Aaron Forde, the long-time chief executive of Irish dairy and sports nutrition company Aurivo, is to step down from the role.

Forde has been CEO of the the County Sligo-based cooperative – behind brands such as Connacht Gold, Organic for Us and Donegal Creameries – for nearly 16 years. 

Under Aaron Forde’s leadership the business has evolved from a largely domestic cooperative to a globally focused business with a milk supply approaching 0.5bn litres and sales in 50 markets internationally. 

It now has a workforce of around 650 people.

Forde said: “It has been a privilege to lead the Aurivo team and to foster the growth of the business during a time of great opportunity and challenge for the industry. The last 16 years have been some of the most fulfilling of my professional life.. 

“It is the correct time now for me to step down and for a new leader to take Aurivo to the next phase of growth. I wish all in Aurivo continued success and will follow its journey as a successful globally focused agribusiness with interest.”

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Pat Duffy, chairman of Aurivo said: “During his 16 years at Aurivo, Aaron has demonstrated that he is a strong and dynamic leader who knows our business inside and out. A tireless advocate for driving improvement across the business, he worked hard to execute our strategy and to deliver exceptional growth for the business. Indeed, Aurivo is stronger today with his leadership.”

In September Aurivo announced it had invested EUR6m (US$6.6m at the prevailing exchange rate) in its milk-processing facility in Killygordon, County Donegal.