Alltech has announced the passing of its founder and president, Dr. Pearse Lyons. Lyons died on Thursday, March 8, due to an acute lung condition that developed during his recovery from heart surgery. He was 73.

“The thoughts of our entire Alltech family around the world are with Dr. Lyons’ family, specifically his wife Deirdre, daughter Aoife, son Mark and Mark’s wife Holly,” said Alric Blake, CEO and treasurer of Alltech.

“Dr. Lyons was a visionary entrepreneur who transformed the agriculture industry beginning with his innovative application of yeast technology in animal nutrition. From farm to field, from market to family dinner table, our world is immeasurably better because he was a man who never saw problems, only a challenge that had not yet been solved,” Blake said.

“He inspired everyone he met with his energy, enthusiasm and passionate belief in possibilities. He instilled that positivity in his people, more than 5,000 Alltech team members around the world. I am confident I speak on behalf of all of them when I say that we are deeply honored to have known and worked for such a great man. We will resolve to honor his legacy by deepening our commitment to his customers and all the innovative ideas he believed in so strongly.”

Lyons, the brewing and biochemistry graduate started his career at Harp Lager in Dundalk, Ireland before using his scientific background to produce superior animal feeds. His wife Deirdre is Alltech’s head of corporate image and design. She will continue to further Dr. Lyons’ vision for Alltech’s global presence and their shared commitment to philanthropy and community involvement.

Lyons started Alltech 37 years ago with just $10,000 in seed capital. The life sciences company was valued at about $1 billion in 2012. Total revenues are believed to be approaching the $2.5 billion mark. In 2016, Lyons launched a Dublin-based accelerator to boost agri-tech start-ups with mentoring and funding.

In a statement, Alltech said to continue driving forward his vision for serving the agriculture industry through field-proven innovations, Dr. Lyons established a clear leadership structure, including:

  • Dr. Mark Pearse Lyons, Chairman and President
  • Alric A. Blake, Chief Executive Officer and Treasurer
  • E. Michael Castle II, Vice President and Secretary

Funeral masses will be in Lexington, Kentucky on March 17 and in Dublin, Ireland, in April.  A special celebration of life will be held on May 20 at the beginning of ONE: the Alltech Ideas Conference in Lexington.

In lieu of flowers, the family is encouraging donations to the Alltech ACE Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that funds a variety of philanthropic endeavors around the world from disaster relief to primary schools in Haiti.  Donations may be made at


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