Kieran Calnan is the chairman of BIM. He is the former CEO, of South Western Services (SWS) Limited, a highly successful company that was based in West Cork, which provided Business processing outsourcing services to a long and varied list of blue chip clients in the food and drink, media, banking, telecommunications, retail and energy sectors. As senior manager of the company for 25 years culminating in his appointment as Chief Executive in 1996, Mr. Calnan oversaw the diversification of SWS from a single service provider (agricultural services) to a multi-service company that included Renewables, Business Process Outsourcing, Forestry and Business Services. The energy business was subsequently sold to Bord Gais in 2009 for a consideration in excess of €500 million.
Mr. Calnan played an active role in promoting the award winning West Cork Fuschia brand (aimed at marketing quality products including seafood from the West Cork area) during its formative years. Kieran has also been responsible for driving job creation and revenue to the West Cork region through the development of a state of the art Business/Technology Park culminating in upwards of 1,000 people currently employed on the site.
Kieran is a member of the Advisory Committee of the UCC 'Ignite' programme, an initiative that aims to promote entrepreneurship in the Munster region and also a Director/Shareholder of a U.S. company, Lakeview Energy, who are involved in renewable fuel.
Aidan O’Driscoll is currently Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. As Secretary General, he has wide ranging responsibilities for the development of the Agri-Food Sector including the ambitious Food Wise 2025 report. Mr. O’Driscoll joined the Department of Agriculture and Food in 1977 as an Administrative Officer and was subsequently trained as a Policy Analyst in the Department of Finance. He has served in a variety of posts in the Department including Chief Economist from 1995 to 2001 and Assistant Secretary General from 2001 to January 2015. His most recent responsibilities as Assistant Secretary were for EU Affairs, Economics and Climate Change. Mr. O’Driscoll has worked in Africa and Asia in a variety of roles with FAO, Irish Aid and a private consulting company from 1985 to 1992. He also served in the Irish Embassy, Rome as Agriculture Attaché /Deputy Representative to FAO, WFP and IFAD 1994 – 1995. He was Chairman of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) 2000-2002. Educated in University College, Dublin; Trinity College, Dublin and the University of London (Wye); Mr. O’Driscoll has a BA (Hons) in Economics and Politics, MSc Statistics/Policy Analyst, Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Management and MSc Strategic Management.
Malcolm Beveridge, has a BSc (Hons) in Zoology and a PhD in Ecology from the University of Glasgow, UK. He is currently acting Head of Aquaculture in the Fisheries Department, FAO, Rome. Malcolm served as Director of Aquaculture and Genetics at WorldFish, 2006-2014, prior to which he was Director of the Scottish Government Fisheries Research Services Freshwater Laboratory, Pitlochry. Apart from a year as an FAO Andre Mayer Fellow at the College of Fisheries, University of the Philippines, he was a member of academic staff at the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Scotland 1980 – 2001, where he was appointed Reader in Environmental Research in 2000. He was also a Visiting Research Fellow at Imperial College, University of London (2006-7) and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Stirling.
Jean Jacques Vandenheede is the senior retail industry analyst for Nielsen Europe. In this role, he uses the comprehensive resources of the Nielsen Company globally, with a special focus on Europe to map the changes that affect the grocery retailing industry. He analyses format realities and the change drivers.
He looks in a prospective way towards developing markets. Special attention is given to new developments within formats and channels.
After 36 years with Nielsen, he remains passionate and curious to discover new angles and perspectives to this fascinating chameleon we call the consumer. The Nielsen Company is the global information and media company with leading positions in more than 100 countries.
Ali has worked in sustainability for over ten years across the private, public and NGO sectors both at home and abroad. She has recently joined Bord Bia as Sustainability Development Manager where she is part of the team involved in the development and implementation of Bord Bia’s Origin Green Sustainability programme.
Prior to this Ali spent two years working as an Origin Green Ambassador, promoting the sustainability credentials of the rapidly developing Irish Food Industry.
Ali holds MSc Business Sustainability (UCD Smurfit), MSc Management for Sustainable Development (DCU), and a BSc Environmental Management (DIT).
Mary is a thought leader and strategic pathfinder in the global food and agribusiness sector, working with companies, governments and organizations to diagnose the forces of change shaping the future of the industry. Mary translates these insights into actionable strategy, advising on how best to position businesses for significant growth both within existing and non-traditional markets.
Working with CEO’s of industry-leading firms such as Barilla, Bunge, Domino’s, Fonterra, Kepak, Nestlé, Olam and Yum! China, Mary has authored more than 60 case studies highlighting situations of strategic change and transformational leadership. Her work has been published in Harvard Business Review, Market Leader, and the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review. She is a popular keynote speaker and has taught and presented at conferences in 17 countries.
Mary is the former Director of the Agribusiness Program at the Harvard Business School and has served on the boards of Cooksimple, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), Fractal Antenna Systems, RiceTec, Stiftung Furst Lichtenstein and has been awarded the IFAMA Fellowship, in recognition of her contribution to the industry. She has also advised the Irish government on the strategic direction of the country’s food industry, co-authoring the Pathways for Growth report that led to the creation of the world’s first country brand based on sustainability, Bord Bia’s Origin Green.
A native of Kentucky where she still owns a farm, Mary holds a BS in Chemical Engineering with High Distinction from the University of Kentucky and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School.
Tara McCarthy is the Chief Executive Officer of BIM. A Bachelor of Commerce graduate with an MBS in Marketing from Smurfit Business School; Tara operated in overseas markets for over 10 years in Germany, France and Belgium. An affiliate of Harvard Business School and IMD Business School, Switzerland; Tara has been a regular contributor to the Government’s Food Harvest 2020 and 2025 reports and succeeded in delivering a number of instrumental initiatives for Bord Bia and the Irish Food Industry under the ‘Pathways for Growth’ programme.
Ms. McCarthy was Director of the Food and Beverages Division in Bord Bia and has led a team of Senior Executives on the development of the seafood, dairy, prepared foods; alcohol and small business sectors.