Alan Smurfit and his brothers took over from family business founder John Jefferson Smurfit in 1977.

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From corporate boots on the ground in Latin America to international poker champion

Tom Lyons reflects on the life of Alan Smurfit, one of an exceptional group of brothers who turned the business their father founded into Ireland's first multinational. He passed away at the weekend.

16th Sep, 2020 - 7 min read

On April 29, 1977, the month after John Jefferson Smurfit died, his four talented sons met to discuss what to do with the paper and packaging business their remarkable father had founded. The brothers were devastated by the loss of their patriarch, but they knew he would want them to remain committed to the business.  

The oldest brother, Michael, was made chairman as well as chief executive, while his younger brothers took senior roles alongside him. Jeff became deputy chairman, Alan took charge of UK sales, and Dermot ran the business’s British paper and board division.  

Later that year, the Smurfits took control...

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