Top 50 Power List - 2019

Influencers in pulp, paper, and packaging

2019 Power List

2019 Power List

1Cheung Yan
Nine Dragons Paper

The chairlady of Nine Dragons is one of a select few people in the pulp and paper industry who have always been on the Power List since its inception 12 years ago. Cheung Yan heads 2019’s list for yet more audacious company expansion—in this year alone Nine Dragons will add 2.05 million tonnes/yr of capacity in China. The company will start up four new recycled linerboard machines by the end of October. Also, US subsidiary ND Paper, headed by Cheung Yan’s son, Ken Liu (#32) is in the midst of equipment upgrades and expansion projects that will see another 1.4 million tonnes/yr of capacity added to the four US plants it recently acquired. However, all is not totally rosy in the Nine Dragons’ garden; the chairlady recently told Fastmarkets RISI that “China’s imposition of an additional 25 percent tariff on US RCP has taken a heavy toll on the group’s profitability.”

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2Mark Sutton
International Paper

A perennial member of this list and the 2018 TAPPI/PIMA Executive of the Year, Sutton leads a company that has been named one of the Most Admired Companies by Fortune; one of the Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere; and one of the 100 Best Places to Work by Computerworld. What more is there to add? On the mill front, IP acquired DS Smith’s packaging businesses in Portugal and France. It has postponed its US$300-million conversion of PM 15 in Selma, AL, (from UFS to whitetop and containerboard). Plus: will it make another play for Smurfit Kappa Group in the upcoming months?

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3Walter Schalka
Suzano

Not only a familiar face on this list, but also a four-time winner of the Fastmarkets RISI Latin American CEO of the Year Award, Schalka now leads a behemoth in pulp making after the merger with Fibria. His leadership skills will be put to the test in the coming months as pulp markets face an upheaval with slowing demand and oversupply.  Suzano has announced downtime that will take more than 1 million metric tons off the market through 2019.

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4Susumu Yajima
OJI

Fastmarkets RISI Asian CEO of the Year for 2019, Susumu Yajima has led the company to record sales and profit despite a deterioration in Japan’s domestic printing paper markets and severe weather events and earthquakes last year. Net sales of the company are up 4.4% and net profits are up 43.5% on the previous year. Oji credits the achievements mainly to its expanded operations and better prices for overseas pulp sales.

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5Jussi Pesonen
UPM

Another Power List 12-year stalwart, CEO and president of UPM, Pesonen, moves up the list this year as he was recently awarded Fastmarkets RISI European CEO of the Year. One expert involved in his selection pointed to his efforts to “transform UPM from a business that was primarily focused on paper production to one that has broadened its reach across the pulp and paper sector.” Pesonen said in a recent interview, “Innovation and continuous exploration of new growth opportunities are central to UPM’s operations.”

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