Colbert Packaging Corporation has announced that chief operating officer John Lackner will succeed Jim Hamilton as the company’s president, effective June 1. Hamilton, who is stepping back from the day-to-day operations, has been named chairman of the board, a post previously held by Nancy Colbert MacDougall, daughter of founder Charles Colbert. MacDougall will retain a position on the board, while also taking on the role of CEO.
“John is a capable leader who has spent his entire career ensuring the highest quality paperboard packaging production. He is committed to operational excellence and customer satisfaction. Nancy grew up with Colbert Packaging and the industry, and she has always remained passionate about ensuring the company’s success,” said Hamilton. “I am confident in this duo’s ability to take the reins and leverage the strengths of our entire leadership team to lead this company into 2020 and beyond. I look forward to lending my guidance and support from my seat on the board.”
Jim Hamilton is retiring from day-to-day operations after 42 years in the folding carton industry, though he will remain active as chairman of the board for Colbert Packaging and a board member for the Independent Carton Group. In 1976, after serving in the U.S. Air Force, Hamilton joined Colbert Packaging, which his father William Hamilton had helped lead nearly since its inception. Hamilton quickly proved his ability to cultivate customer relationships and grow sales, and over the years, he gained increasing sales management responsibilities. He has held the post of president and CEO since August 2004 and has been a member of Colbert’s board of directors since 1997.
In addition to his long career in the folding carton industry, Hamilton also had a 27-year career as a military aviator. He served in the U.S. Air Force and Illinois Air National Guard, from which he retired as a brigadier general (ILANG-Ret.) in 1998. He is a Vietnam and Desert Storm veteran.
John Lackner joined Colbert Packaging in May 2017 from Graphic Packaging, formerly Walter G. Anderson, where he served as director of operations, overseeing two Midwest manufacturing plants. Prior to that, he spent 23 years moving up the ranks at MeadWestvaco (now WestRock) and its AGI Media packaging business, a division that was eventually acquired by Multi Packaging Solutions. Lackner gained valuable hands-on experience on the production floor early in his career, which began in the mid-1980s, while serving as a pressman and finishing department manager.
Brought on as Colbert’s vice president of operations, Lackner was named COO in January. Now, in his new role as president and COO, Lackner will oversee all daily operations, manage sales and marketing, and continue to have overall responsibility for Colbert’s three manufacturing facilities.
Nancy Colbert MacDougall has spent over four decades nurturing and growing her family’s box-making business. MacDougall joined Colbert Packaging in 1975 and began learning the ropes by working as an estimator until 1980. She spent the next 15 years serving as the assistant to then-chairman Charles Colbert, her father. In 1995, MacDougall was named executive vice president, responsible for overseeing all HR functions, and in 2009, she was appointed chairman of the board.
As CEO, MacDougall will work with Lackner to steer Colbert Packaging into the future, while ensuring the family culture and values of independent operation remain woven into the fabric of the company. A long-time resident of Chicago’s North Shore, she is active in her community and involved in organizations throughout the Chicago metropolitan area that promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women, and improve communities through action and leadership.