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Celebrating all things paper: The wonder and the legacy, continued
Juuso Walden (right) hosting Richard Nixon in April 1965.
Ladies and gentlemen, last month in this space, we took a look back at the life and times of 2008 Paper Industry International Hall of Fame inductee Rudolf Walden, a Finnish industrialist and military leader who was the founder of United Paper Mills (UPM). This month, let's profile Mr. Walden's son, the late Juuso Walden, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

Juuso Walden was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1907. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1925 from the Helsinki School of Economics and completed his studies later in England on paper marketing. Since his early years, Juuso Walden worked at the mills of United Paper Mills founded by his father, Rudolf. Juuso started as a trainee, soon rose to become Office Manager and later Corporate Sales Manager. During World War II, Juuso Walden was appointed President and CEO when his father was elected Minister of Defense of Finland. After the death of Rudolf Walden in 1946, Juuso Walden and his family became the main shareholders of United Paper Mills together with the other owner family Björnberg. The heads of the families had differing views with regard to the development of the company and thus it was decided to divide the company into two halves early in 1952. The Björnberg's part, Myllykoski Oy, parted from United Paper Mills.

Walden immediately began a major expansion of the new United Paper Mills (now UPM) because he expected strong growth in the global paper demand. The most important mill was the Kaipola newsprint and magazine paper mill, which became, in the early 1960s, the largest of its kind outside the North American continent. Gradually Kaipola mill concentrated on producing super calendared magazine papers.

Under Walden's leadership, UPM was transformed into a multi business company adding a wide and diversified paper and board converting business for export to the Soviet Union. Later, engineering works and a chemical factory were added to produce equipment and materials for the paper industry. The company also acquired some small mills in other countries, especially in Italy. These acquisitions were, however, not always economically feasible.

Walden was especially interested in the welfare of the personnel. He became a very popular Big Boss when he got involved into building houses so that employees could live in homes of their own. He was also greatly interested in all kinds of sports. He hired several top-level athletes like Olympic Gold Medal Winners and World Champions to work for UPM.

Juuso Walden retired in 1970 and died in 1972.

According to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame, Juuso Walden was one of the most important and visible industrial leaders in Finland. Due to his activities, the mill sites of UPM became models for Finnish industry.

Steve Roush is Vice President, Publisher and Editor and in charge of the International Desk at Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at steve.roush@taii.com. Many thanks go to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame, Inc., for biographical information on Hall of Fame inductees.

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