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Jamestrong Packaging has appointed packaging industry stalwart Alex Commins as its new CEO, effective 18 September 2017. Mr Commins joins Jamestrong as current managing director, John Bigley, departs the business after nearly seven years.
Representing the Jamestrong Board of Directors, Ms Joan Wei - managing director of parent company Shanghai Yuanlong Investment Company Limited - thanked Mr Bigley for his service. "On behalf of all of Jamestrong, we thank John for his contribution to the business and wish him well in his future endeavors," Ms Wei said.
Ms Wei said Mr Commins joins the company at a time Jamestrong is seeking to leverage its significant investments in the business. "After three years of capital investment in our printing infrastructure and manufacturing footprint, it is now time to leverage this investment into growth and development in key markets including infant formula, soups, fruits and vegetables, pet food, personal care, aerosols and household products.
"As the CEO of ASX-listed packaging company Colorpak from 2003 until its strategic sale in 2016, Alex brings a wealth of customer, business and strategy development experience to Jamestrong. We are confident he will lead us to the next phase of our growth."
"We are pleased to have Alex Commins join us in the chief executive role. Jamestrong is committed to working with the best people in our industry to deliver value-added packaging solutions."
Mr Commins said that he sees his skills and experience in the folding carton industry as directly transferrable to the metal packaging market.
"Funnily enough my second job out of university was as a financial accountant with Heinz at its former plant in Dandenong, Victoria., Being one of Jamestrong's biggest customers it's a bit ironic that I was working for the company that sold canned food that I'm now involved with as a key supply partner.."
Expanding on his career history, Mr Commins said he next joined his family business at Colorpak, which grew to be the largest producer and supplier of folding cartons into the Australian pharmaceutical industry.
"I started out as a sales executive at Colorpak and progressed through to the CEO role where I gained broader experience in all aspects of the business. We made many acquisitions including the purchase of Cater Holt Harvey carton division in 2011, which was a company- and industry-transformational event." he said. "My career at Colorpak spanned over 25 years where half was spent as a private entity and the balance as a public company.
"Those skill sets developed in the packaging sector over that time should serve me well in taking on my new role with Jamestrong. Many of the features of the industries are the same: they have a similar customer base and processes - although we're printing tinplate rather than fibre board. It's a different substrate, but many of the same principles of producing highly decorated product apply. Our Milperra. New South Wales plant is running the latest KBA MetalStar technology, which is a fabulous and unique offering we have for our customer base in Australia and New Zealand.
"There are many similarities between the level of regulatory compliance we ran at Colorpak for the pharmaceutical industry and that are being applied at Jamestrong's high-care facilities for instance in the infant formula market. That resonates with me in terms of understanding the supply demands of the market in terms of best-in-class manufacturing, food safety, and consistency in highest-quality product.
"Having worked in a public company where one is subjected to strong discipline in running a financially focused organisation in an environment of continuous disclosure, you appreciate that stringency. Whilst Jamestrong is privately held, the same disciplines will be applied to the business. I'm looking forward to bringing some of that focus and process from my previous role to Jamestrong in order to cement and grow its industry leadership position."
It's still early days at Jamestrong for Mr Commins, however he said he is settling in with his new colleagues and starting to meet the business's customers. "I've been delighted to meet some of our customers already and our team here at Jamestrong, who are very experienced professionals.
"The investments that have been made are certainly substantial and very well thought through2017 has been a year of building and getting our plants set. 2018 will be focused on leveraging those investments and enabling the customers to fully utilize and benefit from partnering with us. It's a great time to be joining the company.
"I am excited and honored to be charged with the responsibility to lead the business into its next chapter of growth," he concluded.
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