CEO Innovation Summit | December 6, 2018 Learn More

Education and Workforce Workforce Spotlight: International Paper CEO Mark Sutton


This week’s #WorkforceWednesday features Mark Sutton, Chairman and CEO of International Paper and Chair of the Business Roundtable Energy & Environment Committee.

As Sutton explains, International Paper is working to help its employees become safer, more skilled, and more successful for the future:

“International Paper is seizing the opportunity to recruit, re-skill, and reinvent our workforce for the future. Through our Global Manufacturing Training Initiative, we’re providing new and existing employees an opportunity to build their skillsets, grow in their careers, and stay safe on the job — all of which are essential to the competitiveness of our company and America’s economy.”

Here’s a look at a few ongoing workforce development initiatives led by International Paper and CEO Mark Sutton. Additional information can be found here.

The Problem

Similar to other U.S. companies, International Paper faces the prospect of significant workforce turnover in the coming years as long-time employees become eligible for and enter into retirement. With these departures, employees with fewer years of experience must be recruited into higher positions and re-skilled to meet and exceed the operational expectations of their predecessors.

The Programs

To prepare the next generation of International Paper employees for success, the company created its Global Manufacturing Training Initiative (GMTI) — a proactive manufacturing strategy to implement a new, standardized learning system for operations and maintenance team members based on best practices from International Paper’s global mill system.

The GMTI is the result of International Paper’s extensive benchmarking process with several public and private partners, including companies such as Nucor Steel, Mercedes and DuPont, as well as several colleges, vocational technical schools and community colleges. International Paper is also exploring joint educational partnerships to establish training for International Paper employees and community partners.

The Progress

International Paper has seen many positive outcomes as it uses GMTI to improve employee skills and, most important to the company, enhances workplace safety. For example:

  • During a recent period of significant attrition and loss of industry experience, International Paper exceeded its safety and cash cost savings goals.
  • International Paper received a “preferred quality supplier” status from several key companies in 2017, with training as a strong driver behind this designation.
  • Improved training has also enhanced IP’s Life-changing Injury & Fatality Elimination (LIFE) safety program. In 2016, for the first time in International Paper’s history, no employee or contractor lost his or her life performing work for the company — a safety milestone that they repeated again in 2017. International Paper is dedicated to building on this safety performance with current and future employee engagement.

To learn more about workforce development initiatives led by International Paper and other Business Roundtable CEO member companies, please visit: https://www.businessroundtable.org/skills.