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Whakatāne Mill Welcomes FMCG Heavyweight To Chief Executive Role

Paperboard producer, Whakatāne Mill Limited (WML), has appointed Ron Hooper, a highly experienced and well-regarded business leader from the food and packaging industry, to be the Mill’s new Chief Executive.

Mr Hooper is stepping into the position on June 1, after holding a number of senior roles within multinational companies, including Griffins, Nestle and Mars. He has demonstrated success in building and developing FMCG businesses at the highest global level, including in Australia, Asia and the United States.

Bringing his expertise and experience to WML, Mr Hooper will lead the Mill into its next phase of expansion - a project that is expected to increase production of paperboard by 40%. Commencing in July, the expansion will also provide an opportunity to introduce measures for increased sustainability.

“I am really excited to be joining the team at Whakatāne Mill and really looking forward to the challenge of overseeing this new, exciting phase in its journey,” Mr Hooper said.

Executive chairman, Ian Halliday, said Mr Hooper’s appointment was an important milestone for WML, after it successfully avoided the threat of closure last year. Former owner, SIG Combibloc, had struggled to keep the Mill competitive and sold it to Power Paperboard Limited (PPL), a consortium of Irish and European investors, averting the loss of more than 170 jobs.

“Ron is a driven and motivational leader, with the ideal background to lead the company and team through the expansion. His focus will be on improved performance based on strategy development, top line growth and bottom-line management. We are delighted to welcome him to the team.”

The Mill is a significant employer and contributor to Whakatāne and the Bay of Plenty’s local economy. It has been producing paper and paperboard for 80 years.

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