Stora Enso CEO quitting troubled company

Karl-Henrik Sundström is leaving in the middle of a company-wide austerity programme to slash €120 million per year.

File picture of Stora Enso CEO Karl-Henrik Sunström / Credit: Stora Enso

The CEO of Finnish paper and forestry company Stora Enso Karl-Henrik Sundström will leave the company next year, but continue in his current position until then.

Sundström became CEO in 2014 and since then the company has had mixed fortunes, including falling earnings reported this summer, and negotiations to cut hundreds of jobs at plants in Oulu and Kitee.

In the spring Stora Enso announced plans to axe 400 out of 600 jobs at their mill in Oulu, and although the company plans to invest €350 million in new equipment to add production capability for a new type of cardboard, the plant will need fewer workers in future.

The amount of investment is half of what they had initially indicated for the mill with the local MP Tytti Tuppurainen (SDP) calling the move “shocking […] a hard blow.”

“I have enjoyed my time with Stora Enso tremendously, we are on an exciting journey. In a time where awareness of sustainability is becoming more and more important to businesses and communities around the globe, we are looking forward to our next 1000 years” Sundström said in a statement, framing his departure as a natural progression before he turns 60.

The company’s second quarter results, revealed in July, show revenue down 2% and operational profits down €40 million from the previous year.

Stora Enso blamed geopolitical uncertainties for the poor results, but it also expects demand to slow down, as costs increase this year compared to 2018.

Earlier this year Stora Enso announced a cost cutting programme to save €120 million per year.