Surma to step down as Penn State trustee

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John Surma, chairman and chief executive officer of United States Steel Corp., will step down from Penn State University's board of trustees in June, the university announced Thursday.

Mr. Surma cited "several new and continuing business commitments" as the reasons he will not seek another term, Penn State said.

Mr. Surma's leadership role on the board -- including his televised announcement of the firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in November 2011 -- made him a target of scorn among those who felt the late coach had been made a scapegoat and that Penn State had mishandled its response to the arrest of Jerry Sandusky on child sexual assault charges.

That was evident in a statement from the alumni group, Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, following Mr. Surma's announcement: "We only wish he would have resigned sooner."

Courtney Boone, a U.S. Steel spokeswoman, referred a call to Mr. Surma for comment to Penn State. Penn State trustees Chairman Keith Masser praised Mr. Surma's tenure. "Our community owes a significant debt of gratitude to John Surma and his family," Mr. Masser said.

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