Hospira again names an exec to get manufacturing in order

Hospira ($HSP) last year brought in John B. Elliot, "a seasoned global leader," to help get its manufacturing mess sorted out and get the company back in the good graces of the FDA. Almost exactly a year later, Elliot is out and the injectable drugmaker has tagged another of its new manufacturing execs to get the job done.

The company said Matt Stober takes over all of the company's manufacturing operations immediately as senior vice president of operations. The appointment comes a month after the company failed a much anticipated re-inspection of its key manufacturing plant in Rocky Mount, NC. Elliot will hang around to the end of the year until his retirement and to provide counsel during the transition. 

Stober, 45, joined Hospira in 2011 as one of a series of hires the company made to much fanfare as part of its commitment to getting plants shaped up and quality at the forefront. He was brought in as corporate vice president and given responsibility for the Rocky Mount plant, as well as plants in Clayton, NC, McPherson, KS, and Austin, TX--all of which the FDA has had some concerns with. According to a financial filing, Stober will get $450,000 a year in base salary and up to $315,000 in incentive pay for taking on a task that has so far defeated the company's best efforts to achieve. 

CEO F. Michael Ball

Problems at the Rocky Mount plant were first noted in a warning letter in 2010. Since then the company launched into a major overhaul of its U.S. manufacturing network, spending more than $375 million. But even as a three-week re-inspection was under way this year, Hospira issued three recalls of 5 products, some because of particles found in retained samples. Instead of indicating the company was making progress, as Hospira CEO F. Michael Ball had anticipated, the FDA left behind a Form 483 outlining 20 concerns, three of which were repeat violations.

Since then, the company has issued yet another recall after copper particles were found in a 1000-mL flexible container of its 0.9% sodium chloride injection, a product used as a source of water and electrolytes. Ball Monday said he was confident that Stober will help the company "ultimately establish our manufacturing operations as a strategic, competitive advantage."

- read the release
- here's the SEC filing