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Western Forest Products promotes president to CEO

Ron Vanderkhove breaks up rock in a quarry on the Western Forest Product lot in this file photo.

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

Western Forest Products Inc. has promoted Don Demens to chief executive officer, the latest in a series of positions with the Vancouver-based lumber producer.

The announcement comes as Western Forest reports the highest sales in its history last year, $925.4-million, amid improved market conditions.

In the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Western Forest had $231.2-million in revenue and $14.6-million in net income or three cents per share.

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That was an improvement from $3.3-million of net income, or one cent per share, with $220.7-million of revenue in the fourth quarter of 2011.

For the full year, revenue was up 8.4 per cent from $853.7-million in 2011.

Western Forest Product's annual profit was $29.1-million or six cents per share, up from $23.8-million or five cents per share in 2011.

Net debt was also down dramatically, to $15-million from $52.1-million at the end of 2011.

Demens will also continue as president, a position he has held since July.

Demens, who has also been Western Forest's chief operating officer and also a senior vice-president of sales and manufacturing, replaces Dominic Gammiero as CEO.

Gammiero will continue as chairman of the company's board of directors.

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"I am very pleased that Don has accepted these additional responsibilities," Gammiero said in a statement late Thursday.

"He was instrumental in helping us turn around the business and his knowledge of our industry has been critical in defining our long-term strategy at Western. The board is confident his leadership will continue to strengthen Western's position as a globally competitive forest products business."

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