How National Steel Got So Bent Out Of Shape

The Japanese replace the CEO as the outlook darkens

Just two years ago, the Japanese owners of National Steel Corp. rocked the Rust Belt with a bold raid on a rival: They hired away the entire management team from the U.S. Steel Group's flagship plant in Gary, Ind., and put the six men in charge of the underperforming National, the country's fourth-biggest integrated steel company. The new team quickly went to work, hammering out accords with the union and taking steps to boost productivity. It seemed they just might produce the Mishawaka (Ind.) company's long-awaited turnaround.

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