General Manager, Lurgan
I feel very fortunate that my career with Smurfit Kappa has been so varied. I have lived in five different countries, worked in about 10 different plants and have had roles as varied as IT systems implementer to General Manager.
Why did I join Smurfit Kappa?
I joined Smurfit Kappa because they had the most exciting Graduate Programme in Ireland with the best prospects for advancement and exposure to different businesses. The programme is extremely high profile with excellent exposure to senior management.
My career path with the company?
After my time on the Graduate Programme I had no doubt whatsoever that I wanted to focus on operations and was fortunate enough to be made a Shift Manager. After a few years in this role, I left Ireland for approximately five years to join the SAP implementation project around Europe. After this brilliant experience, I returned as a Production Manager. Following about 4 years in that role, I became plant manager for Smurfit Kappa Packaging Solutions (SKPS) for another 2 years, and since 2010 I am the General Manager at Smurfit Kappa Lurgan.
What does one working week look like?
Extremely varied. This week I’ve been at numerous meetings while I’ve also been to the UK mainland to present at a supplier workshop for our main customer. I’m working on our strategy to recover paper prices and finally doing the normal month end review and sign-off of reports. Next week I have tender negotiations for a large piece of our volume, a canteen meeting to present the state-of-the nation to all our employees, another supplier workshop, preparation for our quarterly review and I will attend an Irish operations manager’s meeting. Every week is very different, but with the common thread of advancing the business in the right direction.
What does the future hold?
There is a lot of hard work ahead in Smurfit Kappa Lurgan. There are a lot of challenges supplying into the Irish market, with downward pressure on price and upward pressure on costs. We have done a huge amount of work to ensure that we emerge from this period in fantastic shape. The trick now is to ensure that the payback on the investment comes through and that Smurfit Kappa Lurgan becomes the lean, efficient, flexible and profitable facility it needs to be.