Old Portoran heads the Moy Park group as it goes global

Published: 3 Jan 2013 13:000 comments

The Moy Park Group, operating across Northern Ireland for more than 60 years, continues to expand with more farmers in Fermanagh becoming suppliers of parent and grandparent stock as well as broilers.

Nigel Dunlop.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Moy Park, which is now part of the Brazilian Marfrig brand, is Nigel Dunlop, an Old Portoran.

Nigel Dunlop, joined Moy Park in September 2007 as General Director.

This year, he was invited as guest speaker at Portora Royal School's prize day and when he began his address, he said it was his first time to return to the school since he left as a pupil in 1975.

"It's a strange feeling coming back," he said.

Mr. Dunlop revealed to pupils, parents and guests how Moy Park was founded in 1943 and had a proud history in the food business but especially poultry and chicken products.

In his address which he illustrated with a powerful video called "Food - challenges of feeding the world," he revealed a number of facts which he said shaped his career. He was born in Africa, with his family having a 100-year assocation with Portora. Some of his past relatives also attended the school.

After leaving Portora, Nigel Dunlop entered Sandhurst's Royal Military Academy and served for three years with the Brigade of Gurkhas who were based in Nepal reaching the rank of Captain. As part of his training while attached to them, Nigel said he had to learn Nepalese as much of their work was in remote upland areas of the country.

"I was sent to Nepal for five months of trekking and during that time I saw three people who could speak English," he revealed.

He explained how the Gurkhas, were famed for their bravery, courage and loyalty.

After his spell with the Gurkhas, Nigel went into business, with the Gallahers tobacco company where he served as Group Operations Director of the Gallaher Group from 2002, having joined as a management trainee in 1980.

He spent periods of time in production, sales, marketing and distribution and held a series of production and factory management posts from 1982 to 1991 at Gallaher Group plc and served as its Head of Cigar Division in 1991. At Gallaher Group, Mr. Dunlop was responsible for implementing major investment and rationalisation (concentrating three sites into one), achieving significant cost, quality and productivity improvements. In 1997, Mr. Dunlop served as Head of Manufacturing of Gallaher, with responsibility for all three UK manufacturing divisions, where he was responsible for the UK cigarette rationalisation programme into Lisnafillan, which was completed ahead of plan. He served as an Executive Director of Gallaher Group plc since January 1, 2003. Mr. Dunlop served on the Board of the Northern Ireland Management Council and serves as a Trustee of UK Crimestoppers.

His advised those about to start a new career to make changes for the better and to make a difference in life.

With careers in business, Nigel said he had the opportunity to travel all over the world having been to Russia, China, Africa, Singapore.

"Treating people in the same you want to be treated, is important as well as building relationships," he said.

Nigel explained that when the Gallahers Group was sold for 20bn US dollars, he decided to return to Northern Ireland. and he was fortunate to be appointed to a post with Moy Park which was going through a lot of change with high feed costs .

"That was one of the most challenging periods of my career," he says, reflecting on a workforce of over 10,000 people with 600 farmers, major retailers and generally doing business with "great people."

He said food was a great sector to be involved in and one of the greatest challenges will be how to feed the growing population.

Nigel revealed that when he was born, the world had a population of 2.8 billion which had grown to four billion people when he left Portora in 1975. To-day the world's population is seven billion.

He told the students at prize day, "By the time you are my age, there will be nine billion people in the world."

He said because many across other parts of the world want to eat a western style diet, the challenge will be how to provide enough food.

"The world has only a limited amount of capacity so how are we going to feed the world?" he asked.

He said everyone could see now the importance of food and agriculture which was recognised by the governments both in Northern Ireland and across the United Kingdom.

"I tend to see it offers solutions for people but it will be one of the biggest challenges we face. It represents great opportunities for people here and I think Portora gives a huge start in life more than you will ever realise.

He told them, "Three things stand out for me - be yourselves, make a difference and treat people the way you would like to be treated yourselves."

He says it was his non-executive directorship of Warburtons bread company in England, that gave him an insight to the food business.

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