Tirlán announces CEO transition
The Board of Tirlán Co-operative Society Limited (“Tirlán”) announces that after leading the organisation through its recent transformation and a highly successful 40-year career, Jim Bergin will retire from his position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on 31 July 2024. The Board is delighted to announce Seán Molloy as CEO Designate. Seán has been an outstanding strategic leader within the business for the past 18 years.
Today’s announcement follows a comprehensive recruitment process, which was initiated when Jim Bergin informed the Board in June 2023 of his intention to retire from his position as CEO and to step down from the Board in 2024. The process was led by Tirlán’s Nominations & Governance Committee, with the independent guidance of a global Executive Search Firm.
Seán Molloy, who is currently Chief Ingredients and Agribusiness Officer and a director of Tirlán for the past 12 years, will assume the role of CEO on 1 August 2024, allowing for a smooth transition. In his current role he is responsible for revenues of over €2.5 billion, exporting across 100 countries.
John Murphy, Chairperson of Tirlán, expressed his deep appreciation to Jim Bergin for his outstanding contribution to the Co-op and the broader Irish agricultural sector.
“On behalf of the Board, our farm families and the 2,300 employees of Tirlán, I wish to express our deep gratitude to Jim for his huge contribution to our organisation over the course of his 40 year career. He can be particularly proud of his success in establishing Tirlán as an independent, 100% farmer-owned Co-op, culminating in the €307 million buyout of the Glanbia Ireland business.”
“Highly respected for his authentic leadership style, and for his advocacy on behalf of Irish farmers, Jim always remained true to his farming roots and relished his engagement with our 5,000 farm families. In recent years he has successfully overseen the investment of €600 million by our organisation to expand milk processing capacity, which facilitated significant growth in milk output at farm level following the abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015. This now results in annual milk and grain payments from Tirlán of €2 billion, which, based on an analysis by EY, supports 19,000 jobs in the rural economy.”
John Murphy said that the Board had a number of excellent candidates to choose from and was delighted that an internal candidate of the outstanding calibre of Seán Molloy emerged from the process.
“Seán has a tremendous track record of delivery within the organisation. He played a central role in the transformation of the business, culminating in the formation of Tirlán. Seán has led award-winning innovation projects and built strategic relationships with leading international customers. An excellent communicator, he is highly respected by his colleagues and is renowned for his deep knowledge of the agricultural sector. From a farming background in Co. Offaly, he is passionate for the well-being of Tirlán farm families.
“It is an appropriate time for leadership transition at the Co-op with the business in a very strong financial position, led by an excellent team.”
Jim Bergin, CEO of Tirlán said: “It has been a unique privilege to play a leadership role in what has been ‘my local co-op’ for 40 years. The close engagement of our farmer shareholders and customers with our workforce brings a unique level of accountability and dialogue which I enjoyed greatly. Having commenced my career in a co-op, transitioned to a plc for 34 years and progressed to a co-op again in 2021, has been a wonderful corporate adventure while the organisation created €2 billion of additional value for our farm families. The greatest constant has been the wonderful people I’ve met and the lifelong friends I have made.”
“I would like to wish my colleague Seán every success as he takes the helm later in 2024 and I look forward to working with him on the transition over the coming months. I know how passionate and committed he is to Tirlán and our farm families, and I have no doubt he will drive the Co-op forward with the support of a great team.”
Seán Molloy said that he was honoured and delighted to be appointed as CEO Designate. “I look forward to leading our superb team and I am grateful to the Board for placing its trust in me. I extend particular appreciation to Jim Bergin for his mentorship and support over the past 18 years. As we navigate the opportunities and challenges ahead in partnership with my 2,300 colleagues, I will focus on what is important to our farm families and customers as we lead an ambitious business into the future.”
Jim Bergin joined Avonmore Co-operative Society Ltd in July 1984 as a Commerce graduate from UCC. He became Finance Director of Agribusiness in 1990 and completed an MSc in Management Practice in 1995. Following the merger of Avonmore and Waterford Co-ops in 1997 he was appointed Group IT Manager where he was tasked with creating the technology infrastructure for the organisation.
In 2005 he was appointed CEO of Dairy Ingredients Ireland, a role which progressed to heading up Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Ltd in 2012 (a joint venture between Glanbia Co-op and Glanbia plc), Glanbia Ireland in 2017 (adding Glanbia’s Consumer and Agribusiness into the JV) and ultimately became CEO of Glanbia Co-operative Society Ltd in November 2021 (re-branded in 2022 as Tirlán).
Under Jim’s leadership, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland invested over €600 million in dairy processing expansion including the construction of a new €350 million drying facility at Belview County Kilkenny. Through the period 2010 to 2022, the organisation facilitated a 95% expansion in milk volumes creating a major boost to economic activity for the Irish Rural Economy. As a consequence, new markets have been opened in Africa, Middle East, China and Southeast Asia with the development of commercial teams in these regions.
Under Jim’s sponsorship, Glanbia Ireland and more recently Tirlán, has become a strong values-based organisation which is on a focused journey towards best-in-class diversity targets and a coaching culture.
Seán Molloy graduated from University College Dublin in 1994 with a degree in Agricultural Science. Prior to joining the Glanbia Group in 2006, Seán worked as a corporate development executive with the Irish Dairy Board (now Ornua) and strategy consultant with PwC.
He held a number of senior management positions in Glanbia Ireland including Director of Strategy & Supplier Relations from 2006 to 2018 where he was responsible for strategy formulation and execution during a period of rapid growth in the business. He was appointed as an Executive Director of Glanbia Ireland (now Tirlán) in 2012. In addition, Seán assumed additional responsibility as Company Secretary from 2012 to 2017.
In 2018 he was appointed Chief Agri and Supplier Relations Officer with responsibility for the Ingredients category added to his remit in 2022. In his role he is responsible for the strategic development of over €2.5 billion in revenue across 100 countries. Seán is from County Offaly where he lives on a family farm with his wife Fiona and their three children, Katie, Jack and Andy.