When Dan Fulton took a big leap up the corporate ladder at Weyerhaeuser in January, becoming president of the diversified company, it was part of a paced succession plan to replace chairman and CEO Steve Rogel. Rogel, 65, who'd been chairman and CEO of the company since 1997, was set to retire in two years. Not five months later, the board of directors accelerated that plan, announcing late yesterday that Fulton was to also take on the role of company CEO, effective immediately. Rogel will remain non-executive chairman.

The board also added Mark A Emmert, president of the University of Washington, to its ranks, effective June 1.

In a prepared statement, Charles R. Williamson, lead director of Weyerhaeuser's board, said, "We're also fortunate to have a leader of the caliber of Dan Fulton assume the additional role of CEO," Williamson said. "Dan's understanding of the company and the industry ensures that we will continue to implement the strategies we have put in place to guide Weyerhaeuser into its second century. Together with Mark Emmert, our new director, Dan will work closely with Steve [Rogel] and the board as we move forward with our strategies to enhance shareholder value."

Prior to assuming the post of president and CEO, Fulton had been president and CEO of subsidiary Weyeraheuser Real Estate Company (WRECO), which includes five home building companies and a real estate investment arm.

In an earlier interview with Big Builder, Fulton said his priority for 2008 as the company's newest corporate head was "setting a long-term strategic direction for the company. We have a high priority focused on supporting an industrywide initiative for tax reform that relates to the taxation of timber earnings." Moreover, the company has been going through a strategic evaluation of some of its businesses, selling off and shutting down select units.