Simon O’Keeffe

Since I returned home from the US when my children reached school age, I’ve lived in my family home near the sea in Schull, West Cork. I am a keen sailor and an erratic golfer and I am very interested in the area’s rich heritage, ancient and historical.

After school at Glenstal Abbey, I came away from University College Cork (UCC) with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in marketing. My post-graduate studies include a Post-graduate Diploma in International Selling from DIT and UCC’s Executive MBA as well as the Advanced Leadership Programme delivered by the Timoney Institute. I also have had the benefit of Nike’s STEP or Strategic Education and Training Programme and of rigorous management training at RJR (No52 on the Fortune 500 while I worked there) and at Nobel Industrier.

Before returning to Ireland, I spent two years working in Oregon, USA for Nike Inc. Before that, I spent seven years in Germany, where I worked for RJR Tobacco GmbH, for Nobel’s Consumer Goods division and for Nike International. I am fluent in German and deeply familiar with German culture and practice. In all, I have spent four years working in the US in Oregon and Virginia. I have helped many owner-managed companies to establish and accelerate businesses in Ireland and overseas. I have years of ‘on the road’ sales experience,In for Nike in Germany and in the US, for Kompass in Ireland and for Advanced Innovations in the UK, Canada and Israel.

Stephen O’Keeffe

I started working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for Almarai, the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company while I was still studying Dairy Science at University College Cork. After earning an honours BSc there, I worked for the burgeoning Almarai for 10 years in different roles from NPD through QA and Operations.

I returned home to Schull to set up the Land to Brand project management and consultancy business. Over the past ten years I have specialised in New Product Development and New Process Development, Design and Build for clients in the food sector. While managing projects for Almarai, I was able to hone my natural interpersonal and communications capabilities and augment them with organizational and technical skills. I have led a number of New Product Development projects and successful launches of new yogurts, soft cheeses, flavoured milk drinks and flavoured fermented drinks. I have also achieved efficiency and productivity increases by leading successful projects to design and implement new processes and new packing methods for new products as well as process improvements and modifications projects. I have worked on dairy, meat and fish products and related processing plants.

I have recently completed a major project to design and build a 250kL/Day plant that will produce dairy liquids, flavoured dairy beverages, yogurts, recombined milk products and soft cheeses for short and long shelf-life markets.

Although my base is Schull, and much of my work is with Irish businesses, I spend about half my time in the Middle East and I am deeply familiar with the social and business cultures of the region. My clients value my ability to think and communicate clearly, which helps management and staff to understand their contribution to the success of the project – and what to do next.