Dr Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech, dies aged 73


Dr Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech, has died. He was 73.

Dr Lyons was an Irish entrepreneur whose vision for improving global agriculture built a multi-billion-dollar international business.

Having emigrated to the United States in the late 1970s, he started out in his home garage with $10,000.

Today, Alltech’s global team comprises more than 5,000 people around the world. Its mission has always been guided by Dr Lyons’ early commitment to the 'ACE' principle – a promise that the company’s work must have a positive impact on the Animal, the Consumer and the Environment.

"Dr Lyons was first and foremost an entrepreneur and tireless innovator, with a keen scientific mind. His scientific expertise, combined with an acute business sense, helped revolutionise the animal feed industry through the introduction of natural ingredients to animal feed," a statement on the Alltech website reads.

"He was widely regarded as an inspirational leader and communicator. He lived with passion and purpose — rising before dawn to begin communicating with colleagues around the world, issuing daily 'One Minute Charge' motivational messages and traveling incessantly so he could meet his team members and customers in person.

"He built Alltech into the fastest-growing company in the global animal health and nutrition industry through innovative technology and strong branding. Today, Alltech is the only privately held and family-owned business among the top animal health companies in the world.

"The company’s reach has also grown far beyond yeast-based additives for animal feed to include award-winning beers and spirits, a crop science business and even promising research into human health challenges, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

"Dr Lyons was very proud of the company’s privately-owned status and was resolute on keeping it. He was a man who liked to move quickly on opportunities, and he relished the agility and speed that being accountable only to himself afforded him."

Dr Lyons was widely recognised for his contributions to science and industry and was awarded honorary doctorates from many colleges and universities around the world. He was named Business Person of the Year by Business & Finance magazine and received the Ireland-US Council Award for Outstanding Achievement. Taoiseach Enda Kenny recognised him with the St Patrick’s Day Science Medal in recognition of creating a global business based on scientific research. 

Dr Lyons was well-known for leading Alltech’s international conference, branded in recent years as ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference. Held for more than three decades, the event has become Lexington, Kentucky’s largest annual room booking, attracting nearly 4,000 people from more than 70 countries.

He established Alltech’s ACE Involvement Foundation, a charitable foundation to help fund the company’s philanthropic efforts. 

To read more about Dr Lyons, visit the Alltech website.

Dr Lyons is survived by his wife, Deirdre; daughter, Aoife; and son, Mark and Mark’s wife, Holly.