How he made his pile: Tony O'Reilly - Food and media magnate

Who is he? A 72-year-old former Irish rugby international turned baked-bean baron and media mogul. He's worth £954m.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

How did he make his millions? After a glowing rugby union career, O'Reilly joined the Irish Dairy Board as general manager at just 26. He invented the Kerrygold brand name and sold the Irish butter round the world. In 1969 he moved to Heinz, becoming its first non-family chairman in 1987, and increased the firm's value from $908m to $11bn. His business empire includes Independent News & Media, owner of 200-plus publications. But with readership and ad revenue waning, shareholders want O'Reilly to sell his two flagship titles.

The secret of his success? According to one of his papers, O'Reilly 'sits astride the world with more ease and panache than most world leaders'. Driven by vanity and ambition, he's a charmer who is adept at both marketing and cost-cutting: his idea to take the back label off the ketchup bottle added $4m to Heinz profits.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime