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Local forest products company announces new leadership

Newly named CEOs in Kapuskasing, Timmins part of “decentralization” of business

GreenFirst Forest Products has made some changes to its senior leadership to streamline decision-making and control costs, including at its Northern Ontario operations.

On Jan. 16, the Toronto-headquartered forest products company announced that Terry Skiffington has been named the company’s paper mill CEO, leading operations at GreenFirst’s paper mill in Kapuskasing.

The announcement comes following the company’s decision last August to split its lumber mill and paper mill operations, creating separate corporate entities for each and led by distinct management teams.

“GreenFirst’s paper mill operation has key operational and performance metrics that are very different from the lumber mill operations. With the paper mill now a contributing financial and operational performer within GreenFirst, after considerable consultation, the board of directors has determined to separate the lumber mill assets from the paper mill assets,” the company said in its second-quarter financial report in August.

“It is believed that this separation of businesses and decentralization of management will provide for more expedient decision-making, alignment of incentives and entrepreneurialism.”

Skiffington is described as a “skilled executive with a broad range of experience in the pulp and paper sector in Canada and globally.” His past experience includes a stint as manager at Resolute Forest Products’ Thunder Bay pulp and paper mill.

In November, the company announced that Joel Fournier would step into the role of company CEO, and would be based at GreenFirst’s offices in Timmins, due to its proximity to its lumber mills.

A “seasoned executive with over two decades of hands-on experience in lumber mills in both Eastern and Western Canada,” Fournier holds a wood science degree from Laval University and a master’s degree in business administration from Moncton University.

He is known for his expertise in manufacturing, quality control and process improvement, the company said, and has a track record of achieving operational excellence and driving growth through strategic business approaches and employee engagement.

Prior to joining GreenFirst, Fournier served as vice-president of coastal operations at B.C.’s Western Forest Products, and was previously the chief operating officer at Sinclair Forest Products, also in B.C.

“We are very excited to have Joel join us. He is a proven leader with decades of experience in lumber mill operations,” said Paul Rivett, executive chair of GreenFirst,” in a news release.

“Joel brings his leadership and experience to optimize and grow our business at GreenFirst as we begin a new phase in the maturation of our young, focused and entrepreneurial company.”

In Northern Ontario, GreenFirst owns and operates sawmills in Chapleau, Cochrane, Hearst and Kapuskasing, along with a newsprint mill in Kapuskasing. The company purchased Ontario and Quebec assets in 2021 from Rayonier for US$235 million, but divested its Quebec assets in 2022.