Chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation
Born: September 7, 1954, in Chicago, Illinois.
Education: DePaul University, BS, 1981.
Family: Married Beth (maiden name unknown); children: three.
Career: Continental Bank, 1986–1987, assistant vice president; Jefferson Smurfit Corporation, 1987–1990, assistant treasurer; 1990–1993, treasurer; 1993–1998, vice president; 1994–1996, general manager, industrial packaging division; 1996–1998, chief financial officer; Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, 1998–2002, vice president and chief financial officer; 2002–, president and chief executive officer; 2003–, chairman of the board.
Address: Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, 150 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60601-7568; http://www.smurfit-stone.com.
■ Patrick J. Moore served as chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer of Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, a major seller and producer of commodity paper and packaging products. Moore emerged in leadership positions after beginning at Jefferson Smurfit, a predecessor to Smurfit-Stone, as an assistant treasurer in 1987. He was named vice president and chief financial officer at Jefferson Smurfit in 1996 and held the same position at Smurfit-Stone from 1998 through 2002. In 2002 Moore was named president and chief executive officer. The following year he was named chairman of the board. Known for his focus on the organization Moore directed Smurfit-Stone through financial times that were difficult owing to poor economic conditions.
Moore attributed his interest in money and finance to his roots in a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. In an interview with Pam Droog of St. Louis Commerce Magazine , Moore said of his early years, "Everyone lived in a little two- or three-bedroom, post-war bungalow, with tons of kids. So I guess since I grew up not having a heck of a lot, I always dreamed of having more" (July 2002). To finance his tuition at DePaul University, Moore worked at Continental Bank, which offered a tuition reimbursement program. He was graduated in 1981 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration and later took some graduate accounting and finance classes. By the time he was 32 Moore had been named assistant vice president of Continental Bank.
In 1987 Moore accepted a position as treasurer at one of Continental's customers, Jefferson Smurfit Corporation, which was based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Jefferson Smurfit, a packaging company, originated in Ireland and made its first move into the United States in 1974. Through a series of acquisitions the company had grown dramatically. Between 1985 and 1987, the year Moore joined the company, Jefferson Smurfit revenues had risen from $630.4 million to $1.1 billion. Moore told Droog he found Smurfit to be "a very interesting company," noting, "It has always been very growth-oriented, entrepreneurial in nature, and it rewards people who perform well" (July 2002). Moore climbed the ranks rapidly, becoming treasurer in 1990, vice president and treasurer in 1993, and vice president and general manager of the company's industrial packaging division in 1994.
Moore continued his ascension within Jefferson Smurfit in 1996, when he was appointed vice president and chief financial officer. By the following year, Jefferson Smurfit had grown to having sales of more than $4 billion per year. Jefferson Smurfit's primary source of revenue came from its container and containerboard section. Other revenue came from production of folding cartons and boxboard, reclamation of wood and newsprint, and industrial and consumer packaging.
In May 1998 Jefferson Smurfit announced that it would purchase Stone Container Corporation, which was based in Chicago. Stone Container had become a major figure in the cardboard products industry in the 1980s through a series of buyouts. By 1989 Stone was generating $6 billion in revenue, but it also had accumulated approximately $3 billion in debt. The debt load during the 1990s caused Stone to sell several of its assets and eventually to agree to merge with Jefferson Smurfit. The companies merged under the name of Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation. Just months after the merger was announced, Moore was named vice president and chief financial officer of Smurfit-Stone. Moore assumed the position with the difficult task of overseeing major divestment of the assets of the merged company. Through the late 1990s and early 2000s Smurfit Stone made continued efforts to reduce debt and downsize by closing plants.
Amid the difficult financial climate Moore's leadership abilities stood out. When Raymond M. Curran, who had served as president and chief executive officer of Smurfit-Stone since 1999, announced his retirement in January 2002, the company's board elected Moore to the positions. Moore's ability to handle company finances as well as a large operating division within the company led to his appointment. A year after his appointment as president and chief executive officer, Moore replaced Michael W. J. Smurfit as chairman of the board. Working in what Moore correctly predicted to be a difficult operating environment, Smurfit-Stone in 2002 and 2003 continued to tighten its operating focus, to reduce debt, and to lower production costs. Nevertheless, the company continued to struggle in a weak economy. Throughout much of 2003 and 2004 Moore worked to scale down the company's business to meet regional needs.
Moore's performance as chief financial officer and vice president at Jefferson Smurfit and Smurfit-Stone earned him accolades from the company. Michael Smurfit, then chairman of Smurfit-Stone's board of directors, commented in 2002, "In recent years, [Moore] has demonstrated outstanding financial stewardship in guiding our leveraged company through complex transactions and challenging business conditions. [He] has earned respect and admiration among Smurfit-Stone employees at all levels" (January 4, 2002). Moore likewise had earned the respect of those outside the company. According to New York analyst Mark Wilde in an article by James B. Arndorfer, while Curran was known as a "deal guy," Moore was "more focused on the organization" (February 11, 2002).
In addition to developing relationships with customers, Moore devoted a considerable amount of time to communicating with employees through meetings, conference calls, newsletters, video tapes, and visits to facilities. He told Droog "people development" was a very important role to him. "I spend a lot of time making sure we have the right people in place for succession planning, training and development" (July 2002).
Although Smurfit-Stone's headquarters was in Moore's hometown of Chicago, Moore remained in Saint Louis, where he had moved in 1987 to join Jefferson Smurfit. In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , Moore said he was committed to Saint Louis. He was highly active in his community, serving on the Regional Chamber and Growth Association. Moore served on the Saint Louis metropolitan board of the YMCA and was active in such charities as Boys Hope Girls Hope, Big Shoulders, and the Commercial Club of Chicago. He also served as a director of Archer Daniels Midland Company.
See also entries on Continental Bank Corporation and Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation in International Directory of Company Histories .
Arndorfer, James B., "Smurfit-Stone's CEO Seeking Way Out of Tight Economic Box," Crain's Chicago Business , February 11, 2002.
Droog, Pam, "Local Impact, Global Perspective," St. Louis Commerce Magazine , July 2002, http://www.stlcommercemagazine.com/archives/july2002/profile.html .
"Is Smurfit-Stone All Boxed In?" BusinessWeek , February 2, 2004, pp. 2–3.
"Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation Elects Patrick J. Moore President and CEO, Succeeding Ray M. Curran," Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation press release, January 4, 2002, http://www.smurfit-stone.com/content/news/news_112.asp .
Tucci, Linda, "Smurfit-Stone Chief Likes Calling St. Louis Home," St. Louis Post-Dispatch , March 14, 2003.
—Matthew C. Cordon