Safefood appoints new interim chief executive

Dr Gary A Kearney is a highly experienced food safety expert

Dr Gary A. Kearney appointed as new interim Safefood chief executive



16 November 2022

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Safefood, the body responsible for promoting food safety and healthy eating to consumers on the island of Ireland, has appointed Dr Gary A. Kearney as its new interim chief executive officer.

Dr Kearney will lead the North-South Body’s senior management team and 30 full-time staff promoting the importance of food safety and highlighting nutritional issues to consumers aimed at improving public health.

A highly experienced food safety expert, Dr Kearney has been with Safefood since 2001 in roles including laboratory liaison Manager, corporate operations manager and most recently, as the director of food science since 2009.

“I’m extremely proud to step into the role of chief executive at Safefood,” Gary Kearney said. “I want to use my experience and expertise to build on the organisation’s use of our high-quality research to promote a better understanding of food safety and healthy eating among the public and those working along the food supply chain across the island.”

Dr Kearney has a keen interest in the management of change, corporate governance, and staff development.

“At Safefood, it’s important we see the big picture in terms of how our work is informed by the latest research and evidence-base in food safety and nutrition,” he added; “how we effectively develop, nurture and sustain co-operation with key partners in both Ireland and Northern Ireland; and finally, how we translate all that into communicating behaviour change to the public and with stakeholders across the food supply chain through our integrated marketing campaigns, training, and information services. I believe such a joined-up-approach will encourage best use of existing resources to obtain optimum value in order to protect public health.”

Prior to joining Safefood, Dr Kearney spent nine years in the field of national and EU legislative food regulatory compliance with the Health Service Executive in Galway and Cork. He has also previously served as a member of the board of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, and as board member at Leargas.

Dr Kearney is a graduate of University College Cork with an MSc in Organic Chemistry and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry. He also had further training at Harvard Business School, Harvard JFK School of Government, and Henley. He holds an MA in Health Care Management and a Professional Certificate in Corporate Governance from the Institute of Public Administration.

He will continue to act as Safefood’s director of food science with overall responsibility for the chemistry/toxicology and microbiology disciplines within the organisation, including the management of the research programme, food safety promotion, and specialised laboratory support.

Gary succeeds Ray Dolan who served as Safefood’s chief executive since 2014.

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