 years. In a statement issued by the company, Mr. Jordan said: “It has been a huge honour for me to be the Chief Executive of Ornua, and to have spent three decades working in this business. I am so proud of the positive impact that Ornua creates for its Co-Op shareholders and in turn for the 14,000 Irish dairy farming families that supply them and enable Ornua to create world-class premium products for our customers globally. I am confident that Ornua will go from strength to strength. We have great brands and a brilliant team.” 

Ornua said that the process of selecting a new Chief Executive will begin immediately. The Board of Ornua has appointed current Chief Financial Officer, Donal Buggy as interim Chief Executive to lead the organisation during the transition period. On news of Mr. Jordans departure, Ornua Co-operative Chairman Aidan O’Driscoll said: “John Jordan has been an excellent Chief Executive for Ornua over the past five years, and prior to that he held several other key management roles. John has given a huge part of his professional life to Ornua, as he joined us approximately 30 years ago. It has been a privilege to work with him, and on behalf of the Board, the Executive and the rest of the Ornua team, I want to thank John for all his efforts and wish him the very best for the future.

“I am very pleased that we are in a position to appoint someone of the quality of Donal Buggy as interim CEO. Donal has been CFO at Ornua since 2013 and is widely known and highly respected by Ornua staff, customers and industry peers. The Board and I are very confident in his ability to lead Ornua ably during the coming period. John Jordan will work with the Board and Donal to ensure a smooth and efficient transition.”

Meanwhile in one of his final press interviews before announcing his departure, Mr. Jordan said that the dairy sector must do a better job in communicating with the public. In an interview in the latest edition of Irish Food magazine he said that farmers are being unfairly vilified when it comes to discussion around climate change.

“I am fully convinced that farmers are the heroes of this story, not the villains. When you look at milk alternatives, such as almond milk – it can take 10,000 litres of water to produce one litre of almond milk and there is minimal nutritional value compared to dairy. I don’t think the consumer has thought through the full implications here. Irish dairy is in a really good place in terms of being carbon efficient and farmers are being unfairly vilified.” 

Mr. Jordan went on to say that the industry needs to focus its attention on better communications regarding this messaging: “As a sector, we have to do a better job in communicating this message. We don’t do it well. There is a lot of fragmentation around who owns the story, who is telling it. Hopefully, though, what will happen over time is that people will see the measures that have been – and continue to be – put in place to produce positive environmental outcomes – around water quality or biodiversity, for example. But the industry should be doing a better job to highlight the good work being done on farms.”

Ornua is affiliated to ICOS and exports to 110 countries. Last year the Kerrygold brand celebrated six decades in production and saw Ornua’s turnover reach a record €3.4 billion.