WestRock CEO named RISI N.A. CEO of year

P&PC staff
June 20, 2018
By P&PC staff
June 20, 2018 – Steve Voorhees, chief executive officer of WestRock, has been named RISI North American CEO of the year

The CEO of the year program is chosen from nominations by a group of investment analysts and portfolio managers covering the North American forest products industry. During the nominations process, several analysts said Voorhees' focus and success with mergers and acquisitions led to his nomination. One analyst added Voorhees is "incredibly insightful and very thoughtful, and I like his strategy in containerboard."

WestRock's recent mergers and acquisitions activity is extensive. Since the merger of MeadWestvaco and RockTenn which created WestRock as a $15-billion company in 2015, WestRock has strengthened its business by completing nine acquisitions, including SP Fiber, the packaging assets of Cenveo, Star Pizza, Multi Packaging Solutions, US Corrugated, Island Container, Hannapak, Plymouth Packaging and 32 per cent of Grupo Gondi. WestRock also has completed the spin-off of its specialty chemicals business, the sale of its dispensing business and the sale of the majority of its land and development assets.

These portfolio actions have focused WestRock's business on paper and packaging. WestRock now operates more than 13 million tons of containerboard and paperboard capacity, making WestRock one of the leading paper and packaging companies in the world. In North America, WestRock is the second largest containerboard producer with 8.1 million tons of capacity and the largest boxboard producer with 4.2 million tons of capacity. The company recently announced the plan to invest $410 million into a new kraft linerboard machine in Florence, South Carolina.

Nominating analysts were also keeping an eye on WestRock's goal to acquire Kapstone, the fifth largest containerboard producer in North America with 1.67 million tons/year (based on RISI capacity figures).

Voorhees became CEO of RockTenn in November 2013, following two-time RISI North American CEO of the Year Jim Rubright. After the merger of MeadWestvaco and RockTenn was completed in 2015, he was appointed CEO of the newly formed WestRock.   

Prior to his appointment as CEO, he served in various executive leadership roles at RockTenn, including president and chief operating officer; executive vice president and chief financial officer; and chief administrative officer.

RISI is the leading information provider for the global forest products industry.

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