CHPA president to retire, organization seeks new leader

AVENTURA, Fla. Linda Suydam, Consumer Healthcare Products Association president, announced her retirement Friday morning at the over-the-counter medicine and dietary supplement trade association’s Annual Executive Conference.

Suydam will retire at the end of 2010 when her term ends.

Former CHPA chair of the Board of Directors Timothy Hayes, SVP and region head, North America, Bayer HealthCare, is leading the search effort to find the association’s next president.

Joining him on the search committee are CHPA chair Christopher DeWolf, president and CEO Lil’ Drug Store Products, who was elected as CHPA chair Thursday evening. Also on the committee are CHPA vice-chair James Mackey, SVP, sales and operations of Schering-Plough Consumer Healthcare; and board member Adam Rackzkowski, president and CEO for W.F. Young, Drug Store News has learned.

Suydam came to CHPA after serving 21 years at the Food and Drug Administration and an additional three years promoting public health initiatives at the University of New Mexico.

“Her expertise in the field and experience with FDA proved invaluable to advancing the mission of CHPA. Her leadership within the association led us to countless successes,” DeWolf said. “Under Linda’s direction, CHPA has supported the safety and efficacy of many key over-the-counter ingredients, established the CHPA Educational Foundation as a growing resource aimed at educating consumers on the safe and effective use of OTCs, and created the comprehensive effort integrating a host of partnering organizations into the fight against teen medicine abuse, particularly OTC cough medicines.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of CHPA for the past eight years,” Suydam said. “I firmly believe that consumer access to safe and effective over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements is vitally important, both to the nation’s healthcare system in general and to individual families’ health care in particular. I am personally and professionally gratified to have had a role in helping to advance this segment of consumer health care.”

One of the highlights of Suydam’s career came when she received FDA’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008 for her “exceptional management of FDA programs in medical devices, radiological health, and agency-wide, and leadership to fight abuse and ensure safe use of over-the-counter medicines.” The recognition underscored Suydam’s ability to work across organizations and bring together different voices for the collective good, CHPA noted in a press release. During Suydam’s tenure at CHPA, she also testified before Congress, presented data and perspectives on behalf of the industry before FDA advisory committees, established partnerships with a host of healthcare-related organizations, and represented the association in front of international societies and government leaders.

“Because of my commitment to the industry and my admiration for my colleagues, my decision to leave was not easy,” Suydam said. “But, after 30 years of serving in this field, it is time to move on to the next part of my life. While this will be a big change for me, my passion will continue to keep me engaged in public health issues.”

In related news, newly elected to CHPA’s board of directors are Ed Kuehnle, president of Catalina Marketing Services; Diane Manwaring, president-North America for Lansinoh Laboratories; and Robert Wengel, SVP professional services at the Nielsen Company. Peter Stevens, assistant general counsel GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare was named CHPA’s government affairs committee chair and Paul Weninger, VP consumer healthcare global quality operations Perrigo was named chair for CHPA’s manufacturing controls committee.

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