Kerry Group chief steps down amid milk price row

Farmers have felt the pinch as the market's gone south...

Kerry Group chief steps down amid milk price row

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Kerry Group has confirmed reports that the plc’s chief executive, Stan McCarthy, has stepped down as chief executive of the Kerry co-op.

The development is understood to reflect increasing divisions between the Plc and farmer members of its founding co-op over allegations the Group has failed to honour its commitment to pay “the leading milk price” and has slipped behind the price paid by neighbouring co-ops in West Cork.

Dairy farmers across the country are under pressure due to a sharp slide in global dairy prices which has caused the price paid for their milk to fall below the cost of production in many instances.

Kerry Co-op still holds a near 14% stake in the plc and the co-op’s 3,300 individual dairy farmers hold a larger aggregate stake.

Farmers feel that the group should have issued a thirteenth 'top-up' payment to compensate for the low prices.

The group has declined to comment on the circumstance surrounding his exit.

A spokesperson said that it will, "continue to engage with all shareholders and milk suppliers."