Corus chief Kirby Adams to quit

Written by fe Bureaus | Mumbai | Updated: Jun 29 2010, 05:02am hrs
In a surprise move, the worlds eighth largest steel manufacturer, Tata Steel, has said Kirby Adams will step down as Corus managing director and CEO this October. Adams, who will remain as an adviser to the Corus board, will be replaced by Karl-Ulrich Khler, the companys chief operating officer. He was responsible for recasting the company and restoring profitability.

According to reports in the international media, Adamss 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.

Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Steel, in a statement, said, 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 and look forward to making further progress under Karls leadership.

Kirby Adams, who was appointed as chief executive officer of Tata Steel Europe in February 2009, will return to Australia, the release said.

During his time at the company, Adams had to reverse millions of pounds of monthly losses, caused by turmoil in the steel markets. As a part of Corus cost cutting initiative, Adams also had to oversee thousands of job cuts at the company. Added to difficult times was at its Teesside plant, when an international consortium walked away from a 10-year agreement to buy 80% of the output produced by part of the unit.

Adams said, I have spent the past 15 months undertaking a major review of the operations during a time of unprecedented difficulty in the European steel industry. The results of this review are now being implemented through the One Company and Customer First initiatives and I am proud that we have moved from loss-making to profitability.

We are now making great progress and Karl and I will continue to work closely over the next three months, making October an ideal time for him to take over the reins, he said. Khler, 54, was appointed COO in February 2010.