West Fraser CEO to retire, COO Ray Ferris to take reins

Ted Seraphim will retire in 2019 after six years at the helm

West Fraser CEO Ted Seraphim will retire next year. File photo

West Fraser’s CEO Ted Seraphim will retire in the second quarter of 2019, the company announced this week (Apr. 19).

West Fraser also announced that Ray Ferris, current executive vice-president and chief operating officer, will take the role of president and chief operating officer, effective immediately, and that Ferris will move into the CEO role upon Seraphim’s retirement next year.

Ferris has been with West Fraser since 1997. He was appointed executive vice-president and chief operating officer in 2016 and prior to that held a number of executive positions throughout the divisions.

Seraphim joined West Fraser in 1997 and became CEO in 2013.

“This is an important step in the implementation of our CEO succession plan. Ray has worked closely with Ted for many years and has demonstrated tremendous leadership in executing our operating and capital plans,” said Hank Ketcham, chairman of West Fraser’s board of directors.

“His leadership, experience and proven commitment to people, safety, operational excellence and maintaining our culture will continue to drive our company forward. I know that I speak on behalf of all our employees in saying how pleased we are that Ray will be our next CEO,” added Seraphim.

The announcements came at West Fraser’s Annual General Meeting, held in Quesnel on April 19.

The AGM revealed West Fraser made $5.13 billion in sales in 2017 across the company. The figure is up from $4.45 billion in 2016.

West Fraser has more than 50 locations throughout B.C. and Alberta in Canada, and in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida in the United States.

B.C.’s operations currently account for 34 per cent of the company’s total lumber capacity – 7.2 billion board feet – with Alberta supplying 23 per cent and the USA 43 per cent.

According to West Fraser’s presentation, the Canada West region saw a slight dip in lumber production this year, a trend the company predicts will continue into 2020.

Challenges for the company were identified as the timber base in Western Canada, the softwood lumber dispute and transporation.

West Fraser is a diversified wood products company producing lumber, LVL, MDF, plywood, pulp, newsprint, wood chips and energy with facilities in western Canada and the southern United States.

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