Mark Kowlzan, CEO of PCA, Named RISI North American CEO of the Year

31 May 2017

RISI, the leading information provider for the global forest products industry, today announced that Mark Kowlzan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), has been named the 2017 North American CEO of the Year. The award will be presented to Mr. Kowlzan at the North American Conference on October 17, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts at the Seaport Hotel.

RISI's North American CEO of the Year is nominated by a group of investment analysts and portfolio managers covering the North American and global pulp and paper industry. Analysts credited Kowlzan for growing PCA in containerboard and corrugated packaging – while at the same time operating the firm at the highest EBITDA margin among North American publicly-traded containerboard producers.

In the first quarter this year PCA generated a 21.7% EBITDA margin – the highest among publicly-traded North American containerboard producers. One analyst said that PCA under Kowlzan has "continued to put up best-in-class margins and expand their converting presence. They have maintained a strong balance sheet and with stock at all-time highs are poised for another growth step."

Another credited Kowlzan for "solid integration improvement and attractive M&A" activity. In the last year, PCA spent $486 billion on acquiring two independent converters, TimBar Packaging and Columbus Container. The acquisitions followed the late-2014 conversion of a newsprint machine at its DeRidder, LA, mill to containerboard production. The company also acquired Boise Paper, which operates a containerboard and box unit in the USA, for $1.27 billion in late 2014.

In first-quarter 2017, PCA was the only producer to report higher earnings from its containerboard operations in North America, boosting adjusted EBITDA by 16% to $272 million, compared with its year-ago performance. PCA said its first-quarter box shipments were up 8.9% on a per-day basis. Also, with the acquisitions and additional box-making assets, PCA's containerboard-to-box integration level was at 95%.

The company also is upgrading the converted D-3 machine in DeRidder, adding about 150,000 tons of incremental linerboard capacity by mid-2018.

About Mark Kowlzan:

Mark W. Kowlzan has served as PCA's Chairman since January 2016 and as Chief Executive Officer and director since July 2010.  From 1998 through June 2010, Mr. Kowlzan led the company's containerboard mill system, first as Vice President and General Manager, and then as Senior Vice President – Containerboard.  From 1996 through 1998, Mr. Kowlzan served in various senior mill-related operating positions with PCA and Tenneco Packaging, including as manager of the Counce linerboard mill.  Prior to joining Tenneco Packaging, Mr. Kowlzan spent 15 years at International Paper Company where he held a series of operational and managerial positions within its mill organization.

Mr. Kowlzan received an undergraduate degree in Natural Science from Assumption College, an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering and Pulp and Paper Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, a graduate degree in Pulp and Paper Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and an MBA from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

For more information about the North American Conference, click here.

About RISI (

RISI is the leading information provider for the global forest products industry. The company works with clients in the pulp and paper, packaging, wood products, timber, biomass, tissue and nonwovens industries to help them make better decisions.

Headquartered in Boston, MA, RISI operates additional offices throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.

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