DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dr Michael Smurfit, a leading business figure and the former Chairman and CEO of Jefferson Smurfit Group, Ireland’s first multinational company, will launch his autobiography, ‘A Life Worth Living’, on 3 April, 2014.
The autobiography will be launched at the UCD Smurfit Graduate School of Business in Dublin and will be introduced by two of Ireland’s leading business figures, Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien.
Building A World Leader in Packaging
Michael Smurfit joined the paper and packaging company, established by his father, Jefferson Smurfit & Sons, in 1952. The business listed on the Irish Stock Exchange in 1964 and he was appointed as joint managing director in 1966. He was appointed as Chairman and CEO of Jefferson Smurfit Group (JSG) in 1977. During his tenure as joint managing director and subsequently as Chairman and CEO, he pursued an acquisition led growth strategy. He built the company into a global sector leader with operations in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the US, and listings on the Irish, London and New York Stock Exchanges. The success of his stewardship, together with his broader contribution to industry, was recognised by Wall Street awarding him inaugural ‘Global CEO of the Year’ in 1999. During his tenure as joint managing director and subsequently as Chairman and CEO, JSG’s market capitalisation increased at an average annual rate of 24 per cent.
Michael Smurfit stepped down as CEO of JSG after 50 years in 2002, remaining as Chairman and a significant shareholder. The Group was taken private in 2002 in what was then the largest ever leveraged buyout in Europe. In 2005, JSG merged with Dutch packaging company Kappa Packaging, to form Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG), in what was one of the largest ever transactions within the sector. Michael remained as Chairman during this period of private ownership. SKG was admitted to listing on The Irish and London Stock Exchanges in March 2007, the largest Initial Public Offering within the paper and forest products sector. Michael stepped down as Chairman in 2007. In 2014, SKG will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its initial listing on The Irish Stock Exchange.
In addition to his business interests, Michael Smurfit developed two world leading Arnold Palmer designed golf courses at the K Club and successfully hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club.
A Lifetime of Achievement
Both Michael Smurfit’s achievements and contributions to various causes have been recognised by a series of awards during his lifetime. In addition to receiving the inaugural award for Global CEO of the Year in 1999, he was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 for services to British business and charitable interests. He holds the position of Honorary Irish Consul to the Principality of Monaco and was European of the Year in 1999, the first businessman to be honoured by this award.
He is a recipient of the Legion d’Honneur in France and has also received substantive honours from other countries including Colombia, Italy, Monaco, Portugal and Spain.
Denis O’Brien, Chairman, Digicel Group, commented: “Michael is a truly iconic business figure. Through skill, vision and passion, he built a business that is today the leading player in its chosen markets. From a country with no developed forest products industry, he built the leading global player in the corrugated business delivering average, annual shareholder returns of 24 per cent.”
“Michael is both a great friend and a continuing source of inspiration. Today, we celebrate Michael’s lifetime of achievement. We recognise Michael for what he is and, more importantly, for who he is.”
Dermot Desmond, Chairman, IIU, commented: “I am honoured to launch Michael’s autobiography. He is both a visionary and a contrarian. By buying when others were building, he created the world’s pre-eminent corrugated business.”
“His business contribution and track record of value creation are well documented. I believe that his greatest legacy in life and in business is that he inspired a generation to successfully take risk.”
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A Life Worth Living will be published by Oak Tree Press (www.oaktreepress.com) on 4 April 2014 in print and ebook formats.