Founder and chairman of Finnebrogue Artisan, Denis Lynn, has died aged 63 following a quad bike accident on his family estate.
The company issued a statement saying: “Our thoughts are with Denis’s wife Christine, his children Kerry, Clare, Tara and Ciara and the entire family at this incredibly difficult time.
“Denis was an innovator and a visionary with an infectious passion for delivering positive change for the planet and its people. He leaves behind an extraordinary list of achievements.
“Denis also leaves behind Finnebrogue and a vision for its future. Finnebrogue was his creation. It now falls on all of us – the Finnebrogue family – to continue his outstanding work.”
The board of directors has met following Lynn’s death and non-executive director David Manning has been appointed interim chairman with immediate effect. Non-executive director Colin Walsh has been appointed interim deputy chairman.
Finnebrogue Artisan’s senior management team will lead the business on a day-to-day basis.
The company added: “Denis was our founder, leader and inspiration. We will best honour his memory by invoking his passion for making food the best it can possibly be, without being bound by the way it’s always been done – and by trying every day to make the world a better place.”
Lynn started by selling pizzas and pies out of a little white van, and quickly realised to be successful he needed to maximise volume and margin. In discovering a new French fry, he became the largest supplier of Lord Chips in Europe and used the money he made to buy the Finnebrogue estate in 1991.
During the 1990s he was a beef farmer and then a deer farmer. He established Finnebrogue as the largest farmer and processor of deer in the UK, supplying Michelin star restaurants, top supermarkets and celebrity chefs.
Since then, he has been at the heart of many food revolutions, from the posh dog to nitrite-free bacon. In three years from 2015 he opened three state of the art factories, grew the business’s turnover to nearly £100m and now employs 500 staff.
In 2018, the Institute of Directors named him the UK’s most innovative director of the year.