Sappi has announced that Marco Eikelenboom (53), currently vice president marketing & sales, graphic papers at Sappi Europe, has been appointed as CEO of Sappi Europe as from 1 April 2021. Marco Eikelenboom succeeds Berry Wiersum (65), a 40-year veteran of the industry in Europe, who will retire at the end of March 2021. Berry Wiersum joined Sappi as CEO of Sappi Europe, a position he held for 14 years.

Sappi Europe Berry Wiersum and Marco Eikelenboom. Credit: Sappi

Sappi Europe Berry Wiersum and Marco Eikelenboom. Credit: Sappi

Commenting on the retirement of Berry Wiersum, Steve Binnie, CEO of Sappi said: “I would like to thank Berry for his significant service to Sappi during his 14 years with the company and for the support he has shown me as CEO. He is an outstanding leader both for the company and for the industry. His tenure saw massive changes as we made significant acquisitions, invested in machine rebuilds, restructured and refocused the business, all to ensure that Sappi could respond to and take advantage of the changes which were occurring. Most recently he also led Sappi Europe’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. He and his team responded to each one with alacrity.”

“When I was appointed CEO in 2014, Berry provided me with invaluable support, and he was a member of the executive committee that developed and rolled out our debt reduction strategy through to 2012 as well as our Vision2020 and now our Thrive25 business strategies.”

Marco Eikelenboom joined KNP in 1992. After KNP Leykam was acquired by Sappi in 1997, Marco was appointed Managing Director of Sappi Benelux in 1998. In 2002 he transferred to Sappi Southern Africa as Marketing Director for the Fine Paper division, returning to Sappi Europe in 2004 as Director Marketing & Sales for Graphic Papers. In 2009 he was promoted to Vice President Marketing & Sales for Graphic Papers. Marco has overseen numerous projects which have helped to successfully restructure and reposition Sappi’s Graphic Papers business in Europe, including a new go-to-market strategy and heightened levels of commercial service resulting in increased customer preference and retention.  As a member of the European Management team, he is fully engaged in the ongoing restructuring and refocusing of Sappi’s European operations.

Commenting on the appointment of Marco Eikelenboom, Steve Binnie said:

“I am pleased that we are able to ensure a smooth transition in leadership from Berry to Marco.  Marco is an experienced leader who has been integral to the development and execution of Sappi’s strategy and the investments and decisions we have made in Europe to ensure we maintain our graphic papers leadership while growing our packaging and specialities businesses.  I am confident that under Marco’s leadership the business will take full advantage of the exciting opportunities for the pulp and paper industry in Europe and across their export markets.

“The appointment is testimony to the success of Sappi’s strong succession planning processes and the importance we place on stability and continuity during any such leadership transition.”

Marco Eikelenboom, a Dutch citizen, is fluent in Dutch, English, French and German. He holds a MBA from Erasmus University Rotterdam (Netherlands) and has undertaken various executive education programmes at IMD, MIT Sloane/IMD and INSEAD.