JSW Steel USA picks SSAB exec to be new CEO

JSW Steel USA has appointed industry veteran Mark Bush to be its new chief executive officer.

Bush replaces John Hritz, who will remain on JSW company boards and help JSW Steel USA with strategic and legal matters, the Indian conglomerate said on Tuesday August 4.

“Mark brings with him over two decades of experience in steelmaking, project execution and flat-rolled sales,” Parth Jindal, director of JSW Steel USA, said in a statement.

Bush had worked at SSAB’s plate mill in Mobile, Alabama, for more than 20 years, mostly recently as general manager of the operation, according to his LinkedIn profile.

JSW Steel USA – a subsidiary of India’s JSW Steel Ltd – operates a sheet mill in Mingo Junction, Ohio, and plate and pipe mills in Baytown, Texas.

Bush will be based in Houston, which is close to Baytown, and will oversee both facilities, JSW Steel USA said.

The Ohio sheet mill was idled in July due to weak demand. JSW Steel USA has decided to take the down time to focus on a modernization of the mill’s electric-arc furnace (EAF).

JSW Steel USA also has big plans for Baytown, where it has announced plans to install a new EAF and slab caster – projects that would allow it to melt and pour steel domestically, a requirement for some federal government work, rather than relying on imported slab.

Those plans might have been delayed, but they have not been scrapped, Jindal indicated.

“Our vision remains to be a melt-and-manufacture player in the USA, and Mark is best positioned to help JSW achieve scale and significance in the US marketplace,” he said.

Bush said he was eager to join a company in expansion mode. “Right now, the first priority is to get the expansion projects commissioned. The current and future projects will be transformational,” he said.

Hritz, who had been CEO of JSW Steel USA since February 2015, welcomed Bush in the post. “I am pleased to welcome Mark Bush to steer the company’s next growth phase,” he said.

JSW’s commitment to the US market comes despite losses in the region in recent quarters and domestic steel prices hitting four-year lows in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US averaged $22.36 per hundredweight ($447.20 per short ton) last week, down by 0.6% from $22.50 per cwt the prior week and the lowest weekly average since reaching $21.90 per cwt for the week ended April 1, 2016.

Fastmarkets’ latest weekly price assessment for steel cut-to-length plate carbon grade, fob mill US was unchanged at $26 per cwt on July 31, the lowest level since mid-November 2016.