Shock co-op boss exit after milk price row
Kerry Group chief Stan McCarthy steps down from Kerry Co-op as 'thirteenth payment' row rumbles on
An increasingly heated row over the milk price being paid to dairy farmers has seen a bitter division emerge between the multi-billion euro Kerry Group and its founding co-op, with Stan McCarthy stepping down as chief executive of the Kerry Co-op.
It is feared the move will see milk suppliers' direct access to the head of the global ingredients maker significantly reduced.
The relations between the co-op and management at Kerry Group have become increasingly strained in recent times as farmers feel management has rowed back on a promise they stress was given to pay "the leading milk price". However, the recent row over the 'thirteenth payment' which Kerry's 3,300 farmer suppliers feel was needed to top-up last year's milk price is believed to have culminated in the recent move.
The issue of the 'thirteenth payment' is due to go to mediation after no resolution was found.
Mr McCarthy, who commanded a package of €4.23m last year including bonuses, has resigned as chief executive of the co-op. However, the longstanding company secretary will continue to provide services to the co-op.
"It is a big blow for dairy farmers as they have lost access to the chief executive," a farmer close to the ongoing row said.
"It is a loss of influence for farmers."
A spokesman for the Kerry Group confirmed Mr McCarthy had stepped back from his role with the co-op.