Cork Man Receives 2021 EY Entrepreneur Award

Fermoy man Brian O’Sullivan, Chairman and Founder of Irish-owned global packaging company Zeus, has been selected for the 2021 EY Entrepreneur Award.

The announcement was made at the 2021 EY Awards for Entrepreneur of the Year held at the Powerscourt Hotel.

The annual awards ceremony was held as a primarily virtual event and was attended by a virtual audience of over 2,000 people.

In a year in which the program received a record number of nominations, this year’s finalists collectively employ more than 3,900 people and have revenues of over €1 billion.

Mr. O’Sullivan founded Zeus in 1998 and built it into a global packaging powerhouse with a turnover of €300 million and employing 670 people in 26 countries.

In addition to receiving the overall award, Mr. O’Sullivan also won the international category.

Mr O’Sullivan said he was extremely proud to have been named EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year, and “humbly to be chosen from among a group of candidates who have impressed and inspired me so much during the competition”.

He added, “Entrepreneurship means hard work and dedication, but it is also about collaboration.” This win recognizes the efforts and motivation of everyone at Zeus as we have built it into one of the largest privately owned packaging companies in Europe. We have set ambitious goals that we constantly exceed, allowing us to double our sales in the past five years.”

Like many industries, O’Sullivan said, the past 18 months have brought challenges they could not have anticipated.

“By working closely with our customers and taking advantage of our experience and expertise, we have adapted to new market realities. Our goal now is to raise our turnover to €500 million in the next five years, by prioritizing innovation, people and sustainability.”

Earlier this year, Zeus completed a €40 million, two-year program of strategic acquisitions as well as the subsequent acquisition of Limerick Packaging in October 2021.

David Henderson of Tobermore Concrete Limited was named the 2021 EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year, while Aimee Connolly, of Sculpted by Aimee, was named EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.

Each year EY also presents a special award to individuals who have made a significant contribution to life on the island of Ireland through their vision, innovation and commitment to excellence. This year, this prestigious honor was given to Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights who is now leading a global campaign to tackle the climate crisis.

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