Tony Smurfit named European paper sector CEO of 2021

Smurfit Kappa boss is hailed for his leadership during Covid-19 pandemic

 Smurfit Kappa chief executive Tony Smurfit. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Smurfit Kappa chief executive Tony Smurfit. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Smurfit Kappa chief executive Tony Smurfit has been named as European chief executive of 2021 for the paper sector by industry data provider Fastmarkets RISI.

Mr Smurfit was nominated for the award by a group of investment analysts, industry consultants and commentators covering the European and global pulp and paper industry, Fastmarkets RISI said.

“The reasons cited for Mr Smurfit’s win largely centred around his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and the company’s [Smurfit Kappa’s] continued investment in future growth,” it said.

“One analyst recognised ‘the company’s resilient performance during the pandemic’ as well as ‘their recent front-footed approach to investing to capitalise on the sustainability opportunities that are emerging in their end markets’.”

Smurfit Kappa’s shares rose about 12 per cent last year as Covid-19 led to an acceleration of online commerce and a move by fast-moving consumer-goods companies towards sustainable packaging.

The group raised €660 million from a share sale in November to up its investment in projects and take advantage of a strong stock price.

Since Mr Smurfit became the group’s chief executive in 2015, Smurfit Kappa has delivered overall returns of 180 per cent for investors against a 17 per cent return for the FTSE 100, Fastmarkets RISI said.