Business Person of the Month August 2021: John Jordan has helped Ornua thrive in spite of pandemic restrictions

Business Person of the Month | Wed 1 Sep | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: John Jordan, Chief Executive of Ornua

John Jordan is Chief Executive of Ornua which has, this month, announced the introduction of a New Parents Programme to support new parents and line managers in the workplace. Mr Jordan’s career spans over 20 years with the company.

John Jordan is Chief Executive of Ornua, and is the Business & Finance Business Person of the Month, August 2021. His career spans over 20 years with the company.

Founded in 1961 by an act of the Oireachtas, the agri-food cooperative initially known as the Irish Dairy Board, was tasked with the objectives to promote, facilitate, encourage, assist, coordinate and develop the exportation of milk and milk products. In 2015, the Board took on a new name, Ornua. Now, it is Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products and owns the enormously successful Kerrygold butter and cheese brand which was the first Irish food brand to exceed 1 billion euro in annual sales in 2018. In the United States, Kerrygold butter is now the second most popular butter nationally and has a 10 per cent market share. Ornua has plans to increase Kerrygold sales to 2 billion euro by 2025.

In April, Ornua reported record turnover and profits for 2020, in spite of the myriad challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the aftermath of Brexit and the expense of US tariffs, estimated to be somewhere in the region of 50 million euro. Ornua Chief executive, John Jordan, has called it ‘a unique performance in a unique year.’ With the tariffs now suspended, the company plans to reduce the price of their butter in response which in turn is expected to result in greater market share.

In April, Ornua reported record turnover and profits for 2020, in spite of the myriad challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the aftermath of Brexit and the expense of US tariffs, estimated to be somewhere in the region of 50 million euro.

The company exports dairy products globally and is spread across 110 markets with a team of over 2,400.

In August of this year, Ornua announced the introduction of a New Parents Programme to support new parents and line managers in the workplace. The programme builds on existing leave entitlements and incorporates best in class healthcare coaching for Ornua employees at all levels of the business.

To support the needs of employees, Ornua partnered with Platform 55, which will provide support for both parents and line managers of parents. Platform55 research shows that 62% of managers do not feel equipped to have conversations around modern family challenges, and this new programme ensures they are supported, consequently better supporting working parents. The New Parents Programme adds to the existing suite of employee supports at Ornua, which include Fertility Treatment and Miscarriage Leave.

The New Parents Programme is made up of three workshops; Maternity Matters – Return to Work, Paternity Matters – Balancing Family and Work, and Managers Matters – Leading Modern Families.

Prior to taking up his current role, Mr Jordan was CEO of Ornua Foods Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia where he successfully developed long term strategies to grow Ornua’s consumer sales portfolio. This involved the regional development of Ornua’s iconic brand portfolio including Kerrygold and Pilgrim’s Choice, as well as working with Ornua’s retail partners to develop new opportunities in the private label sector of the market. Prior to this, Mr Jordan was CEO of DPI Speciality Foods based in California, a division of Ornua and the third largest specialty food distributor in the US. He has also held a variety of senior commercial roles within the organisation in Dublin and within international subsidiaries.

Mr Jordan holds an M.Sc. in Business Administration from Trinity College Dublin, an M.Sc. in Environmental Resource Management from University College Dublin and a B.Sc. in Biotechnology from Dublin City University.

Ornua as a business has thrived in 2020, and I would be very optimistic about building on this over the next few years.

Earlier this year, Mr Jordan contributed an article to Business & Finance magazine, vol. 58, no. 1. He wrote about how Ornua has thrived in spite of the pandemic: “Ornua as a business has thrived in 2020, and I would be very optimistic about building on this over the next few years. The last nine months have taught us a lot, and key to future success is building on these learnings.

“People are more resilient, adaptable, and open to change than we ever could have expected. For Ornua, future working life will be a blended model of working from home, working from the office, and travelling. At Ornua, we are Ireland’s largest exporter of dairy products and work alongside our customers and consumers in 110 different markets worldwide. It is critical that we have face-to-face interaction with our stakeholders to maintain and build relationships, allowing us to collaborate, to innovate and grow together.

“Investment in our IT infrastructure has been critical to working through this pandemic, allowing us to continue to deliver for our customers. As a business, we invested in robust processes that were enabled by appropriate IT systems. Our IT teams responded to the pandemic incredibly efficiently and ensured those working from home had everything they needed for a seamless transition. Our business did not miss a beat.”

Business & Finance, Business Person of the Month

Business Person the MonthBusiness & Finance, in association with KPMG, rewards excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award. This award seeks to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and, particularly, those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.