International Paper CEO Mark Sutton will be leaving his role and has asked the company’s board of directors to proceed with a succession plan, according to a news release.
The process will involve examining internal and external candidates to choose the next CEO. Sutton will remain in his position until a successor is found.
Sutton has been with International Paper for his entire 39-year career, having joined in 1984 and worked his way through numerous positions such as mill manager, director of European corrugated packaging operations and vice president of supply chain. He became CEO in November 2014. Prior to that, he served as president and chief operating officer for four months, during which time he led the company’s global businesses.
"I am confident that this is the right time to initiate this phase of our multi-year succession plan," Sutton said in the release, citing a strong balance sheet and ongoing execution of a “transformation strategy.”
Like other packaging companies, especially fiber-centric ones, International Paper’s earnings showed softness the last few quarters. Executives said during the company’s Q2 earnings call in July that the sticky inventory destocking trend dragged down demand and volumes, but they expected improvement in the second half of the year. Sutton noted that capital expenditures, especially for the box business, should “expand our capabilities and improve productivity for future growth.”