Corus boss to quit the firm he rescued

Steve Dinneen
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CORUS boss Kirby Adams has announced his shock departure from the steel giant after turning around its fortunes in the wake of the financial meltdown.

He will be replaced in October by Corus’ parent company Tata Steel’s chief financial officer Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler.

Adams was responsible for overseeing a sweeping restructuring of the business, which took Europe’s second largest steel producer from losses of £100m a month back into the black.

He attracted controversy for giving the green light to thousands of job losses, many resulting from his decision to moth-ball a major Corus plant in Teesside.

Adams confirmed his departure, saying he will return to Australia, where he worked for BlueScope Steel before taking up the top job at Corus. He will remain a consultant at the firm.

Replacement Köhler, a board member at the company, joined Corus in February from ThyssenKrupp Steel, where he has spent a career spanning more than 30 years.

Tata Steel chairman Ratan Tata says Köhler will take the reins at a rejuvenated firm with strong growth prospects thanks to Kirby.

He 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 Karl’s leadership.”

The firm is now eyeing a deal for the moth-balled Teesside plant, with Thai steelmaker SSI understood to be engaged in talks.

Corus, the European operation of Tata Steel, accounts for two thirds its parent company’s global output of about 30m tonnes of steel, while the booming Indian operations contribute a quarter. Tata Steel also has units in Thailand and Singapore.