U.S. Steel Names Longhi to Be Next CEO as Surma Retires

U.S. Steel Corp., the country’s biggest steelmaker by volume, is promoting Chief Operating Officer Mario Longhi to replace John Surma as chief executive officer.

Longhi will assume the new position Sept. 1 and Surma, 59, will remain as executive chairman until he retires at year-end, the Pittsburgh-based company said yesterday in a statement.

“Surma’s tenure at U.S. Steel was characterized by shaking things up,” Michelle Applebaum, managing partner at consultant Steel Market Intelligence in Chicago, said by phone. “The way he’s exiting is the way he ran the company.”

Surma expanded the company’s pipe and tube division, its most profitable, and sold the loss-making Serbian division.

“He’s been an energizing leader at the company at a time they needed real leadership,” Applebaum said.

Before joining U.S. Steel last year, Longhi worked at Gerdau Ameristeel Corp., the U.S. unit of Brazil’s Gerdau SA, where he was CEO from 2006 to 2011. Prior to joining Gerdau, he spent 23 years at U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa Inc.

U.S. Steel said in a separate statement that David Burritt will become chief financial officer after current CFO Gretchen Haggerty retires on Aug. 31. Burritt, 58, was CFO at Caterpillar Inc. until 2010.

U.S. Steel has had annual adjusted losses in three of the past four years and is expected to post a loss of $188.5 million this year, according to the average of 12 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Steelmakers have struggled to be profitable amid low prices and competition from imports since the global financial crisis began in 2008.

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