BEGA CHEESE executive chair Barry Irvin has been recognised for his role in the industry, awarded the University of Sydney’s Dairy Research Foundation 2019 Dairy Science Award.
Presented at a major industry symposium at Bega, the award is sponsored by advocacy group Dairy Connect and was accepted by Bega Cheese senior executive Roger Went on behalf of Mr Irvin.
Dairy Connect chair George Davey said it was critical to publicly salute the vision and drive that had created a billion dollar international food production, processing and distribution business from regional beginnings on the NSW south coast.
Mr Irvin has been executive chair of Bega Cheese for 20 years and led the company through the deregulation of the industry in 1999.
Bega, which initially had one manufacturing site that produced 3500 tonnes of cheddar annually and employed about 80 people, now has domestic and international sales of more than $1.2billion.
The company produces about 230 000 tonnes of cheese, milk powders, infant formula and nutritional products, exporting to more than 40 countries and employing about 2000 people.
Mr Irvin is extending his leave by six months as he undergoes chemotherapy.
Bega Cheese said Mr Irvin had appointed long-time director Max Roberts as his alternate director and chairman in his absence.
Bega announced last month that Mr Irvin would step aside to recover from surgery, but gave no further details.
In an update on July 8, the company said Mr Irvin’s chemotherapy was to treat the cancer that had been dealt with in his surgery.
Mr Irvin became chairman of the Bega co-operative society in 2000 after returning to the dairy industry from a stint in finance.
He has been executive chairman of Bega Cheese since 2008 and was at the company’s helm when it listed on the ASX in 2011.