Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia, was awarded ‘Agribusiness Leader 2016’ at the 2nd annual Agribusiness Awards on November 17th, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of the agri food industry in Ireland.
The award was presented at a gala ceremony held at the Ballsbridge Hotel Dublin. The event was attended by Andrew Doyle TD, Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture.
Minister Doyle said: “I am delighted that Aidan received such a prestigious award which is recognition of his outstanding public service over the last 36 years and in particular for his services to the agri-food sector. I have no doubt that his personal commitment and vision has contributed to world-wide recognition of so many Irish brands.”
Due to retire in January 2017, Aidan Cotter’s 36-year career with Bord Bia included 12 years at the helm as Chief Executive, having been appointed to that role in July 2004. He previously served in Bord Bia as Director of Operations for a number of years, and earlier gained extensive experience in the marketplace as the organisation’s European Director, based in its London office, and prior to that in Dusseldorf.
While Aidan enjoyed a career laden with highlights, the fact that the export footprint for Irish food and drink has expanded so dramatically under his watch is of particular note. Today, Irish food and drink is exported to over 175 markets worldwide.
In recent years Bord Bia has reported record highs in the export performance of Irish food and drink. In 2015, values reached €11 billion for the first time and marking the industry’s sixth consecutive year of export growth.
Bord Bia has an international network of 13 offices covering all key export destinations from Continental EU to China and this year it opened offices in Singapore and Warsaw. The organisation’s global reach is fundamental to supporting the industry’s ambitious goal of increasing food exports to €19 billion by 2025.
In April 2016, Bord Bia was voted Ireland’s most reputable organisation, according to the 7th annual Ireland RepTrak® 2016 study, an independent study of over 5,000 members of the Irish public. As part of the same report, the Irish food manufacturing sector was voted the most trusted industry.
In June, a record 115,000 people visited Bord Bia’s 10th Bloom Festival held in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
Last month, Bord Bia officially launched its new state of the art consumer insight and research centre - The Thinking House - which provides Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture industry, for the first time, with invaluable, unrestricted access to the latest global trends, research, consumer insights and industry innovations.
The Thinking House, the logical progression for Bord Bia’s growing investment in market and consumer research, is managed by a team of 12 professionals, with backgrounds ranging from psychology to librarianship.
In a career filled with achievements it’s not easy to single out one highlight above all others, but Bord Bia’s Origin Green initiative, a unique world-first national sustainability plan, that today’s boasts a registered membership of over 525 Irish food, drink and horticulture companies and over 60,000 farmers, is undoubtedly the pick of the crop.
It has received worldwide acclaim, support and praise from many leading organisations including The World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund. In addition to its continuing global marketing campaign, Bord Bia intends to launch a domestic advertising campaign for Origin Green here in Ireland. Spearheaded by Aidan from the outset, Origin Green is widely regarded as the industry’s most transformational and game-changing initiative and one that will drive the continued success and growth of the industry for years to come.