Mark S. Sutton, an LSU graduate who joined International Paper Co. as an engineer at its mill in Pineville 30 years ago, has been named president and chief operating officer of the company and elected to its board.

The announcement was made by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Faraci, who is expected to retire in March 2015 because of a mandatory retirement age of 65.

The Wall Street Journal described Sutton’s appointment this week as a “possible succession-planning move” in advance of Faraci’s retirement.

Sutton will immediately assume responsibility for the operations of the Memphis, Tennessee-based company and continue to report to Faraci. Sutton was International Paper’s senior vice president, industrial packaging.

“Mark has been a key member of our leadership team and has played an instrumental role in the transformation of International Paper over the last decade,” Faraci said. “He has done an excellent job integrating the acquisition of Temple Inland, and with 30 years of proven success at International Paper in a variety of assignments, I’m confident Mark will continue to make International Paper a stronger, better company.”

Sutton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from LSU.

International Paper is major provider of packaging and paper, with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. The company employs about 70,000 people and is in more than 24 countries serving customers worldwide. International Paper net sales for 2013 were $29 billion.

During his career, Sutton has been mill manager in Thilmany, Wisconsin; director of European corrugated packaging operations; vice president and general manager responsible for corrugated packaging operations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa; vice president of corporate strategic planning; senior vice president, global supply chain; and senior vice president, printing and communications papers – the Americas.