Cork man named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021

Cork man named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021

Brian O’Sullivan and wife Margaret Ann O’Sullivan at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards 2021.

Fermoy man Brian O’Sullivan, the chairman and founder of Irish-owned global packaging company Zeus, has been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021.

The announcement was made at the 2021 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards ceremony which took place at Powerscourt Hotel.

The annual awards ceremony was held as a primarily virtual event and was attended by a virtual audience of more than 2,000 people. 

In a year where the programme received a record number of nominations, this year’s finalists collectively employ more than 3,900 people and have revenues in excess of €1 billion.

Mr O’Sullivan founded Zeus in 1998 and has built it into a global packaging force with a turnover of €300 million and a staff of 670 people in 26 countries.

As well as picking up the overall award, Mr O’Sullivan also won the International category.

Mr O’Sullivan said he was deeply honoured to be named EY Entrepreneur of the Year, and “humbled to be chosen from a field of candidates who have impressed and inspired me so much throughout the competition.” 

He added: “Entrepreneurship is about hard work and dedication, but also about collaboration. “This win recognises the effort and drive of everyone at Zeus as we build it into one of Europe’s largest privately-owned packaging companies. We have set ambitious goals which we consistently surpass, allowing us to double our turnover in the last five years.” 

Mr O’Sullivan said that like many industries, the last 18 months have brought challenges they could never have predicted. 

“By working closely with our customers and leveraging our expertise and experience, we have adapted to new market realities. Our goal now is to bring our turnover to €500 million in the next five years, by prioritising innovation, people and sustainability.” 

Earlier this year, Zeus completed a €40 million, two-year programme of strategic acquisitions as well as the subsequent acquisition of Limerick Packaging in October 2021.

David Henderson of Tobermore Concrete Limited was named 2021 EY Industry Entrepreneur Of The Year while Aimee Connolly, of Sculpted by Aimee named 2021 was named EY Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year. 

Each year EY also presents a special award to individuals who have made a significant contribution to life on the island of Ireland through their vision, innovation and commitment to excellence. This year, the prestigious honour was awarded to Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who is now leading a global campaign to tackle the climate crisis. 

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