The company, which has rebranded from the Irish Dairy Board, hopes to hit €3bn in sales in the post-milk quota era on the back of strong demand for powdered products in Asia and Africa.
Mr Cregan will bring significant industry experience to Ornua’s export ambitions. He is the current chairman of One51 plc. He is also chairman of Kerry Airport, a director of Tourism Ireland, and a former director of Kerry Group plc.
Mr Cregan has extensive experience in the Irish dairy industry having worked in various management roles with Kerry Group plc over a 30-year period, including deputy chief executive and chief executive of Kerry’s ingredients division. He also worked for a period with the Department of Finance and Grand Metropolitan. He is a graduate of dairy science from UCC.
The Ornua chairman and Aurivo CEO, Aaron Forde, said: “Appointing Mr Cregan is an important step in our governance journey and the strengthening of Ornua’s board. He brings substantial experience not only in the Irish and International dairy industry but in the management of some of Ireland’s leading companies.
“Appointing a director of Mr Cregan’s experience, from beyond the Ornua co-op structure, brings valuable new insight to the board.”
Mr Forde said that, for the first time in 29 years, Ireland has the opportunity of real growth in milk supply with the abolition of quotas and the prospect of new markets for Irish dairy products.
Ornua’s revised five-year plan, agreed with the board with the board earlier this year, targets revenues in excess of €3bn, which would represent a 30% jump on the €2.3bn it reported for 2014.
Ornua markets Irish dairy products in overseas markets under brands such as Kerrygold, Dubliner Cheese, and Pilgrim’s Choice.
It markets dairy product on behalf of the majority of Irish co-ops, notable exceptions being Kerry Group and Glanbia, who manage their own marketing strategies.
Ornua has begun to make progress in new emerging export markets, following on sustained sales successes across Europe and the USA.
Bord Bia highlighted Ornua’s as a key driver of Ireland’s export success at the recent Anuga event in Cologne. Ornua’s Kerrygold brand is a household name in Germany and continues to lead the way for Irish food in terms of reach and visibility.
Kerrygold is the No1 branded butter in Germany, with a 17% market share. Irish dairy exports account for 41% of total food and drink exports to Germany, valued at €230m in 2014.
German consumers call Ireland “Die Grüne Insel” (The Green Island), which they link to high-quality Irish dairy products, such as butter and cheese. Organic and farmhouse cheeses such as Little Milk Company and Cashel Blue are also gaining ground in Germany.