Greencore's giant tipped for the top since youth
AGRICULTURE Minister Simon Coveney is one of the stars of the cabinet, but for years it was his brother Patrick who was the star of the Coveney family.
The 6'7" Greencore chief executive, who took home some €1.7m last year, was a straight A student and an outstanding sportsman.
The 42-year-old was the top student at UCC in 1992 and went on to be a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, where he earned a PhD in management studies.
A talented rugby player, he played second row for London Irish and was good enough to play professionally, but preferred a career with management consultants McKinsey.
At McKinsey, Mr Coveney was a fast riser, spending time in the US and London before moving back to Dublin as country partner while still in his early 30s.
In his role with McKinsey he worked extensively with the food sector and joined Greencore as chief financial officer in 2005.
Clearly, he had been marked as CEO of the future and it was no surprise when he was tabbed for the top job in December 2007. At 37, he was one of the youngest heads of a public company.
Mr Coveney has led the firm into the "food to go" business to the point that it is now one of the biggest ready meals firms in Britain, and is the biggest supplier of sandwiches to Marks & Spencer.