At the recent Pro Carton AGM, two new members were formally appointed onto the Pro Carton Steering Group committee, replacing outgoing members from the same companies. Olaf Starken replaced Öystein Aksnes (both Stora Enso) and Rikard Papp took over from Johan Nellbeck (Holmen Iggesund). They join Horst Bittermann (MM Board & Paper), Maarten Florizoone (Metsä), Michele Bianchi (RDM) and Jean-François Roche (GPI) on the committee.
Olaf Starken is Vice President, Packaging Development and Design, in the Packaging Materials Division Business Unit Consumer Board at Stora Enso. With more than 30 years in the packaging industry, at several points in the supply chain, he has an extensive background in our industry. Olaf told us that holistic packaging thinking with a balanced view on “insight-out” and “outside-in” topics, a clear appreciation of product and business sensitivities and a big passion to support brands to communicate with the best available sustainable packaging solutions drives him forward every day.
Rikard Papp started his career within the paper industry in 2001 working for CEPIFINE (Confederation of European Fine Paper Industries) in Brussels, today known as EUROGRAPH. In 2003 he moved on to International Paper and eight years later joined Holmen Iggesund Paperboard. He has held various roles with growing level of responsibility heading up, amongst other things, sales in Europe and the APAC region as well as Strategy and Business Development. Rikard is currently Vice President Public & Governmental Affairs based out of Stockholm, Sweden.
Maarten Florizoone is Segment Director, EMEA at Metsä Board. He started working for Metsä Board in 2006 and has a background in both Sales and Customer Service management. He joined the Pro Carton Steering Group in November 2017 and is currently the Vice-Chairman. Maarten loves to promote sustainable materials as they have an excellent story to tell: “Packaging is higher on the consumers’ agenda than at any time in the last 10 years and awareness about using the correct materials is increasing. I will continue to contribute with energy and enthusiasm to the activities of Pro Carton bringing new and ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas to a group of passionate people with one goal – to promote cartonboard as the sustainable and preferred choice for packing consumer goods.”
Jean-François Roche is the Senior Vice President and President, EMEA of Graphic Packaging International, LLC. Jean-François joined GPI in April 2015 from LGR Packaging where he served as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. Prior to that he spent 25 years at A&R Packaging, latterly as Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Jean-François also serves as the President of the European Carton Makers Association and represents ECMA on the Pro Carton Steering Group.
Michele Bianchi is the Chief Executive Officer of the RDM Group, the second largest European producer of coated recycled cartonboard and the largest in Italy, France and the Iberian peninsula. Michele said: “Being at the head of RDM is a source of great pride for me and, at the same time, assumes a big responsibility both inside and outside the company. Our DNA has always encompassed recycling, green commitment and energy efficiency; themes very dear to the principles of the circular economy that are quite compelling. We like the word “sustainability”, both in the environmental and social senses. That’s the key to development for us.” Michele is also President of Cepi Cartonboard.
Horst Bittermann is the Chairman of the Pro Carton Steering Group and has undertaken this role since 2018. He is Head of Marketing for MM Board & Paper. Horst Bittermann has had distinguished career history which included 3 years in private banking and 15 years in retailing, in a variety of senior Sales and Marketing roles. He has been in the packaging industry for more than 10 years and is passionate about cartonboard packaging and the role that Pro Carton has to play in promoting it. He commented “Fibre-based packaging symbolises the ideal of sustainable packaging and will be the winner of the next decades. It is only by using materials that are renewable and actually are recycled in practice, that we can move towards creating a circular economy. Industry associations such as Pro Carton play an essential role to promote the advantages of cartonboard particularly to brand owners, retailers and consumers.”