Barry Connolly, co-founder of Fulfil Nutrition, was last night named Business Person of the Year 2022 at The Irish Times Business Person of the Year Awards, in association with Bank of Ireland.
Connolly was named Business Person of the Month by the newspaper in April 2022 after Fulfil Nutrition was sold to confectionary giant Ferrero for a cool €160m.
Connolly spotted a gap in the Irish market in 2016 for a high-protein “impulse purchase” bar that was aimed at the broader market and not just gym goers. He pushed for an aggressive expansion into the UK market.
“Everyone nominated has displayed a resilience and determination to not only keep the show on the road, but to thrive in the face of adversity”
The brand was developed in-house at Connolly’s Richmond Marketing Group before being spun into a separate business that at the time of the acquisition by Ferrero was selling 1m cases a year in Ireland and the UK.
Exemplary business leadership
Deal of the Year went to Global Shares, the Clonakilty business founded by Tim Houston that was acquired by New York banking giant JP Morgan in March 2022 for an undisclosed sum, but which was reportedly in the region of €665m.
The Company of the Year accolade went to building materials giant CRH. In February of last year, CRH said it had agreed to sell its North American glass building products unit, Oldcastle Building Envelope, in a deal worth a higher-than-expected $3.8bn (€3.4bn) to KPS Capital Partners. This helped to give the Irish company the headroom to invest $3bn on 21 acquisitions last year, the largest being the $1.9bn purchase of US residential fencing and railing company Barrette Outdoor Living in July.
Local Enterprise of the Year was Cavan-based ATA. In December, precision tool-maker ATA acquired businesses in the Netherlands and Britain, in moves that will take its annual revenues to about €100m and its group employee numbers to 500. The Irish company acquired Dutch manufacturer Van Hoorn Carbide and Industrial Tooling Corporation in Tamworth, England. The businesses add about €25m to ATA’s annual turnover.
The Distinguished Leader in Business award went to John Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Fitzpatrick Hotel Group. Fitzpatrick is a well-known hotelier and philanthropist, and owner of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group New York. He was born in Dublin, and with his father, brothers and sisters worked in many of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group’s Irish hotels in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, Fitzpatrick Manhattan and its sister hotel, Fitzpatrick Grand Central are the best-known Irish owned and operated properties in Manhattan.
Oliver Wall, chief of staff and head of Corporate Affairs at Bank of Ireland
“The Irish Times Business Awards acknowledge outstanding corporate leadership and excellence amongst Irish business leaders,” said Ciaran Hancock, business editor with The Irish Times.
“The calibre and quality of those nominated this year was testament to the strength and resilience of the Irish business community in what was a highly challenging year, marked by soaring inflation, war in Ukraine and the lifting of Covid restrictions. The Irish Times, and in particular the business editorial team, are delighted to help showcase and celebrate the successes of those nominated and wish everyone the very best for the year ahead. I would also like to thank Bank of Ireland for its continued support of the Business Awards.”
Speaking at the awards last night Oliver Wall, chief of staff and head of Corporate Affairs at Bank of Ireland, commended the nominees and winners for displaying exemplary business leadership.
“These awards acknowledge outstanding corporate leadership and excellence amongst Irish business leaders. And I know from speaking to colleagues on the judging panel that it has not been an easy task to decide who the winners are going to be.
“Everyone nominated tonight has displayed a resilience and determination to not only keep the show on the road, but to thrive in the face of adversity.
“On behalf of Bank of Ireland, I want to say that The Irish Times Business Awards is an important partnership for us.
“We work with businesses of all sizes across the island of Ireland to help fulfil their potential. The Bank is here to support our business customers through turbulent times as it has always done throughout our 240-year history.
“With our presence in the United States, the UK, France, Germany and Spain we support both Irish companies expanding their international reach and also international companies looking to established or grow in Ireland,” Wall said. “I want to finish by commending all those nominated. All of you have displayed exemplary business leadership.”
Main image at top: Bank of Ireland chief of staff and head of Corporate Affairs Oliver Wall, Minister for Finance Michael McGrath, TD; Business Person of the Year Barry Connolly, co-founder of Fulfil Nutrition; and business editor of The Irish Times Ciaran Hancock