New leadership at Polar King

​Jari-Pekka Johansson, Metsä Fibre’s new Project Director, takes the lead of the project.


Timo Merikallio, who headed the Äänekoski bioproduct mill project and the Polar King prefeasibility project at Kemi, will go into well-deserved retirement this spring. His successor is Jari-Pekka Johansson, Metsä Fibre’s new Project Director, who began working for the company on March 2019. Merikallio is responsible for the ongoing prefeasibility study in its entirety, while Johansson will take charge of Polar King as of the possible preliminary planning. 

 “Of course my personal wish is the same as the number one option of the prefeasibility study – that we’d build an entirely new and modern bioproduct mill in Kemi,” says Johansson.

Johansson worked in Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill project in Äänekoski as Valmet’s Project Director in 2014–2017. Valmet was one of the two main equipment suppliers and delivered the mill’s recovery boiler, drying line, lime kiln and bark gasification equipment, among other things. Johansson does indeed have strong experience in industrial projects, also in the forest industry.

At Valmet, Johansson worked in project duties for a total of 20 years.

Lessons from Äänekoski

According to Johansson, the key to a successful project is managing the schedule.

“As a project director, I follow progress closely and intervene immediately if I detect any deviations.”

If an entirely new bioproduct mill will be built in Kemi, the implementation model will be largely the same as in Äänekoski.

“We’ll adopt all of the good aspects of the Äänekoski experience at Kemi and, naturally, also consider the issues in which there’s room for improvement,” says Johansson.

Johansson says that he was left with a positive perception of Metsä during the Äänekoski bioproduct mill project.

“The company’s operation in this large-scale project was exemplary and the people were highly skilled,” says Johansson.

He thinks Metsä Group’s public image has developed positively due to the Äänekoski project.
“The new bioproduct mill proved that Metsä Group is a modern forerunner of its industry!”

Jari-Pekka Johansson