Among U.S. Steel's assets is 'profound scientific knowledge,' new CEO Longhi says

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Incoming U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi said Thursday the natural gas boom, the automotive market and a comprehensive efficiency project that he is overseeing are major opportunities for the struggling Pittsburgh steel producer.

Mr. Longhi, who will take over as CEO Sept. 1, also said the company and the industry have much to offer in the way of technology and have to do a better job of letting consumers and potential job applicants know that.

"U.S. Steel is an amazing technology company," Mr. Longhi told members of the Pittsburgh Technology Council at a breakfast at the Rivers Club, Downtown.

"Our company has profound scientific knowledge," he added.

Mr. Longhi offered no new details on the efficiency project, announced in April and dubbed Project Carnegie after the company's founder. He said the initiative is much more than a one-dimensional cost-cutting program and will require the company's more than 37,000 workers to "think differently, to think big and to drive change together."

"The changes we want to make are expected to be a new way of operating and doing business and not short-term measures that revert back over time," he said.

Mr. Longhi declined to put a price tag on the amount of benefits he expects the initiative to generate.

"I sense a significant amount of excitement," he said when asked about the challenges he faces making changes at a company that has not generated a yearly profit since 2008.

Mr. Longhi, who previously served at Alcoa and Gerdau Ameristeel, joined U.S. Steel last year as chief operating officer. He was promoted to president June 1 and his elevation to CEO was announced Aug. 16.

His appointment is part of a management shake-up at the steel producer.

Current chairman and CEO John P. Surma will become executive chairman Sept. 1 and will retire from the company and the board at the end of the year. CFO Gretchen R. Haggerty and general counsel James D. Garraux also are retiring.

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Len Boselovic: lboselovic@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1941. First Published August 22, 2013 11:45 AM


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