Fiona Dawson 52 Global president of food, drinks, and multi-sales at Mars Berkshire, UK Economics and Business, Trinity College Dublin Husband Nigel, sons Conor and Jack Cooking, walking with friends, family, and my cocker spaniel Roly Letter to Daniel, Fergal Keane Cinema Paradiso at Pepsi, stated that she is prepared to acquire healthy food businesses if needed. When asked if any Irish businesses were potential targets she said she “couldn’t possibly comment”.
She sits on both the board of Mars and indeed the Trinity Business School. Alongside her at the top table of the multinational are members of the elusive Mars family, the third-richest family in the US. The family has been widely labelled as secretive with many pointing to a lack of public interviews. One such assertion Dawson takes issue with.
“They’re fantastic. Honestly you feel part of the Mars family, the family feel extends throughout all of our 100,000 associates,” she says.
“I get upset when I hear that word [secretive] used. In fact, they are far from secretive, you can Google and see Stephen Badger has done quite a number of interviews. But they are very humble and they are a company who believe in investing in the long-term good of their business and doing the right thing for the communities and environment that we operate in.
“Now if people say that’s secretive that’s one way of looking at it, but the humility they have is very inspiring.”
From an early age she began forcing change at her enormous employer. In fact, within weeks of her arrival, Dawson had already spurred an alteration to a company policy.
“I think I’m responsible for Mars changing their policy on grads coming into the business because on the application form they asked ‘Can you drive’ and I said ‘I can’. What they didn’t ask was ‘do you have a licence?’ Which I didn’t.”
After a couple of attempts on the streets of Milltown in south Dublin, Dawson was given the green light to start driving.
“I started as a merchandiser in Ireland going around by bus, building displays, which is absolutely true. Once I passed my test, I moved the UK.”
Dawson moved around quite a bit, between Ireland, the UK, the US, and even Brussels throughout her career. A recent acquisition of a food company Tasty Bite means that she also now has an insight into India.
Despite all this her “hardest time” was all the way back in 2001, the last time she left Ireland.
Dawson seems determined to ensure that she will in fact come back.
“I always see myself returning home, this is home. We come back regularly, my kids see themselves as being as much Irish as they are in the UK,” she says.
Name Age Position Lives Education Family Pastimes Favourite book Favourite movie Fiona Dawson says the multinational is already dealing with border issues globally Picture by David Conachy