A call to tomorrow’s business leaders

Chris Ellison, newly elected president at Finat

At a time when packaging technology as a whole is changing fast, Chris Ellison, managing director of OPM (Labels & Packaging) Group, UK, has been elected to fulfil the position of president at Finat, the European labelling association based in The Netherlands. “It’s a massive honour to be elected President,” Ellison said.

Replacing Thomas Hagmaier, managing director at Hagmaier Etiketten, Ellison has over thirty years’ experience at the sharp end of the industry, and a strong personal history of business development and innovation to contribute to his new role. Newly elected vice president Francesc Egea of IPE Innovaciones, will support him.

At the Finat general assembly, Aydin Okay (Canpas) was re-elected to the Board and newly elected to the Board were Ilkka Yilipoti (Auraprint); Günther Dieroff (Benelli); Alex Knott (Dow), appointed technical committee representative; and Chris Jones (Alphasonics), appointed young managers club representative. This coincided with a farewell to the Board of past president, Kurt Walker.

Finat’s activity base has expanded in accordance with the industry the association serves. In an increasingly global marketplace, the company is committed to offering support to its members who represent the whole supply chain.

Chris Ellison adds: “Packaging and labelling production is one of the most sustainable industries of all because it continually replenishes itself. It always reflects changing market needs and fashionable trends. That’s why I’m particularly passionate about Finat’s current focus on recruiting young people into the business. As the founders of small, often family-owned label companies are now beginning to take retirement, we’re facing a real skills shortage that we need to address. I know this is a great industry to work in – lively, challenging, and rewarding – and so I’m keen to promote it as the attractive career proposition it is, but I’m also well aware that today we’re competing with many other seductive ‘techno’ options; so it’s a top agenda item for me to have Finat promote the labels and printed packaging production sector as a career choice of today.

“The advent of new technologies across the whole sector brings its own challenges, impacting the entire make-up of a participant company’s systems. I will be strongly supporting the development of the technology website Finat has created.

“Cutting-edge equipment today demands huge investment, yet margins are tighter and so customers want extended payment lead-times. Industry 4.0 means that we all have to become more competitive in relations with our customers.

 “To meet those challenging requirements we’ve really got to become more competitive and customise our internal business systems to achieve optimal efficiencies. Success means a continuous programme of innovation and new thinking, and the support of an international association like Finat can make all the difference. You can’t grow your business if you don’t grow your people, and I get a huge amount of satisfaction out of watching staff grow in confidence and professionalism.”

At his own local level, Chris Ellison is committed to establishing a stronger link for FINAT with the UK’s BPIF Labels. His role as Finat president will also involve participation in major international events and features of the label industry calendar, including Labelexpo 2017 and the annual Finat European Label Forum.