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Alltech Founder Pearse Lyons Dies
Kentucky Ag Connection - 03/09/2018

Pearse Lyons, the Irish-born entrepreneur who founded the hugely successful Alltech animal nutrition group, has died in Kentucky at the age of 73.

Lyons had been unwell since November when he entered the hospital for routine heart surgery. He suffered complications during his recovery and died on Thursday.

His son, Mark Lyons, who is chairman and president of the group, said he is "deeply saddened," but vowed to continue his father's work.

"He saw farther into the horizon than anyone in the industry, and we, as his team, are committed to delivering on the future he envisioned. He planted seeds that will produce a bountiful harvest for the world in the years to come," said Lyons.

The Alltech founder was born in Dundalk and after attaining a doctorate, he built a career in the brewing industry, where he developed a high-level specialisation in the properties of yeast.

Lyons then applied this knowledge to the animal nutrition industry, and set up Alltech in 1980. He built it up to become one of the most successful Irish-US businesses ever set up by an Irish man, with more than 5,000 staff globally, making him a billionaire in the process.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said, "It is with great sadness I have learned of Dr. Pearse Lyons' passing. Dr. Lyons was, at root, a visionary and an ambassador for Kentucky. When he founded Alltech in 1980, Kentucky agriculture changed forever. The institution he built, the jobs he created, and his boundless zeal for our state lit a spark that spread into a wildfire of innovation for Kentucky agriculture, from animal feed to our beverage, fuel, and industrial alcohol industries. Dr. Lyons also gave generously to numerous philanthropic endeavors and launched a global conference that has become a staple of Kentucky's spring calendar.

"A dear mentor of mine, he taught me the importance of continuous self-improvement and served as a role model and inspiration. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Deidre; his children, Mark and Aoife; and the entire Alltech family during this difficult time," Quarles added.

In recent years, Lyons set up a distillery in his name in Dublin, while Alltech's European headquarters are in Dunboyne, County Meath. Alltech's main base, however, was in Kentucky, where Lyons established himself as a leader in the business community, The Irish Times newspaper reported.

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