WestRock president, CEO plans to step down

Steven Voorhees plans to step down as the packaging company’s CEO. David Sewell of Sherwin-Williams Co. will take on the position.

David Sewell

WestRock Co., an Atlanta-based provider of paper and packaging products, has announced that Steven C. Voorhees has decided to step down from his position as president and chief executive officer and a director of the company because of health reasons, effective March 15. Voorhees had served WestRock since its formation in 2015.

The company’s board of directors has announced that following a search as part of the company’s long-term succession processes it has elected David B. Sewell to succeed Voorhees as WestRock’s president and CEO. Sewell has also been appointed to the board of directors, effective when he assumes his new role. The company says Voorhees will be available to support the transition.

According to a news release from WestRock, Sewell, 52, has more than 25 years of commercial, marketing and general management experience. He joins WestRock from the Sherwin-Williams Co., a manufacturer and distributor of paint, coatings and related products, where he most recently served as president and chief operating officer, responsible for global operating segments that generated $18.4 billion in sales and are supported by 60,000 team members. Prior to joining Sherwin-Williams, he spent 15 years at General Electric Co. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Southern California.

“Our decision to elect David as CEO is the result of a robust succession planning process, and he is the right choice to lead our company into the future,” says John A. Luke Jr., chairman of WestRock’s board of directors. “David is a proven executive with a strong record of driving profitable growth, both organic and acquisitive, and building organizational capability that develops and nurtures excellent leadership and talent while driving a culture of equity and inclusion. The board and I look forward to working closely with David and WestRock’s leadership team as the company delivers on our strategy and generates strong returns for investors.”

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve as WestRock’s CEO, and I thank the board for its confidence in me,” Sewell says. “I am excited about joining WestRock and look forward to working with this talented leadership team and outstanding organization to build on the company’s strategic success and together realize the opportunities ahead for our customers, team members and stockholders.”

Luke adds that Voorhees helped lead the company to grow to $17.6 billion in sales through the execution of a growth strategy that has included the merger with MeadWestvaco, several acquisitions and capital investments.

“He has had a lasting impact on our business strategy and the development of our values-driven culture,” Luke says. As a leader, and as a person, Steve is admired by the entire WestRock team, and the board wishes him and his family the very best.”

Voorhees says, “It has been an honor to lead and to serve with such an incredible team of people. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a team that is second to none, WestRock is better positioned than ever to support its customers and achieve its goals, and I am proud to have been part of what we have built together. I am happy and comfortable to be leaving WestRock in good capable hands. I look forward to addressing my immediate health needs and investing more time with my family and personal interests. I have every confidence in David, WestRock’s leadership team, our teammates and the board to continue creating value for all of our stakeholders.”