Liberty Steel UK's new CEO to address annual steel dinner

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 24 Jan 2019

New chief executive of Liberty Steel UK, Cornelius Louwrens, will deliver the keynote address at Lincolnshire Iron and Steel Institute’s annual dinner this year.

The principal guest is about to step into the role leading the company’s British interests, including the Scunthorpe site which is the UK’s largest hot rolled manufacturer of steel merchant bar, with an annual capacity of 400,000 tonnes.

Mr Louwrens, once operations director for Tata’s Long Products division, was described by Liberty as one of the European metals industry’s most prominent figures when appointed in November. He starts next month, as he steps down from his current role as chief executive of NBH Plate, part of the international NLMK Group.

He succeeds Jon Bolton, the former Tata Scunthorpe site director to 2015, who is stepping into the role of international development director for Liberty, leading the group’s ambitious expansion drive outside the UK.

Read more: Senior management changes at British Steel

Mr Louwrens is a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, who studied management at Kellogg Business School in the USA. He has more than 20 years’ experience in senior positions with some of the world’s largest steel companies, including ArcelorMittal and Tata. He was also SSI UK business director when the huge Tees facility was mothballed four years ago.

On his appointment, Sanjeev Gupta, founder of Liberty and executive chairman of the GFG Alliance, said: “Cornelius brings us a rare combination of top-calibre technical qualifications, excellent operational skills and world-class business leadership. As Liberty expands it footprint across the globe, it is essential that we attract high-calibre experienced leaders such as Cornelius to guide and develop key parts of business.”

Read more: British Steel invests £1.4m in new distribution fleet

In Scunthorpe Liberty boasts two fully automated steel rolling mills use state of the art technology providing efficient steel production for customers across the UK and Europe.

Liberty bought the 145-worker plant, which previously traded as Caparo Merchant Bar, from administrators in 2017.

Mr Louwrens said: “Liberty has been a story of extraordinary growth over recent years and there is lots more potential to build the business so I’m extremely excited about being part of this.”

It is the organisation’s 86th annual dinner, with president Grahame Wallace looking forward to welcoming guests to The Baths Hall on March 22.

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