Pearse Lyons, the 73-year-old founder and president of Alltech Inc., has been hospitalized since December because of complications from a successful heart procedure, the company confirmed Friday.
“Although he experienced complications after the procedure, he is stable and in recovery,” the Nicholasville-based agribusiness and beverage giant said in a statement.
The company is operating normally under the direction of Alric Blake, who was appointed chief executive officer in 2016, the statement said. Lyons’ wife, Deirdre, and their grown children, Mark and Aoife, also are among the family-owned company’s top executives.
“My father and our family have great confidence in the team that he has built to keep the business moving forward while he recovers,” said Mark Lyons, Alltech’s global vice president. “Our family has appreciated all the support and encouragement we have received from colleagues, friends and family around the world.”
“The family requests their privacy while he continues to recover,” the statement said. Well wishes may be sent to Lyons and the family at Alltech.com/wellwishes.
Lyons, a native of Dundalk, Ireland, came to Lexington in 1976 with a doctorate in biochemistry from Britain’s University of Birmingham and a background in England and Ireland’s brewing and distilling industries. Thinking he could use his expertise in yeast fermentation to improve animal feed, Lyons created Alltech in his suburban Lexington garage in 1980.
Alltech is now a global biotech company focusing on animal and human nutrition, crop science, beer and distilled spirits. Its best known beverage brands include Kentucky Ale, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, Town Branch bourbon and Pearse Lyons Reserve malt whiskey.
The company has more than 4,700 employees worldwide and does business in 128 countries. Through both growth and acquisitions, the company has tripled annual revenues in recent years to about $3 billion.
Alltech was the main sponsor of, and Lyons was the driving force behind the 2010 World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park. As he prepared for that role, Lyons forged well-publicized friendships with global celebrities including Muhammad Ali and Queen Elizabeth II.
The company’s annual symposium for customers attracts 4,000 people from nearly 80 countries to the Lexington Center each May. In recent years, the symposium has focused on innovative ways agriculture can be used to solve global problems.
Pearse and Deirdre Lyons are well-known in Central Kentucky for their support of education and the arts, from science labs in parochial schools to scholarships for students in the University of Kentucky’s Opera Theater program.