Longhi, who joined U.S. Steel last year, to replace John Surma amid company's recent struggle to produce profits
August 17, 2013 8:30 AM
Mario Longhi in June. As U.S. Steel president, he was tasked earlier this year with overseeing a major cost-cutting effort.
By Teresa F. Lindeman Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A year after U.S. Steel Corp. surprised some in its industry by choosing a former Alcoa executive to serve as chief operating officer, Mario Longhi has continued his move up the Pittsburgh steel company's ranks to be named its next CEO, effective Sept. 1.
Mr. Longhi will replace John P. Surma, who has spent a decade in the chief executive role but struggled to produce profits in recent years. Mr. Surma will continue as executive chairman through the end of the year, when he will retire, according to the company's announcement late Friday.
Mr. Longhi, whose addition of the title of president to his business card in May spurred speculation that he was in line for the CEO job, spent 23 years at aluminum producer Alcoa and six years at Brazilian steel producer Gerdau before moving to U.S. Steel in July 2012.
Earlier this year, Mr. Surma had announced that the company was launching an initiative to examine its processes with an eye toward cutting costs. Mr. Longhi was named to oversee that effort.
"I am pleased that our well-established succession planning process has produced such a capable and experienced executive who deserves the opportunity to lead U.S. Steel and our new management team into the future," said Mr. Surma, in a prepared statement.
The managerial changes won't stop with the chief executive's office.
On Friday, the company also said its chief financial officer, Gretchen R. Haggerty, will retire at the end of August, and that job will be filled by David B. Burritt, who served as CFO and vice president of global finance and strategic services for Caterpillar Inc. from 2004 to 2010.
U.S. Steel's general counsel and senior vice president-corporate affairs, James D. Garraux, also plans to retire by the end of the year, the company said.
Seth Schofield, the presiding director of the company's board, said, "Our board extends its appreciation to John Surma for his many contributions during his decade as CEO, which included some of the most challenging years in U.S. Steel's long history.
"We are equally excited about the company's prospects under the leadership of Mario Longhi, who is uniquely qualified to lead U.S. Steel into the future."