Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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