RISI Fastmarkets has announced that Mark Sutton, CEO of International Paper (IP), has been named the 2021 North American CEO of the Year.

Fastmarkets started the award program in 1999. Sutton will accept the award and give a keynote address on September 28 at this year’s Fastmarkets’ North American Conference. This hybrid event will be hosted virtually and in person in Boston, MA.

International Paper is undergoing a mini-transformation worth more than $2 billion, during a world-altering Covid-19 pandemic, with the planned spinoff of its global papers business and selling additional non-core assets.  

The spin-off and asset sales, Sutton explained, is a way to “simplify” the company, focusing on the industrial packaging business (containerboard and corrugated boxes, especially in the US) and on global cellulose fibers (absorbent pulp). By streamlining the portfolio, the company will focus on the geographical markets and product segments where it can create the most value for customers and share owners. IP already is the largest North American containerboard producer by capacity.

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