Tony O’Neill

Dunbia has shaken up its management team in the aftermath of the Dawn Meats merger with deputy CEO Tony O’Neill to step down.

Group CEO Jim Dobson said the move marked a “significant” waypoint for the company’s growth as it looked to the future.

O’Neill has been with the Northern Irish red meat processor for the past three years.

Dunbia and Dawn announced last month that they had agreed to combine the UK operations of both businesses, with Dawn taking the majority stake in the joint venture. Dobson will run the new joint venture, with Dawn Meats CEO Niall Browne acting as executive chairman.

“This marks a significant waypoint for our company’s growth, particularly as we look to the future with our new jv partners Dawn Meats and work to fully integrate a rapidly expanding business,” Dobson said.

“Tony has worked tirelessly to bring this project to a successful conclusion and we wish him well in his planned retirement.”

O’Neill added he relished the challenge of the past three years, having “long admired” the energy and entrepreneurship demonstrated by Jim and Jack Dobson in growing Dunbia in the UK and Ireland.

“I am delighted to have played a part in driving forward such a dynamic company as Dunbia during a challenging time for the red meat sector and I have enjoyed working with a fantastic group of people,” he said.

“I am leaving a business poised to develop and grow with the new jv partnership and I wish my former colleagues at Dunbia every continued success.

“I will be continuing to engage with Dunbia and the wider food industry through my chairmanship of the Agri-Food Strategy Board (AFSB) and in my new role with the Northern Ireland Food Marketing Association (NIFMA) as we work with the executive to implement the remaining key recommendations identified in the AFSB ”Going for Growth” action plan and enable Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry to exploit its full potential in the volatile environment created by Brexit.”