Meet our Executive Leadership Team

Jason Hawkins

Group Chief Executive Officer

Jason has been the Chief Executive Officer of Carbery Group since January 2018. Originally from Tralee, Co Kerry, Jason’s previous role was Chief Operating Officer with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), where he had responsibility for the organisation’s global ingredients business. DFA is a leading global dairy co-operative, based in Kansas, USA.

Prior to DFA, Jason had a long and distinguished career with Kerry Group, which he joined as a graduate accountant in 1999, after completing his business degree at the Institute of Technology Tralee. For most of his career, Jason has lived and worked in the United States, holding several leadership positions within the Taste & Nutrition division of Kerry Group, where he was responsible for the vision, strategy and growth of several of Kerry’s businesses in the region. Jason is a qualified accountant with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

Colm Leen

Group Chief Financial Officer

Colm is Chief Financial Officer of Carbery Group. A Bachelor of Commerce graduate of University College Cork he qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1987. Following a period working with KPMG in New York he joined Carbery as Company Accountant in 1988. In 1992, having worked on the financing of Carbery’s acquisition by the four West Cork co-operatives, he was appointed Financial Controller of Carbery Food Ingredients. In 1995 he was appointed Chief Financial Officer and was also appointed to the Board of Directors of Carbery Group.

As Group Chief Financial Officer, over the past 24 years he has been responsible for the overall financial strategy and management of the Group’s operations and significantly involved in all aspects of the international expansion of Carbery Group leading successive funding initiatives, acquisition evaluations and key investment decisions. In 1998 he was appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He is a former Director of Cork Chamber of Commerce [ 2015-2019] and over the past number of years has been a member of the Audit Committee of University College Cork.

John Holland

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

John is a graduate of University College Cork and holds a BSc. in Food Science and M.Sc. degree in Dairy Technology. Following graduation John joined Carbery Group and spent the early part of his career developing the group’s dairy based food ingredient business. He was then appointed to the position of Group Business Development Director and led the international expansion programme which built the group’s Synergy Flavours business through acquisition while also completing dairy joint ventures in both the UK and Brazil.

Synergy now has operations in UK, Italy, North America, South America and Asia. More recently John has assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer, Dairy Ireland with responsibility for the operation and strategic development of Carbery Group’s Irish operation based in Ballineen.

Rod Sowders

President, Synergy Flavors (Americas)

Roderick is President and CEO of Synergy Flavors Americas, having joined Synergy (then U.S. Flavors & Fragrances) as CEO in 2003 after the business was acquired by Carbery Group. During his leadership, the company has grown dramatically through strong focus on customer needs, innovation and strategic focus. Additionally, Synergy has completed and integrated a number of acquisitions in the US and Latin America during his tenure. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Synergy, he serves on the Leadership Team for the Carbery Group, working to create and implement strategies across the Group.

Rod has more than 25 years of experience in the food and specialty chemical industries. Prior to joining Synergy, he spent 5 years as an officer of Sensient Technologies North America, most recently serving as VP/GM for the Flavors Division. Prior to that he had spent 13 years with Monsanto. He holds an MBA from Emory University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Steve Morgan

Managing Director, Synergy Flavours (Europe)

Steve is the Managing Director of Synergy Flavours in Europe and a member of the Carbery Group Leadership team. Steve joined Synergy in 2006 and was appointed to his current role in 2008 where he is responsible for all Synergy Flavours operations in the UK, Ireland and Italy. Having played a key role in the growth of Synergy internationally, he has led the expansion of the European business through domestic and export sales, established operations in Thailand and Indonesia and led the acquisition and integration of the business in Trieste.

Prior to joining Carbery Group, Steve spent his early working life in the British Civil Service before a commercial career in food and beverage. This has spanned FMCG and ingredients for companies such as CPC Best Foods, Warner Lambert and Nutricia. His last role before joining Synergy was Business Development Director for McCormick in Northern Europe, where he was responsible for all trade marketing and retailer private label for their consumer business.

Anthony O'Callaghan

Group Chief Information Officer

Anthony is a seasoned IT professional with close to 20 years of successful IT experience spanning a number of industries. In his role as CIO Anthony is responsible for all digital operations across the Carbery Group globally and leading digital transformation towards a single group model.

Prior to his appointment to the CIO role within Carbery in January 2020, Anthony held various roles in companies such as Flex, Johnson Controls and Tyco and was responsible for functions such as IT Operations, Global Implementations, Global Data Analytics, Supply Chain Solutions, Commercial Sales Operations and PMO servicing both internal and external customers across the globe. Anthony is based out of our Ballineen facility in Ireland.

Sarah Abbott

Chief People Officer

Sarah is the Group Chief People Officer for Carbery Group. Her role is focused on driving our people strategy across the group, working to further align our business strategies with a comprehensive global people strategy. She joined Carbery in January 2021.

Originally from a farming background in West Cork, Sarah has worked globally throughout her career, having had a front row seat at some extraordinary talent transformations in several major corporations including Dell, EMC and Apple. Prior to this, Sarah was involved in talent initiatives at Musgraves Ireland, Ernst & Young and Morgan McKinley. Sarah has extensive experience of leading high performing teams internationally and brings a deep understanding of different cultures and how to work effectively across complex organisational structures. Most recently, Sarah has run her own successful HR consultancy practice.

Sebastiano Pagano

CEO of Carbery Group business in Asia

Sebastiano Pagano joined our business in late 2020 as Chief Executive of Carbery Group in Asia. Sebastiano is based in Bangkok and works closely with the commercial teams in Asia and in Ireland to provide seamless service to our customers in Asia across our Dairy, Nutrition and Taste Divisions. Asia is a major focus and priority area for Carbery Group, with a growing customer base. Sebastiano’s appointment recognises the importance of the Asia Pacific region in our strategic decision-making.

Sebastiano has been working in the food and beverage industry for more than 30 years, with experience working across Europe, North America and Asia. He started his career with Nestle, then moved to the flavour industry with Firmenich for 14 years, where he held senior leadership positions in Europe as well as in Japan and Korea. He most recently worked with Kerry and was responsible for their Taste business in APMEA (APAC/ Middle East/Africa).

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