Lennon Now Leading Clondalkin Group’s Global Pharma and Healthcare Business

Packaging and labeling producer Clondalkin Group has promoted David Lennon, previously CEO of its European Pharmaceutical and Healthcare division, to serve as Global CEO of the division. Lennon is charged with expanding the mainly European and North American business into emerging markets as well as developing new products that help its customers address challenges surrounding patient safety and compliance and product counterfeiting. He will also oversee the use of new technology to drive ongoing improvements in quality and efficiency.

Since 2005, Warburg Pincus LLC has invested almost $300 million in Clondalkin’ Pharmaceutical and Healthcare division. Clondalkin Group acquired the Printed Components business of Catalent in 2011, having earlier acquired Keller Crescent Co. in 2009 and Pharmagraphics Inc. in 2006. “Clondalkin’s growth in the last 8 years has been quite significant,” says Lennon, who was responsible for expanding the number of accredited pharmaceutical packaging facilities from three to eight sites in Europe through acquisitions as well as organic development. “Warburg Pincus has supported our strategy to build the number-one position in the market, making it the single biggest investor in this sector. Our focus has been on safety, integrity, and customer satisfaction.”

David Lennon

Lennon has spent 19 years in pharmaceutical printing at various firms, including Chesapeake, and during that time he has seen a lot of changes—and challenges. Market and regulatory demand for more and more product information has increased the size of printed literature, for instance. “Today we are printing smaller type on lighterweight paper and folding it into a larger number of panels,” he says. “Our products need to meet quality standards, such as PS 9000.”

Investing in vision technology, what Lennon calls “the biggest technological development,” has been key. “To ensure text and image integrity, we invested in high-speed, large-format web presses with 100% inspection in Greensboro, NC, and Cork, Ireland, for instance. There is a challenge in guaranteeing the integrity of text from sheet one to sheet one million. Vision inspection has to pick up faults consistently on such fast-moving printing processes that can reach running speeds of up to 200 meters per minute. So we are continuing to improve the performance of inspection technology.”

Extending such consistency to digital printing operations, which Lennon sees to be in growing demand, will be a particular challenge. “We make customer-driven capital investments, and one could be digital technology, because order patterns have changed,” he says. However, “the essence of digital printing is that one image can change from one impression to the next. It is very flexible. But in pharma the challenge is that every sheet needs to be an identical match to a master artwork,” he says.

Addressing customer needs for anticounterfeiting is also critical. “Anticounterfeiting has been more prevalent, both overt and covert approaches. We can put up to 28 different measures into one carton,” Lennon reports. Other potential areas of development include digital media and interactive packaging.

Lennon sees greater need to address patient noncompliance and sustainability concerns and will direct investments according to customer interest. “We are constantly developing new products—they grow out of customer challenges,” he says. “We have a collaborative process with our customers.”

For instance, “major pharma customers are dealing with the patent cliff, so they are having to switch gears. Our product development will be geared to support their pipeline, such as investing in expanded-content labeling to support clinical trials.”

Lennon says that he is quite proud of where Clondalkin is today and where it is headed. “I am honoured to be invited to lead our pharma and healthcare businesses on both sides of the Atlantic while we continue on the path to global expansion,” he said in a statement. “Our increasing global reach makes us a logical choice from a logistics perspective.”

Clondalkin Group Chief Executive, Norbert McDermott, issued the following statement on Lennon’s appointment: “We appointed David in 2009 because his pedigree as a senior executive as well as his packaging business expertise was clear. In his four years with Clondalkin Group he has continued to prove himself to be an invaluable leader in consolidating our position as a leading producer of secondary pharmaceutical packaging where we now operate from 18 sites in North America and Europe.
Clondalkin Group has more than 40 production facilities in Europe and North America.

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