Ira Boots, 54, began his career in plastics at an early age working in his father's tool-building company. Drawing upon that experience, he joined Berry Plastics Corp., formerly known as Imperial Plastics, in 1978 to supervise the tool-making and product design departments.
He has worked through several management levels during his 30 years at the Evansville, Ind.-based company, including plant manager, executive vice president of operations, and chief operating officer, to reach his current positions of chairman, chief executive officer and president. Through the years at Berry, Boots and the management team has gained significant merger and acquisition experience, having purchased and successfully integrated 26 companies.
As a result, Berry has grown from an injection molder of aerosol overcaps into one of the world's largest packaging manufacturers, also doing blow molding, thermoforming, sheet extrusion, compression molding, tube extrusion and manufacturing of tapes and coated products. The company employs about 14,000 at 70 plants worldwide and serves a who's who customer list of consumer products powerhouses. Through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth, Berry's annual sales have soared to $3.1 billion from $552 million in 2003.
In 2006, private-equity funds Apollo Management LP and Graham Partners Inc. purchased Berry, becoming the latest in a string of financial owners of the firm. Boots continues to work with Apollo and Graham Partners to evaluate and act upon any appropriate opportunities.
Boots graduated from the U.S. Department of Labor's tool-making program in 1975 and he also has studied at the University of Michigan's Executive Business School.