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Keynote Speaker 2017

2017 Rabobank Leadership Awards Keynote Speaker - Barry Irvin

Barry Irvin AM

Executive Chairman - Bega Cheese

Barry Irvin is the Executive Chairman of Bega Cheese. In the early 1990s, after a period in banking, Barry returned to his dairy farming roots to the Bega Co-operative Society. Established in 1899 the Bega Co-operative grew tremendously under Barry’s leadership.

In the early 1990’s the Co-operative operated from a single manufacturing site, produced 3500 tonne of cheddar cheese, sold only in the domestic market and employed around 80 people. Barry was appointed Chairman of the Co-operative in 2000 and today the Bega Cheese group has domestic and international sales exceeding $1.2 billion, produces approximately 230,000 tonnes of cheeses, milk powders, infant formula and nutritional products, and exports to over 40 countries across the world. The group now employs approximately 1700 people and strives to be at the forefront of continuing development and rationalisation within the Australian dairy industry.

This year Bega Cheese acquired the Mondelez Australian Grocery Business bringing home Vegemite and adding peanut butter, salad dressing, dips and sauces to the Bega Cheese portfolio of products. As part of the acquisition Bega Cheese added over 200 new staff and new skills including significant capability in branding, sales and marketing.

Barry has a long affinity with the dairy farmers who supply the company. He firmly believes that all staff and shareholders must understand the history of their company to be able to create, and share in, a true strategic vision.

Social responsibility is something Barry seeks to embed in all organisations he is involved in. Outside of Bega Cheese, Barry chairs the Sydney based charity, Giant Steps, which provides services to children and young adults with autism.

Barry was given the high honour of being made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to the dairy industry and children with disabilities, he was also named NAB Monash University Agribusiness Leader of the Year in 2009 and in 2011 he won the Rabobank Leadership award.