Suzano Group

In 2009, the Suzano Group turned “85 years young.” We have beat a successful path and have always kept the faith in a socially just Brazil with a bright future on the horizon.

Suzano Group
The ongoing entrepreneurship of the Feffer family has transformed a mere envelope production business into one of the most solid, dynamic and diverse privately held conglomerates of Brazil, with a turnover of 3,5+ US billions.

More than five thousand employees and some 20,000 outsourced personnel work in a number of sites and regions. The nonstop dynamics, the determination to grow in a structured manner and the will to provide diverse products and services are some of the key characteristics of the Suzano Group. It all began when the Ukrainian Leon Feffer, around the age of eighteen, emigrated to Brazil, along with his mother, one brother and two sisters.

At the time the Brazilian economy was heavily dependent on coffee growing. Industries were taking their first steps. Most commodities were imported. Faced with a challenge — being a stranger among strangers, a new country and an alien language — but also in view of great potential, Leon set up a shop in São Paulo. Among the many goods he sold, foremost was paper. In the mid-1930s, he started a printers’ shop and a small envelope factory.

Leon's enterprising spirit really broke out in 1939. He sold off all the assets he had accrued, including his family home, so he could start a new factory. Realizing that Brazil did not manufacture enough paper and imports would suffer as World War II got rolling, Leon Feffer decided to invest on paper-making.

Thus the first industrial unit of the Suzano Group was commissioned in the Ipiranga district of the city of São Paulo. Suzano, the name, was adopted in 1955, when Leon Feffer bought off the Euclides Damiani paper-making outfit, which was then located in the town of Suzano, some 40km from the Paulistan capital.

Also keen on the arts, especially music, and feeling how relevant they were to the culture of São Paulo, Max Feffer became State Secretary for Culture, Science and Technology in the late 1970s. He was behind the inception of musical projects that exist to this day, such as the Jazz Festival and the Winter Festival at Campos do Jordão.

In 1999, his creative, artistic mind breathed life into the Instituto Ecofuturo ("Eco-future Institute”), an NGO that advocates and promotes sustainable development through investment in education, reading and environmental preservation.

Currently the Instituto Ecofuturo, led by Daniel Feffer (one of Max’s children), owns 83 community libraries throughout six Brazilian states, holds one of the largest nationwide writing contests for children and teens and is responsible for the Parque das Neblinas ("Mist Park”), a nature preserve covering 2,700 hectares, sited 100km from the city of São Paulo.

The Park holds an Atlantic forest, completely preserved, currently a preferential location for visits and school trips. It was thanks to initiatives like this that Leon (deceased in 1999) and Max Feffer (who passed away prematurely, in 2001) made their perennial mark in the history of Brazilian industrial, social and environmental development; proving that entrepreneurs can combine thriving businesses with consistent social action. Max being taken so early in his life, David Feffer, eldest of four, took over the chairmanship at the Suzano Group and drove business with a will, laying the groundwork for vigorous, sustainable growth.

One of many milestones under his management is the 2003 establishment of Suzano Holding, which consolidates our management model, focusing on transparency and excellence in business.

Another is the restructuring of Suzano Petroquímica (oil industry) which, in 2004, became the first family business to sign onto Bovespa Corporate Governance, Level 2; and then there was the application of professional standards throughout Group companies, following strict corporate governance criteria; also, the construction of a new cellulose unit in Mucuri, at the far south of Bahia. 

Starting with a vision that prioritizes high-quality and high-performance professional management, a presence in the capital market and family control, the Suzano Group companies stand out from the pack as they value innovation, stick to corporate governance demands and legitimate social/environmental commitments. Ours is the path of innovation, risk-taking. We aim to develop new business models and products, to seek out solutions that bring combined value to the organization and society at large.

Leon Feffer, the man
More than just a businessman, Leon devoted part of his life to several community activities. He patronized organizations such as the Israel Culture House (Casa de Cultura de Israel), the Israeli Federation of São Paul State (Federação Israelita do Estado de São Paulo), the Albert Einstein Hospital (known for years throughout Latin America as a world-class hospital), the Renascença School, and many others.

He was one of the founding members of the Hebraica Club (A Hebraica – one of the most dynamic sports and recreation clubs in the city of São Paulo) and, from 1956 and to the year of his death, served as Israeli Consul in Brazil. From the 1970s onward, he tended to his succession, transferring leadership of the Suzano Group to his son Max, who drove successful expansion into sectors such as cellulose, packaging and oil.

Max Feffer was a born leader who started working with Leon early in his life to expand the Suzano Group. In the 1950s he led the team of scientists who were looking into alternative raw materials to produce cellulose from eucalipti. These experiments would revolutionize papermaking in Brazil and the Americas. As a professional gifted with strategic foresight, he was responsible for the diversification and consolidation of the Group, leading a number of investments in the oil sector and contributing toward the establishment of professional management.

Suzano and Sonae
The Suzano-SONAE joint venture arises from our partnership, which began in 2002 with the Brazilian insurance broker, LAZAM-MDS. Based on shared values between the groups — solid, professional management; family-held business; focus on duration and the long term — this holding covers all investments in insurance and reinsurance brokerage, boosting the international competitiveness of MDS Holding and capitalizing on the growth of the Brazilian insurance market; also, on the growth of business in Latin America; thus consolidating our growth strategy. With a portfolio verging on US$2Bn, this partnership is the one non-American or British company among the largest insurance/reinsurance firms present in high-growth markets. On the whole, there are 1,200 employees throughout 21 countries, led by the Executive Board under José Manuel Fonseca.
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