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FWPA appoints new CEO

Norske Skog Australasia managing director Andrew Leighton has been appointed Forest and Wood Products Australia’s new Chief Executive Officer.

He replaces Ric Sinclair who retired as managing director late last year after 13 years in the role. Mr Leighton starts in his new role on February 1.

“We were impressed by the calibre of people shortlisted for the job,” Craig Taylor, chairman of the FWPA Board, said.

“And on behalf of the Board members I would like to thank them all for their time and energy in applying. The successful candidate, Andrew Leighton, brings a wealth of technical, management and leadership experience relevant to the FWPA position of CEO.”

 Mr Leighton has spent seven years as managing director of Norske Skog Australasia, time as Vice-Chair of the Australian Forest Products Association and a diversity of other positions that relate to the many areas in which FWPA is active.

Mr Taylor said Mr Leighton was the ideal person to continue the great work of FWPA, finalise and implement the organisation’s new strategic plan, and lead the company into new areas of service to the Australian forest and wood products industry.

 “I see huge potential for increasing the applications for, and use of, forest and wood products as the world adapts to a carbon-constrained economy,” said Mr Leighton.

 “I have a longstanding passion for the forest products industry and a strong belief in its ability to play an important part in supporting environmental sustainability and driving the bioeconomy.

“I very much appreciate the importance of R&D investment and innovation and have a strong track record of championing this throughout my career,” he said.

 “As an observer I have been impressed with the range and quality of FWPA’s achievements throughout the supply chain and I look forward to building on that solid foundation.

“One of my first objectives will be to meet with FWPA members and I encourage them to contact me at FWPA.”

 Acting CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association Victor Violante said Mr Leighton was well-known in Australia’s forest industries.

 “He is an excellent choice to lead FWPA into its next stages of research and development, including implementation of FWPA’s new strategic plan,” Mr Violante said.

“There are exciting opportunities ahead for forest industries R&D as the world moves towards carbon-friendly products, but also major challenges where Andrew will have an intimate knowledge and understanding.

“It’s particularly exciting to hear Andrew reiterate his strong belief in forest industries supporting environmental sustainability,” Mr Violante said.

“AFPA works closely with FWPA on aligning our industry’s R&D with industry needs and addressing the emerging challenges and opportunities for our sector and ensuring that we continue to innovate and be at the forefront of global trends. Andrew’s extensive experience in Australia’s forest industries will ensure this strong collaboration continues.”