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UPM’s biorefining EVP Heikki Vappula believed to have died in plane crash

November 26, 2018  By P&PC Staff

November 26, 2018 – UPM’s biorefining group has announced that its executive vice-president, Heikki Vappula, is believed to have died in a plane crash while on a private trip in Zimbabwe on Friday.

The authorities have confirmed that his name appears on the passenger list of the crashed plane.

Jussi Pesonen, president and CEO of UPM, will assume temporary responsibility as the head of UPM’s biorefining division. The businesses and the transformative growth initiatives in Uruguay and biofuels formerly reporting to Heikki Vappula, will continue operations with existing resources and plans.


Vappula was 51 years old. He joined UPM in 2006 as senior vice-president of global sourcing. During 2010-2013, he acted as the president of the energy and pulp business group. He’d held his current position since 2013. He was also a member of the board of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation. Before joining the forest industry, Vappula worked at Nokia Corporation for 13 years.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Heikki who was a visionary and inspiring executive, always hungry for results. His insights and energy will be greatly missed by colleagues as well as business partners around the world,” says Pesonen. “On behalf of the board of directors and the entire executive team, I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to Heikki’s family. We wish everybody to respect the privacy of Heikki’s family. This tragedy escapes all words.”

UPM will initiate a process for permanent management arrangements in due course.

UPM Biorefining consists of pulp, timber and biofuels businesses. UPM has three pulp mills in Finland and one mill and plantation operation in Uruguay. UPM operates four sawmills and one biorefinery in Finland. The main customers of UPM Biorefining are tissue, specialty paper and board producers in the pulp industry, fuel distributors in the biofuel industry and construction and joinery industries in the timber sector.

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