She will succeed current chief executive Aidan Cotter, who is set to retire in January 2017.
McCarthy is currently chief executive of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Sea Fisheries Board.
Previously she had worked at Bord Bia for over 20 years, holding a number of senior positions, including senior manager of the consumer foods division (2001 – 2011), and director of the food and beverage division (2011 – 2015).
Michael Carey, chairman of Bord Bia, said: “On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Tara McCarthy to chief executive of Bord Bia. Tara has clearly demonstrated her leadership capabilities during a 20-year career in the agri-food industry.
“The competition for the role was very intense and throughout the robust process, the panel was hugely impressed by the high calibre of candidates. Tara is exceptionally well qualified to take the organisation to the next level, with a deep understanding of the work of Bord Bia. She has proven to be a strong leader and fully appreciates the need to build close relationships with the organisation’s key stakeholders. I am confident that Tara will meet any challenges facing the sector, and pursue new opportunities, with vision, determination and imagination.”
On her appointment, McCarthy said: “It is an honour to be asked to lead Bord Bia during what is a very exciting time for the Irish food and drink industry. Our total exports target of €19 billion, as set out by FoodWise 2025, is ambitious, yet achievable, and I am looking forward to working with all stakeholders, including farmers, food manufacturers and producers in order to reach that goal. I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Aidan Cotter, and I hope to build upon his outstanding work over the coming years.”