Dairygold has confirmed that Michael Harte - who was interim chief executive - has been appointed to the role on a permanent basis.

Harte, who took over the role on an interim basis following the surprise departure of Conor Galvin to Ornua earlier this year, had been chief financial officer of the co-op since 2006.

He originally joined Dairygold in 1989 after graduating from the University of Limerick with a degree in business studies.

He is from a farming background in Timoleague, west Cork.

Dairygold chair Seán O’Brien welcomed the appointment, saying: “I am very pleased that we are in a position to appoint someone of Michael’s calibre as chief executive. Michael has extensive knowledge and experience of Dairygold and the industry.”

'Huge honour'

Harte said being appointed to the CEO position is a “huge honour” at a time where the industry faces “opportunities and challenges”.

He specifically called out Dairygold’s recent investment in Vita Active, saying that he is committed to realising the full potential of “Dairygold’s health and nutrition business”.

Harte calling out the Vita Active investment is interesting, as that is a non-dairy business.

His appointment comes at a time when Dairygold is under pressure for milk supply. It was down almost 5% in 2023 and is set to be around 7% lower this year.

The co-op decided in May to cut back on staffing hours and reduce cheese production over the summer months.

A spokesperson at the time said that “Dairygold has no choice but to take measures to mitigate the impact of reduced milk volumes on the business and milk suppliers”.