ALLEGAN — Joseph C. Papa has succeeded Dave Gibbons as president and CEO of Perrigo Co.
Papa has worked the past 30 years both in the generic and brand pharmaceutical industry. He joins Perrigo from Cardinal Health Inc., an $81 billion global company that provides health care products and services. Papa served as chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health’s Pharmaceutical and Technologies Services segment, a contract manufacturing, packaging, analytical services and health care services business. Before joining Cardinal Health, Papa served as president and COO of Watson Pharmaceuticals. Prior to his stint with Watson, he held management positions at DuPont Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacia Corp., G.D. Searle and Novartis.
Upon introducing Papa Tuesday, Gibbons said his background is “really a perfect fit for this time in Perrigo’s history.”
Papa said during his first 100 days at Perrigo he’s going to meet with as many members of the Perrigo team as possible, visit all of Perrigo’s manufacturing facilities around the world, and meet with customers and suppliers.
Why Perrigo? Papa said he has had a chance to lead large divisions within several branded pharmaceutical companies and observe firsthand the strengths and the weaknesses of both brand and generic companies. He said he’s had a chance to observe Perrigo firsthand, too, and he admires what the company has achieved: It has grown an average of more than 11 percent per year over the past 15 years, and it recently moved into generics, positioning itself as a global leader both in the over-the-counter and behind-the-counter spaces, Papa said.
“Our position as the largest store brand OTC health care division in the industry provides us with a unique position for the future generic market,” Papa said. “It just makes sense to me that Perrigo has positioned itself to capitalize on natural synergies in OTC and prescription generics.”
Perrigo has a 65 percent market share in store brands, Papa pointed out. The reason is the great customer relationships Perrigo has built with many of the leading retail providers, he said.
“Perrigo invented the store brand,” he said. “We’ve helped retailers add value for their customers, and the consumer wins with the lowest prices for the products they use the most. The retailer wins with higher margins on those products.”
Perrigo makes more than 25 billion tablets per year — or put another way, more than 80 tablets per year per person in the United States, Papa said. Every man, woman and child in this country takes, on average, one Perrigo tablet every four days. Papa said he’s not aware of any company that has that kind of market reach.
He said another reason Perrigo is so unique is the complexity of its packaging process for store brands. The company has more than one million square feet spread over seven manufacturing facilities.
“Our capabilities at Perrigo are unsurpassed. Unlike large pharma companies that make a product and package it in one package, Perrigo takes products and packages them under numerous labels for our customers,” Papa noted. He said that mass customization expertise makes it difficult for others to enter Perrigo’s market.
“I don’t think most people realize the magnitude of this company,” Papa commented. “In FY2006 we launched over 50 new products. The company makes 1,200 products for more than 130 customers just in the consumer health care business. That’s 10,000 to 12,000 SKUs (stock keeping units) that we manufacture and package every year. Perrigo is well positioned because we have the opportunity to sell our products over the counter and behind the counter, which enhances our opportunity to be first to market with the latest products consumers demand.”