Brian O’Sullivan

EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Class of 2022, Ireland
Brian O’Sullivan, Founder and CEO of Zeus Packaging 

Brian built a global firm by sending the competition packing.

After working part-time at an agricultural packaging firm, Brian O’Sullivan launched Zeus Packaging in 1998 with an unusual business model for his industry: to reduce packaging use. Back then, most companies sold tape and bubble wrap by the roll, but Brian’s idea was to offer these products at a price per pallet, which was more cost-effective and sustainable.    

He listened to customer needs and adapted, sourcing the products and finding new ways to reduce packaging. Brian’s sustainability-forward approach to Zeus includes innovative packaging technologies, high-performance materials and creative systems. One example is a range of sustainable food packaging made from plant-based materials like palm leaf and sugarcane. Brian is committed to responsibly composting packaging through a closed loop system that recirculates every component, contributing to a cleaner future.  

To grow the business, Brian self-financed and took on large bank loans that brought him face-to-face with financial ruin during the 2008 recession. Despite the setback, Brian took a calculated risk to expand into international markets — a risk worth taking. Today, Zeus is one of the largest privately owned packaging companies in Europe. With a team of 600 people across 26 countries, Zeus offers 9,000 products to an impressive list of customers. 

Brian credits his success to hard work, resilience and common sense. He continues to stay ahead of new trends, leverage emerging technology and create jobs across Europe because he firmly believes that “success is growth.” 

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