Bega executive chairman Barry Irvin has announced he is taking a leave of absence due to a serious illness.
In a letter to suppliers on Thursday, Mr Irvin said he received some "sobering news" after a recent check up.
"Like many people, sometimes I get my priorities wrong and focus too much on work and not enough on my health," he said.
"Unfortunately a recent check up has resulted in the need for me to be immediately hospitalised for surgery and it is likely I will take a few months to recover and to potentially receive further treatment."
Bega Cheese also issued a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday morning confirming Mr Irvin was recovering from surgery.
The company would operate as usual under its "strong board and executive team", supporting the chairman during his recuperation.
Mr Irvin acknowledged it was a tough time to be out of action.
"I know this is a challenging and busy time for the industry and that you would have been all expecting to see me at upcoming supplier meetings," he said.
"Unfortunately the significant nature of my health challenge means that I can't be with you.
"I always think it [is] important for me to be with suppliers at key moments in the year including pay rate announcements and I apologise that I am unable to join you."
He said he was optimistic he would be back in action again soon.
"Let me say I am confident of a recovery and am looking forward to catching up with you all in a few months," he said.
"Please don't be worried."
READ MORE: Barry Irvin on 'getting the job done'
He took the opportunity to encourage everyone to get their health checked up.
"For those of you that sometimes say you don't have time for a check up, I guess I am an example of what not to do," he said.
"People, be sure to have a check up."
He said the Bega team would continue to conduct supplier meetings as usual under Max Roberts.
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The story Bega boss Barry Irvin takes leave of absence after surgery first appeared on Stock & Land.