October 28th 2013

Hard as steel.

Management and market in a global world.
Michel Wurth, CEO of ArcelorMittal

On Friday, October 25, in the framework of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series, the MCI again welcomed a high-powered visiting speaker, namely Michel Wurth, CEO of the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal.

Attendees at the event were attracted by the prospect of a fascinating insight into the challenging activities of a global player in a growing industry.

ArcelorMittal is the market leader in the EU and also accounts for about 30 % of steel output in the USA. With a total labor force of some 245,000 employees worldwide, the company is very much aware of the value of human resources as a company’s number-one asset. In addition to industrial safety, ArcelorMittal attaches corresponding importance to the welfare of its employees, especially in the newly industrialized countries like Brazil.

Michel Wurth also spoke about the challenges confronting the steel industry with regard to environmental protection and energy consumption. He said the economic crisis of the last few years had led to a downturn in demand in Europe especially and to over-capacities among the steelmakers, but the speaker saw little reason for concern in view of today’s strong growth in Asia.

Steel production is a cost-intensive process and the CEO said that the resulting impacts on profitability constituted one of the main obstacles confronting the industry today, one that should also be addressed in the context of EU industrial policy.

“Steel is a fine product.” The fact that 40% of total output is secondary steel shows that it is also a sustainable product. As steel is cheaper to produce than light metals such as aluminum, is easy to work and has good recycling potential, Michel Wurth is convinced that there is a good future for continued cooperation with the automotive industry.

Attendees in a full auditorium were invited to ask for further details and add their comments in a long discussion and needed no further prompting to do so.

The successful event was chaired by Professor Andreas Altmann, Rector of the MCI.