Since graduating as a Bachelor of Business Administration from Saint Bonaventure University in Western New York, Thomas E. Salmon has enjoyed a stellar career that’s seen him rise from senior positions at GE Lightening to CEO and President of the Fortune 500 global manufacturer, Berry Global. In June 2019, Salmon oversaw the acquisition of RPC Global in a move that increased Berry’s global presence to over 290 locations worldwide. The move is just one of the many changes Salmon has implemented during his time at the helm and perfectly demonstrates his commitment to driving the company into growth. Find out more about the CEO with these 10 fast facts.
1. He joined Berry in 2003
Prior to his appointment as CEO of Berry, Salmon had enjoyed a long and illustrious career in business, including positions as General Manager for Honeywell Plastics from 2001-2003, Global Sales Director for Allied Signal’s Engineering Plastics and Films business from 1999 to 2001, and numerous positions of seniority at GE Plastics and GE Lighting beforehand. His career at Berry began in 2003 when he joined the company as President of its Engineered Materials Division. From there, he served as President of Berry’s Rigid Closed Top Division from 2014-2015, President of the Consumer Packaging division from 2015, and President and COO from 2016.
2. He succeeded John Rich as CEO
In 2017, it was announced that Salmon would replace the outgoing CEO, John Rich, at the helm of Berry Global. The decision to appoint Salmon was reached as the result of a unanimous vote by the company’s board of directors. At the time of his ascension to the role, Berry was optimistic about the positive changes he foresaw for the company under his leadership, while being equally complimentary of the achievements of his predecessors. "Berry’s past has been filled with great leaders who had a clear focus on creating a solid future for the company,” he said in a company statement. “It is an honor for me to succeed them. Going forward, we will continue to strategically advance the company by ensuring we produce quality products in the global locations desired by our customers.”
3. He’s set on expansion
Salmon is clearly not one to employ a conservative approach to expansion. Under his leadership, Berry has increased its operations significantly. One of the key demonstrations of his strategy for growth was witnessed in 2018 when Berry invested over $70 million in installing four new thermoforming lines in its Indiana site. The move, which created over 150 new jobs in the area, was supported in part by $1.5 million in conditional tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, along with $100,000 in job training funds.
4. He’s committed to a sustainable future
In June 2019, Berry Global announced it had signed up to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an endeavor that aims to eradicate plastic pollution at its source. The move supports Salmon’s commitment to Impact 2025, a sustainability strategy that aims to see the company reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25%, decrease its landfill waste by 5%, and convert to 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable materials in its packaging by 2025.
5. His motto is “fail fast”
Salmon’s motto in life is “fail fast”, something which has seen him through the many challenges of leading a global operation. While making mistakes is often perceived as one of the inevitable pitfalls of being human, Salmon believes that providing you learn from those mistakes (and don’t get caught in an endless cycle of repeating them), they can lead to better things. “Fail as fast as you possibly can, but learn from it,” he told Plastic News. “If you ultimately repeat the same failure, shame on you and it hasn't been a valuable experience. But if you ultimately learn from it and it makes you a better individual and makes you a better organization, then it's a valuable life experience.”
6. He’s creating a global platform
In March 2019, Berry announced it was to acquire RPC Group plc in a deal worth a reported €3.86bn. According to Salmon, the move would allow Berry to combine its business in North America with RPC’s European operations, creating a global plastic packaging platform that would allow for significant long-term growth. " "The combination is truly a global M&A platform, allowing us to maximize the collective strength of both organizations, providing for additional growth opportunities that were previously less actionable for us," Salmon said of the move.
7. He’s worth a fortune
Thanks to his position as the leader of one of the nation’s leading corporations, Salmon can claim a personal fortune that will leave most of his peer’s green with envy. According to Salary.com, Salmon claimed a staggering $4.8 million in compensation for the 2018 fiscal year. Of this, $973,077 was received as a salary, $213,750 as a bonus, $3,568,000 was received in stock options, and $20,566 was received by way of other compensation.
8. He’s learned to embrace change
In today’s world, change is inevitable, but the speed at which it can happen, and the unexpected events it can lead to, can cause some to fear it. Not so Salmon, who’s witnessed change throughout the course of his career and has learned to both embrace it himself and encourage others to do the same. “I think it's just the right mindset in a global marketplace that just is changing so much faster than it ever has before,” Salmon has explained.
9. He’s on the Board of Directors for Old National
Outside of his interests with Berry, Salmon is a member of the Cooperate Board of Directors for Old National, the largest financial services company in Indiana, and, with $17.5 billion in assets, one of the top 100 banking companies in the US. His appointment to the position came in May 2018, with Bob Jones, Old National Chairman & CEO, crediting Salmon’s strong leadership and technical skills as the reason for his selection.
10. Advancement is key to his leadership strategy
Fundamental to Salmon’s strategy as a leader has been a drive towards continual advancement. Never was this less obvious than in 2017, when he took the decision to change the company name from Berry Plastics to Berry Global. “By changing our name to Berry Global, we are portraying a more balanced view of who we are to our customers, our investors, and ourselves,” he said in a company statement. The name change was accompanied by a new logo and a new set of values that embraced Salmon’s vision for the future.
Written by Allen Lee
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