Hospira taps drug industry veteran to oversee operations

Further bumping up its manufacturing management ranks, injectable and infusion technology maker Hospira ($HSP) has named yet another new senior executive to its operations management team.

Industry veteran John B. Elliott, a consultant who previously was president and chairman of API maker Cherokee Pharmaceuticals, has been named senior vice president of operations and will have responsibility for Hospira's global operations organization, the company says. In that role, he will help Hospira further its remediation efforts and expand its capacity, including its 1.1 million-square-foot plant in India, CEO F. Michael Ball says in a statement. The 60-year-old Scotland native will answer directly to Ball.

"John is a seasoned global leader with more than 35 years of broad manufacturing experience across production, logistics and supply, and specific expertise in injectable pharmaceuticals," Ball says in a statement.

The company has been working through manufacturing issues at plants in Austin, TX, and Rocky Mount, NC. The North Carolina facility was closed in December after quality issues were raised by the FDA but resumed production in January after the company threw extensive resources at fixing problems. It expects the plant to hit 60% to 70% production capacity by year's end.

A month after getting Rocky Mount online, the company announced a whole roster of new management in operations and quality control. Zena Kaufman, who previously was at Abbott Laboratories ($ABT), was named senior vice president of quality, also answering directly to Ball. And as if the company needed to further make the point that it was becoming all about excellence in manufacturing, the company also created the new position of vice president of pharma operations excellence, "to ensure that process change is systemic across the company's U.S. plants."

Elliott, who also spent 26 years at the former SmithKline Beecham, takes over operations as the company is expanding its manufacturing capacity. Work began in 2011 on the new plant in Vizag, India, which will manufacture specialty injectables. Hospira expects products will be rolling out of the Vizag facility in 2014.

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