The Swiss life sciences supplier announced that In-Albon would relinquish his role as COO for its specialty ingredients business today, explaining that he would continue to be involved in “special projects” and report directly to CEO, Richard Ridinger.
In-Albon joined Lonza in 2012 and was given the job of improving profitability at the company’s manufacturing facility in Visp. The site had struggled to complete in recent years as a result of high running costs, international competition and the strong Swiss franc.
Spokeswoman Constance Ward told us “Beat In-Albon had a significant impact on the successful implementation of our Visp Challenge program and helped to make the site more robust, competitive and cost effective, which had a positive effect on Lonza’s profitability.”
In-Albon’s job became even more of a challenge in January when the Swiss National Bank (SNB) discontinued the CHF1.20 per Euro exchange rate it imposed in 2011.
The surprise move and the consequent currency fluctuations saw shares in Lonza and fellow Swiss firm SGS – In-Albon’s previous employers – slump.
In-Albon’s departure does not mean the challenges Lonza faces at Visp are over according to Ward.
“Big industrial sites such as Visp in the middle of Europe have the constant task of reviewing their portfolios and maintaining their competiveness by bringing higher-margin activities to the sites.
She added that: “Continuous improvement is an everyday task in such an environment, and Beat had a strong influence on this mindset.”
In-Albon will be replaced by Sven Abend, currently Chief Strategy Officer and member of the Executive Committee.
Abend will take over as head of Lonza’s specialty ingredients business on January 1 next year.