10 Things You Didn’t Know about WestRock CEO Steven Voorhees

Steven Voorhees is the current CEO of WestRock, which is an American corporation that specializes in corrugated packaging. In particular, it is interesting to note that Voorhees has picked up a reputation for being a consolidator in his chosen industry. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Steven Voorhees:

1. Steven Is a Greek Name that Become Very Widespread

Steven is one of the Greek names that have managed to become very widespread indeed. To be exact, Steven is one of the numerous variants of Stephanos, which refers to the garlands with which the winners of contests in ancient Greece were crowned. As a result, it has a strong implication of “honor” as well.

2. Voorhees Comes from a Place

Voorhees can sound pretty sinister because of the influence of the Friday the 13th movies. However, its origins are about as standard as it gets. In short, the name seems to have come from a village situated in the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands, which is a region that tends to be better-known for agriculture than anything else.

3. Studied at Northwestern University

For his bachelor’s degree, Voorhees went to Northwestern University, which is based in Evanston, IL but has campuses situated elsewhere as well. It is named thus because the school was supposed to serve the Old Northwest Territory, which encompassed the land where Illinois and a number of other states now sit.

4. Studied at Darden School of Business

Later on, Voorhees went to Darden School of Business, which is the graduate business school associated with the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. There, he studied Business Administration, which is the natural choice for someone interested in entering the senior ranks of management.

5. Used to Run RockTenn

There was a time when Voorhees was the CEO of RockTenn, which was a paper and packaging manufacturer. Said corporation came into existence in 1973 because of a merger between two separate companies, which makes it interesting that its existence came to a close in 2015 because of a merger between two separate companies as well.

6. Became the CEO of the Resulting Corporation

In 2015, RockTenn merged with MeadWestvaco to create what is now called WestRock. RockTenn shareholders were presented with a choice between either one share or a sum of cash in the resulting corporation, while MeadWestvaco shareholders were presented 0.78 shares. As for Voorhees, he winded up becoming the CEO of WestRock.

7. Has Continued Consolidation

Since that time, Voorhees has continued the process of consolidation by buying up more related companies. This has proved his corporation with important benefits such as increased reach and improved efficiencies, though it should be noted that such outcomes from such processes are by no means guaranteed.

8. Can Prove Consolidation Success with Performance Numbers

Consolidation can produce some serious risks. For example, different companies in the same sector can have very different business cultures, thus resulting in disruptions when integration causes their employees to clash whether they want to or not. Likewise, the consequences of consolidation are far from being perfectly predictable, meaning that it isn’t uncommon for the relevant parties to encounter unexpected costs and other issues. The fact that Voorhees has managed to ensure strong performances for WestRock in spite of its multiple consolidations over a short period of time is what makes him noteworthy.

9. Believes in the Importance of Innovation

In the past, Voorhees has commented upon the importance of innovation for business success. One example was how creative thinking was needed to come up with better ways of making things that are both cheaper and more consistent. Another example was how innovation was needed to capture consumer interest by making clever use of advancing technologies.

10. Believes in the Importance of Investment in New Technological Capabilities

On a related note, Voorhees has spoken out about the importance of investing in new technologies for production facilities as well. As it turns out, printing technology has seen significant advancements in recent years, meaning that investing in new advancements is one of the ways by which production can be sped up as well as improved upon.


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