Cork man named 2021 EY Entrepreneur of the Year

Fermoy man Brian O’Sullivan, the chairman and founder of Irish global packaging company Zeus, has been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021.

The announcement was made during the 2021 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards ceremony that took place at the Powerscourt Hotel.

The annual awards ceremony took place as a mainly virtual event and was attended by a virtual audience of more than 2,000 people.

In a year that saw the program receive a record number of nominations, this year’s finalists collectively employ more than 3,900 people and generate revenues of more than €1 billion.

Mr. O’Sullivan founded Zeus in 1998 and has grown it into a global packaging power with sales of €300 million and a workforce of 670 people in 26 countries.

Mr. O’Sullivan not only won the overall award, but also won the International category.

Mr O’Sullivan said he was honored to be named EY Entrepreneur of the Year, and was “humbled to be chosen from a field of candidates who impressed and inspired me so much during the competition.”

He added: “Entrepreneurship is about hard work and dedication, but also about collaboration. “This victory is a recognition of the commitment and drive of everyone at Zeus as we build it into one of Europe’s largest privately-owned packaging companies. We have set ambitious goals that we consistently exceed, enabling us to double our revenue in the past five years.”

Mr O’Sullivan said that, like many other industries, the past 18 months have presented challenges they could never have predicted.

“By working closely with our customers and leveraging our expertise and experience, we have adapted to the new market reality. Our goal now is to bring our turnover to €500 million over the next five years, by putting innovation, people and sustainability first.”

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

David Henderson from Tobermore Concrete Limited was named 2021 EY Industry Entrepreneur Of The Year, while Aimee Connolly, from Sculpted by Aimee named 2021 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 the prestigious honor was awarded to Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who is now leading a global campaign to tackle the climate crisis.

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