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Former Moy Park head Janet McCollum has been awarded a CBE for services to economic development in Northern Ireland
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE former head of poultry producer Moy Park and the executive chairman of Bushmills Irish Whiskey are among business figures named in the the Queen's Birthday 2018 Honours List.

Janet McCollum, who until recently was chief executive at Moy Park, has been awarded a CBE for services to economic development in Northern Ireland, while drinks industry veteran David Gosnell has been awarded an OBE for services to the economy.

In her 25 years with the company, Ms McCollum was instrumental in establishing Moy Park as an unquestioned leader in the food industry in the UK.

Currently a £1.4 billion business employing more than 12,000 people across facilities in the UK, Holland and France, it is the north's largest private sector business and one of Europe's foremost poultry producers.

Last year Moy Park was bought by US-based Pilgrim's Pride, a leading global provider of fresh and value-added poultry and prepared foods, and in May Ms McCollum left her role as chief executive to pursue other business interests.

Speaking at the time, Pilgrim's global president and chief executive Bill Lovette, said: “Janet has accomplished a lot and we are grateful for her more than 25 years of dedicated service and commitment to Moy Park. As she hands the reins I want to wish her the very best in her next endeavour.”

Ms McCollum has achievement many personal accolades in recent years, including being named 'Large Company Director of the Year' at the IoD UK Awards in 2017.

She said: "I am truly humbled to receive this honour. I feel very proud to be a part of Northern Ireland's business community and in particular, to contribute to the agri-food sector. It is a sector that punches well above its weight and continues to deliver world-class innovation and standards.”

The OBE to David Gosnell recognises his committed service to the economy following a 40 year career that has seen him continuously encourage investment in Northern Ireland's food and drinks industry.

He has worked in Northern Ireland since the beginning of his career, with his first role at HJ Heinz in Coleraine in 1975. He has been leading Bushmills Irish Whiskey since 2005, first as managing director when the brand was owned by Diageo and more recently as executive chairman after Casa Cuervo bought the Bushmills brand in 2014.

Under his direction, The Old Bushmills Distillery has taken steps to take advantage of the huge global growth the Irish whiskey category is experiencing – moving to a 24 hour production schedule and increasing its annual output. He has also overseen product innovation with the introduction of several new products.

David worked for Diageo for 16 years in a variety of roles, most recently as president of global supply and procurement, where he led a team of 9,000 people around the world across manufacturing, logistics and technical operations.

He also did lots to support the spirits industry in Northern Ireland, securing £30 million investment into a new Baileys plant in Mallusk, which saw it bottle and export Baileys to around 130 countries. He also oversaw multi-million pound investment into Guinness's canning and bottling plant in Marshall Road in east Belfast.

He said: “I always wanted to make a positive difference to people's lives and I'm delighted to be receiving this recognition. I have had the pleasure of working on fantastic projects in the spirits industry in Northern Ireland and it has been a privilege to contribute to the sector's growth over the years.”

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