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Monday, June 28, 2010

Tata-owned Corus CEO to quit

Chief executive officer of Tata-owned British steel maker Corus, Kirby Adams is to step down this October, media reports said.

Adams, who will remain as an adviser to the Corus board, will be replaced by Karl-Ulrich Köhler, the company’s chief operating officer.

The Sunday Times quoted senior steel industry sources as saying that Adams’s future had first been discussed at a meeting in Mumbai two months ago, following the closure of the Corus plant in Teesside in north-east England.

The newspaper also quoted Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Steel, as saying: “In his time as chief executive of Tata Steel Europe, Kirby has effected a major turnaround of the business and he leaves the company very well placed for the future. We thank him for his contribution.”

During his time at the company, Adams has been forced to reverse millions of pounds of monthly losses, caused by turmoil in the steel markets. He has also had to oversee thousands of job cuts at the company. These were particularly heavy at its Teesside plant after an international consortium walked away from a 10-year agreement to buy 80 percent of the output produced by part of the unit.

In a statement, Corus said Adams had decided to return to Australia, where he first built his reputation at BlueScope Steel. It paid tribute to him for “restoring profitability” to the company.

The Telegraph quoted Adams as saying: “I am very pleased that Karl is now taking on this role and I wish him every success.”

Adam’s successor Köhler is a board member at Corus and he will join the board of the parent company, Tata Steel later this year. He previously worked at ThyssenKrupp Steel and has worked closely with Adams for restructuring the company since joining in February.

Corus is in talks with SSI, a Thai steelmaker, about sale of the Teesside plant. It has retained Citigroup, the American bank, to advise it in the talks. The sticking point is likely to be the difficulty of integrating the plant with SSI’s other operations.

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