Dr. Pearse Lyons, the Irish-born entrepreneur and founder of the Alltech animal nutrition group, has died in Kentucky (USA) from complications following routine heart surgery. He was 73.
Born in Dundalk, Co Louth, he initially started out in the brewing industry before applying his skills to animal nutrition, setting up Alltech in 1980. The company, with headquarters in Kentucky and a European base in Co Meath (IRL) expanded rapidly and now has more than 5,000 staff globally working in the animal feed, meat, brewing and distilling sectors.
In true entrepreneurial style, Dr Lyons immediately saw the synergies between the Alltech brand and the FEI’s flagship event, the FEI World Equestrian Games™ and came in as title sponsor initially for the event’s first venture into North America when the Games came to Kentucky in 2010. His loyalty to the Games was clearly demonstrated when the 2014 edition in Normandy (FRA) also ran under the Alltech banner.
The FEI President Ingmar De Vos paid tribute to him: “Dr Pearse Lyons was a true entrepreneur and his commitment as title sponsor of both the 2010 and 2014 editions of the FEI World Equestrian Games was unshakeable. Always immaculately dressed, complete with his trademark Panama hat, he was a truly visionary leader who inspired everyone he met with his passion for life and unwavering belief in every project he put the Alltech name to.
“He was a real family man, not just with his own immediate family and the global Alltech family, but he also embraced – and was embraced by – the equestrian family worldwide. He will be sadly missed.”
The FEI extends its deepest sympathy to Dr Lyons’ family, the team at Alltech and to his wide circle of friends around the world.
Dr Lyons is survived by wife Deirdre, daughter Aoife, son Mark and daughter-in-law Holly. The funeral will take place in Lexington, Kentucky on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March.