Sonoco executive chairman to retire

February 15, 2019
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Harris DeLoach

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Harris E. DeLoach Jr. will retire in April as a director and as executive chairman of Sonoco, the company announced Wednesday.

John R. Haley, the current vice chairman, was named the chairman-elect by Sonoco’s board in keeping with the board’s succession planning.

DeLoach, 74, has more than 33 years of senior management and board experience with Sonoco, one of the largest diversified global packaging companies. The company’s world headquarters is in Hartsville.

At retirement, DeLoach will have served as chairman of Sonoco’s board for 14 years, including executive chairman since 2013. He was first elected to the board in 1998 and became chief executive officer of the company in 2000 and chairman in 2005 before retiring from day-to-day leadership in 2013.

The company has a mandatory retirement age of 75 for board members.

“There are few words to describe how fortunate Sonoco and the board have been to have Harris as our chairman for the past 14 years,” said James M. Micali, Sonoco’s lead independent director. “In addition to his tenure in senior management of the company, Harris has served with the board to develop a stronger and more diverse team that has worked diligently to represent the best interests of shareholders, employees and the communities where Sonoco operates.”

DeLoach was not available for comment.

Haley, 57, has served on the Sonoco board since 2011 and is the chief executive officer of Gosiger Inc., a privately owned distributor of computer-controlled machine tool and factory automation systems based in Dayton, Ohio.

“John was the unanimous choice of the board to become chairman, based on his extensive executive management experience and the leadership he has provided to the board over the past eight years, including chairing the financial policy committee,” Micali said. “The board has been planning succession for the past several years, including appointing John as vice chairman last year to work alongside Harris and be mentored by one of the top leaders of corporate governance.”

In addition to serving on the Sonoco board, DeLoach is a trustee of the Duke Endowment. He formerly served on the boards of Duke Energy, Milliken & Company, Goodrich and Progress Energy.

He has also served on numerous nonprofit boards and has received several business leadership honors, including Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business in 1998; the University of South Carolina Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006; the 2008 Businessman of the Year by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce; the Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Award from the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance in 2014; and the Order of the Palmetto from South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014.

Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and displays and packaging supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $5.4 billion, the company has 23,000 employees working in approximately 300 operations in 36 countries, serving some of the world’s best known brands in some 85 nations.

The company ranked first in the Packaging sector on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies for 2019.