LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Zambeef Products plc’s joint chief executive officer and co-founder Carl Irwin retires at 52 at the end of March after 23 years at the helm of one of the leading food retailers in Zambia and Southern Africa.
Dr Irwin, together with fellow founder and joint chief executive officer Francis Grogan, successfully grew a small business – that famously begun with just 60 employees and a single butchery, delivering meat off the back of an equally famed Land Rover in 1994 – into what is now a multi-national conglomerate.
Zambeef is one of the largest and most successful local companies in Zambia, and is listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange, with a secondary listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.
As Joint CEO, Dr Irwin presided over several key milestones that have helped grow the company into one of the region’s greatest success stories, with 195 retail outlets throughout Zambia and West Africa, and more than 7,000 employees.
In addition to the stock exchange listings in both Zambia and London, he was instrumental with Francis Grogan in driving Zambeef’s investment of more than US$100 million in the last five years, developing Zambeef’s operations into world class operations.
Zambeef’s turnover represents 1 per cent of the national GDP, making it a significant industry player in the agriculture sector as well as contributor to the economic and social wellbeing of the country.
“On behalf of shareholders, employees and the Board, I would like to thank Carl Irwin for his outstanding contribution to Zambeef over the past 23 years. He, along with Francis Grogan, co-founded the business and it has been through their vision, entrepreneurial drive and leadership that Zambeef has grown to become a market-leading and respected Zambian and Southern African business,” said Zambeef chairman Dr Jacob Mwanza.
Taking a leaf from his parents Oliver John Irwin and Molly Irwin, Dr Irwin’s approach to life and business can be summed up in four approaches; work hard, think outside of the box, pick a fight you know you can win, and carry out your dealings with integrity and honesty.
The accountant-turned-entrepreneur began his career as an articled clerk in the London office of Coopers and Lybrand while doing his chartered accountancy exams with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales which he completed in 1992. This was after undergoing his secondary and tertiary education in South Africa and England.
During his tertiary education, he ventured into veterinary science at the University of Pretoria – something unrelated to his accountancy profession – before deciding on taking business studies.
Dr Irwin graduated with a Bachelor of Commence from the University of Cape Town and is a Fellow of the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of England and Wales. He is also a shareholder and director of several other companies covering tourism, agriculture, and aviation, including Zambia’s domestic scheduled airline Proflight Zambia.
Equipped with both farming and business knowledge there was no stopping the young business man who later teamed up with another tenacious young enterprising meat industry specialist from Ireland, Francis Grogan, forming the dynamic duo whose work over the years has earned the respect and admiration of a nation for their vision to create a self-sustaining, viable and proud local business.
Carl Irwin said: “I have greatly enjoyed my 23 years with Zambeef and my decision to retire has not been an easy one. Earlier this year, I notified the board of my wish to spend more time with my family.”
“I would like to thank every one of the 7,267 employees of Zambeef for their contribution to where Zambeef is today. I feel very proud of what we have achieved as a team in creating a Zambian company that is a world-class operation. In addition, I would like to thank my Joint CEO, Francis Grogan, with whom it has been a pleasure working.
I look forward to watching Zambeef continue to grow and be a national champion driving Zambian agricultural products into the wider SADC/COMESA region. It has been a privilege to be involved with Zambeef for the last 23 years.”
Tim Pollock, who joined Zambeef as a Non-Executive Director in September, 2016 and Group Managing as at January 1, 2018 to date, will step into the role of Joint Chief Executive Officer with Mr Francis Grogan.
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