Friel departure a big loss at UDG Healthcare
THE PUNT was sorry hear that Hugh Friel, a gentleman of the Irish business world, is stepping down from the board at UDG Healthcare (formerly United Drug). Mr Friel (68) has indicated that he will not stand for re-election next February, for personal reasons. He was appointed as a non-executive director of the FTSE 250 company, which distributes pharmaceuticals across Ireland and the UK, in 2009. It will be a loss to UDG -- as former chief executive of Kerry Group and ex-chairman of Tourism Ireland, Friel's experience is second to none. Alongside Hugh Brosnan, he helped grow Kerry Group from a farming start-up founded in a muddy field in Listowel in 1972 to a food behemoth worth more than €7bn.
He's not the only board member on the move over at UDG. Chief operating officer Brendan McAtamney has been appointed as an executive officer, just months after moving from Abbot Laboratories. Gerard van Odijk and Linda Wilding have also been appointed non-executive directors.
They're joining UDG at a good time in the company's history. Full-year 2013 results came in at the top end of expectations, even though its recent rebranding hiked costs.