Horseware Ireland gallops into field of international growth

Former Under Armour director and ex-EY M&A leader join leadership line-up at Horseware Ireland as annual turnover trots past €40m.

Horseware Ireland has seen its annual turnover exceed €40m and its headcount go beyond 500 people as the Louth company adds global business talent to its leadership team.

The global and market-leading producer of branded equestrian and pet products including rugs, clothing, therapies and accessories, has made two key senior management appointments from the branded sports apparel and financial services sectors.

“Both are highly skilled and experienced executives in areas of essential strategic importance to Horseware Ireland where they will contribute to our continuing growth and our further development in key markets including Europe, North America and Asia”

Former EMEA Commercial Director of Under Armour, Shane Meharg, has joined Horseware as chief commercial officer; while Louis O’Neill, most recently head of EY’s M&A team in Ireland, has joined Horseware as chief Financial officer.

Meharg is a specialist in the EMEA sporting market across all elements of sales, distribution, competition, market entry and growth opportunity. He has most recently worked in consultancy across the sector, prior to which he was EMEA Commercial Director of Under Armour for over six years to 2019 and held several senior marketing and sales roles with Nike Europe across the Action Sports, Running and Footwear categories.  He was also previously Country Manager of Nike Ireland. He holds a BA Degree from the University of Ulster.

O’Neill has joined Horseware Ireland from EY where he has been head of the M&A team in Ireland since 2018.  Prior to this he held the role of CFO to a group of growing entrepreneurial businesses.

Founded in 1985 by Tom and Carol MacGuinness, Horseware Ireland employs over 500 people globally, with facilities in Ireland, Cambodia, China, and the USA.

The company’s original and iconic Rambo turnout blanket was a revolution in the design, fit and quality of horse rugs. The Rambo Turnout Blanket is exported around the world, to countries like the United States, the UK, Sweden, Germany, and Australia.

The new leadership appointments, announced by Horseware Ireland CEO Mark Saunders, will be instrumental in driving international growth, also following from a recent majority investment in the firm by London based private equity firm Lonsdale Capital Partners, which has strong Irish links.

“Both are highly skilled and experienced executives in areas of essential strategic importance to Horseware Ireland where they will contribute to our continuing growth and our further development in key markets including Europe, North America and Asia. 

“Shane brings immense commercial acumen on a multi-market basis and Louis will drive our investment strategies and governance as we target further global expansion. I’m delighted to welcome each of them to Horseware Ireland. Both will contribute strongly to our ongoing progress where everything we do is centred on making life better for horse and rider, working closely with our industry and trade partners and customers throughout the world.”

“Shane brings immense commercial acumen on a multi-market basis and Louis will drive our investment strategies and governance as we target further global expansion. I’m delighted to welcome each of them to Horseware Ireland. Both will contribute strongly to our ongoing progress where everything we do is centred on making life better for horse and rider, working closely with our industry and trade partners and customers throughout the world

Horseware Ireland employs over 500 people globally, with annual revenues in excess of €40m and facilities that are wholly and directly owned and managed by the company in Ireland, the US, China and Cambodia. The group is currently in a programme to accelerate growth and further expand its market presence worldwide.

Main image at top (from left): Horseware Ireland chief commercial officer Shane Meharg; Horseware CEO Mark Saunders; and new Horseware CFO Louis O’Neill. Image: SON Photo

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 29 June 2021

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