Rugby greats who made it in business: Patrick Coveney
If he hadn’t devoted so much time and effort to his studies there are many who believe that Patrick Coveney, brother of Agriculture Minister Simon, could have gone all the way and togged out in the green jersey.
However, he played at senior level for UCC, Oxford University and London Irish. He was also selected to play for the Irish Universities.
After graduating with a PhD in management studies from New College Oxford Mr Coveney joined management consultants McKinsey, with whom he spent seven years before becoming finance director of Greencore in 2003. Two years later, at the age of just 37, he was appointed chief executive of the company.
Over the past eight years Mr Coveney has transformed Greencore. In 2006 the group closed the last of its legacy Irish sugar manufacturing plants. This was followed by the £112m acquisition of UK convenience food group Uniq in 2011. The following year Greencore moved its Stock Exchange listing to London and switched its reporting currency to sterling.
Greencore is now the world’s largest sandwich-maker with sales of £1.16bn and pre-tax profits of £42m (before exceptional items) in 2012. It supplies most of the leading UK food retailers including Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Sainsburys and Marks & Spencer.
Despite this hectic schedule of corporate activity, Mr Coveney remains involved with matters Rugby. In May of this year he was appointed to the commercial board of Munster Rugby. The board has been established to provide the province with strategic guidance, advice and support.