IP’s Mark Sutton: Leading the Way for Safety, Growth, and a Sustainable Future

With about 52,000 employees at facilities in more than 24 countries around the world, International Paper is a forest products giant—a fact that its leader, Chairman and CEO Mark Sutton, readily acknowledges. "The company is bigger than us, and it is only ours for a while," he says. "We need to keep it strong for the next generation."

This forward-thinking approach to leading IP, a global producer with a 120-year history, has earned Sutton the 2018 TAPPI/PIMA Executive of the Year Award, which recognizes excellence in management and outstanding contributions to the industry. Paper360° spoke with Sutton in his office at IP’s Memphis, TN, headquarters, where he received the award.

Sutton was named CEO in November of 2014, and chairman of IP’s Board of Directors in January, 2015. Immediately prior to becoming CEO, he served as president and chief operating officer, with responsibility for leading and running the company’s global businesses. He says that, at IP, leadership decisions are set against a principle-based framework they call The IP Way Forward. "This keeps us centered on what decisions we should be making and how we should be executing those decisions. If we reference that framework, we’ll be making the right decision, and we’ll be making progress—in the company, in the communities we operate in, and for all stakeholders."

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