Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Executive Spotlight: Bernd J. Larsen, President & CEO, CODAN USA

Bernd J. Larsen
CODAN in the U.S. is a part of the privately-held, European-based CODAN group of companies, which for more than 50 years has been a market leader in the area of I.V. drug delivery systems. CODAN’s core business is the manufacturing and sales of I.V. sets and accessories for both infusion and transfusion therapy. Larsen has been president of CODAN in the U.S. for 11 years and previously held senior-level executive positions with Maersk Medical in Denmark, Germany and the U.S.

Q: Share with us a brief history of the company and describe your products.

A: CODAN was founded in 1959 in Denmark. Our first U.S. facility opened in 1971 in Burbank, Calif., primarily focused on product assembly and sales. In 1997, the company was moved to new more spacious facilities in Santa Ana, Calif. where we are today. I should perhaps mention that, as of a few years ago, we also operate an assembly facility across the border in Tijuana, Mexico. We manufacture both private-label OEM products built to customer specifications as well as CODAN branded products, including CODAN for Kids for the neonatal/pediatric arena, specialty anesthesia sets and blood sets sold under the name Walrus by CODAN, CODAN Rx for the hospital pharmacy, CODAN CYTO for the delivery of cytotoxic drugs, and a catalogue of other miscellaneous I.V. products.

Q: What are your biggest goals for the year ahead and beyond?

A: Our management team recently completed our “Road to 2017” strategy plan and this plan outlines how we will transition the company emphasis to CODAN labeled products while continuing to offer private label products. The CODAN labeled products will be spearheaded by our anesthesia product line where we have established an excellent reputation with anesthesiologists and where we can leverage our leadership position in raw material, manufacturing, inspection and sterilization processes, and in packaging and distribution networks.

Q: If you could change a public policy at the federal or state level, what would it be?

A:  There is some uncertainty at FDA around the 510(k) regulatory process and an opportunity to improve the predictability of these processes to speed the delivery of I.V. drug delivery systems to patients.  

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: Working with good people inside and outside of the company is very rewarding to me. It has also been rewarding to see our company’s impressive growth in new products and revenue over the past four years, despite a tough economy.

Q. Describe your leadership style.

A. I try to follow an old management philosophy: “He who informs inspires! He who ignores injures!” I strive to give our employees as much information as possible about the company and where we are going vis-à-vis our targets so they feel trusted and an important part of what we are working to achieve as a company. I also believe in letting people do their jobs and not micromanaging them. I believe that most people will rise to the challenge if they feel empowered to do so.  

Q. What are you doing when you are not at work?

A. My main hobbies are reading for pleasure and writing, and I hope to publish a book about my experiences in America in the near future. I used to be an avid hiker, but while I still enjoy it, I do not get out there as much as I used to. I also enjoy spending time with my family, my wife Marianne, my five children and 11 grandchildren.

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CODAN USA headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif.

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