Vanden has appointed plastic industry expert Stephen Fieldhouse as General Manager of its expanding Peterborough facility.
Stephen has more than 30 years’ experience in the plastics sector and has a significant understanding of the current challenges facing retail packaging designers, producers, material reprocessors and the wider plastics sector.
He spent 28 years with Sealed Air Corporation, the company that gave the world Bubble Wrap and Jiffy bags, joining as a graduate and gaining experience in the field technical team where he was responsible for solving customer and retailer problems and developing new products.
He spent nine years as General Manager of Sealed Air Products’ Poole rigid thermoforming plant, with responsibility for 155 people. Here, he turned the loss-making enterprise into a business with a £25m profit.
When the business was sold to Faerchplast which was then owned by the private equity house EQT, he helped manage the integration, but was made Site Director at Faerchplast Sutton.
With a degree in food technology, an MBA from Bradford Business School, and further financial expertise gained from the London Business School, Stephen has the experience and knowledge to lead the Vanden Peterborough plant as it grows to meet increased demand for recycled plastics.
Commenting on his new role, he said:
“I spent a considerable amount of time at Sealed Air Corporation trying to put in place a polypropylene recycling programme. But the time wasn’t right.
“The plastics industry and retailers pushed hard for it, but society didn’t have the vision. That is no longer the case.
“As soon as I met the team at Vanden I was impressed and excited by their vision – both for the company and their approach to the recycling sector.
“Their brand values, honesty and transparency resonated with my own beliefs and morals. I’m excited to see where we can take this.”
As well as developing the Peterborough facility, increasing the throughput of materials and developing a reliable source of UK recovered plastic to meet growing manufacturing demand, Stephen is looking forward to building Vanden’s market presence.
“There is a huge appetite for more and better plastic recycling. Vanden can be a massive part of that.
“Our model is to become the industry reference point for the supply and purchase of recovered materials. More than that, we’ll actively demonstrate that what we do adds value to the material, improving circularity by making it highly desirable for new manufacturing processes.”
Vanden UK managing director, David Wilson said: “Stephen brings his fantastic plastic industry experience to Vanden and we are delighted to welcome him to the company.
“Our strategy is to bring in talented people from outside of the recycling sector, and Stephen brings a skillset and contacts book that will enable us to improve our capacity to provide a range of high quality recycled polymers to manufacturers from our UK recycling facility.”