Q&A with Ed Lonergan
‘We believe in this, making the world a better place’
Edward Lonergan, a member of the Socati board of directors, says a core principle he’s learned in business is to identify what customers want before they know it. He sees CBD as one of those emerging trend-setters and says Socati – a technologically driven company, trusted source and ingredient provider – is well positioned to deliver on new customer demands.
Lonergan says he jumped at the opportunity to help guide Socati, entering one of the hottest product categories to launch in decades. He brings top-level experience in the food and consumer goods industries, having served as CEO of Chiquita Brands International Inc. and Diversey Inc., a leading global supplier of sustainable cleaning, sanitation and hygiene products. He also was president of Gillette Europe and spent more than 20 years before that in management at Procter & Gamble.
Here’s more from Lonergan, his outlook on the business environment and the edge Socati has in a competitive marketplace:
There are a lot of overlaps between what CBD is and the value chain that exists in the broader food industry. So, when you have people from food or cosmetics talking to people at the cosmetics companies or the food companies, you have a level of gravitas you don’t have otherwise. For the industry to prosper, it has to be filled with professionals. If you’re Coca-Cola or Red Bull or L’Oréal, you are not going to deal with a small player who doesn’t have experience in the space. Big companies want to deal with skilled players who know their profession and scale. And these leaders have the global experience that’s needed as these companies expand and grow.
What excites you about Socati?
If I were a major consumer product company, I would expect that what’s coming in the door every week is consistent. And I’m not convinced that the industry today could promise that without companies like Socati – because it has developed the technology to deliver that. Socati will be able to ensure major beauty and food companies a consistent product from crop to crop. That changes the game and unleashes the ability to create a big industry. What’s exciting is that are a lot of people in the world whose lives will be better. We believe in this, making the world a better place because a company like Socati is in it. We can help give them something to make their lives healthier and better.
What are the key differences between Socati and others in the industry?
We have some interesting genetics. There is a sustainable long-term differentiated positioning for this company against anybody else. There are a lot of companies playing in this space. There are big companies making bets on both CBD and cannabis. What I like about Socati is that we are not playing in the cannabis space. We are positioned to be the best supplier to a large company in CBD space.
What does the company need from the FDA, which considering regulations for products containing and derived from hemp?
I hope they act fast and create guidelines for the industry so that we can demonstrate people are getting safe and high-quality products. If the FDA and the industry can settle on a set of rules, then that’s perfect. The FDA is thirsting for more professionalism. Having high-quality lab partners and having high-quality operators that they can collaborate with, use and trust will help – and that’s where Socati is operating.
Where do you see the business in three years?
It’s a race right now. Everybody’s putting money in this. Let’s assume all the state and federal regulations get done and then public markets open to CBD-specific companies. I see Socati becoming an aggregator in the space. The question then becomes, where in the value chain do we want to play over the long haul? We definitely want to extract. Then, we are going to have this pure product to play with. After that, we will then have to figure out how far up the value chain and into the end product production do we want to go. Whatever the final answer, I know we will be the most trusted source of not only CBD but related ingredients as well.