Sappi, the biggest producer of dissolving wood pulp, has promoted chief financial officer Steve Binnie to chief executive with effect from July 1 to lead a strategy shift to higher-margin products. He will replace Ralph Boettger, who is retiring due to ill health. A new chief financial officer would be appointed before the end of June, chairman Danie Cronje said yesterday. Binnie, 46, became chief financial officer in September 2012, Sappi said. He was previously chief financial officer at clothing retailer Edcon Holdings. “I view Steve Binnie as a very competent individual,” Jean Pierre Verster, an analyst at 36One Asset Management, said. “Investors would be pleased that the succession has been filled quickly by a person who is familiar with the group’s current strategy and has a good understanding of the financial implications and imperatives,” Verster said. Binnie will oversee the implementation of a new strategy at Sappi, which is increasingly focused on cellulose products used in sportswear and luxury clothes and is moving away from less profitable paper. Sappi shares closed at R33.60 yesterday, down 2.61 percent on the day. – Bloomberg