Jori Eino Pesonen was born on August 21, 1925 in the city of Tampere, the industrial centre of Finland where he also went to school. In 1951, he earned his master’s degree in paper technology from the Helsinki University of Technology.
From 1951-1952, Pesonen worked as manufacturing and research engineer at Hallsta Pappersbruk in Sweden and from 1953-54 at similar positions in Canada at Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company and Anglo-Canadian Pulp & Paper Mills. In 1954, Pesonen returned to Finland from Canada and spent four years working with the team that was building a green-field newsprint mill (1954-1958), now known as UPM Kaipola. Later, Valmet (now Metso) hired him for two years as technical manager to erect and start their new newsprint machine at Cartiere del Timavo S.p.A. in Italy.
By that time the Finnish Kajaani Oy had decided to build their first modern paper machine; Valmet supplied the machine and Tampella, the grinder. Thus the next 14 years Pesonen spent in the little mill town Kajaani in northern Finland as technical manager and later as mill manager. He was also involved in building Kajaani’s second and third machines.
About 1974, Valmet hired him as general manager of the Rautpohja Works, home of their paper machine manufacturing. In 1980, he was promoted to head of the Wood Processing and Paper Machinery Group and in 1987 became President and CEO of Valmet Paper Machinery Inc. He retired in 1990.
Under Pesonen’s leadership, Valmet was transformed from a Finnish mid-size supplier to a leading global supplier of pulp and paper manufacturing machinery. During his tenure, Valmet delivered 97 new paper machines and conducted 76 rebuilds.
From 1974-76, Pesonen served as Chairman of the Finnish Paper Engineers’ Association, received the Stenbäck Plaquette in 1977 and was elected Honorary Member in 2002. He received the Finnish honorary title Industrial Counselor for extraordinary services in1987 and became TAPPI Fellow in 1990. He was a member of the German ZELLCHEMING, British Paper & Board Industry Federation and Canadian Pulp and Paper Association. He was also member of the Board of Directors of many other organizations.
Pesonen is married to Ritta Pesonen. They have two sons (Walter and Jussi) and a daughter (Eeva). Both sons work in the paper industry.