Former Moy Park chief appointed director at Co Down food manufacturer

Janet McCollum has been served as a non-executive chairman at Comber-based Mash Direct since January
Gareth McKeown

THE former head of the north's biggest private sector employer has taken up a directorship role at a leading Co Down food manufacturer.

Janet McCollum, who served for over four years as chief executive officer at poultry producer Moy Park, is now serving as a non-executive director at Comber-based Mash Direct.

Ms McCollum joined Moy Park in 1993 and served in various senior roles, including finance director, before taking on the top job in January 2014.

In May last year the US owners of Moy Park, Pilgrims Pride named Chris Kirke as the new head of the business in place of Ms McCollum, who left the company.

Mr Kirke, who has almost three decades of industry experience, was appointed president of the poultry suppler and previously led the US division of Irish food firm Greencore Group, driving up company revenue from $300 million to $1.6 billion.

Announcing the appointment, president and CEO of Pilgrim's Pride, Bill Lovette paid tribute to Ms McCollum for her years of "dedicated service and commitment".

"Janet was instrumental in establishing Moy Park as an unquestioned leader in the food industry in the UK," he said.

“She has accomplished a lot and we are grateful for her more than 25 years of dedicated service and commitment to Moy Park."

In addition to her new position at Mash Direct, Ms McCollum also serves as a non-executive director at dairy processor Glanbia Ireland, a position she has held since May 2018.

Founded in Moygashel in 1943, Moy Park has grown into one of the UK's top 10 food companies, Northern Ireland's largest private sector business and one of Europe's leading poultry producers. It has production sites in Dungannon and Ballymena in addition to a processing site in Craigavon, employing more than 6,300 across the north.

Colorado-based Pilgrim's Pride purchased Moy Park from Brazilian-owned business JBS in a £1 billion deal in September 2017.

Mash Direct was launched by Martin and Tracy Hamilton and their sons Lance and Jack in 2004 at their family farm in Comber.

It grows and produces more than 40 convenient ‘field to fork' vegetable and potato dishes which are sold in major supermarkets including Henderson's, Musgrave, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and independents.

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