Kobus Verster. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Kobus Verster. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

ArcelorMittal SA has appointed Kobus Verster as CEO and executive director from February 1, replacing Wim de Klerk, who is stepping down at the end of January.

Verster was CEO of JSE-listed construction and engineering group Aveng from February 2014 until September 2017. He had previously served on the board of ArcelorMittal SA as chief financial officer and executive director from February 2006 until August 2010.

Prior to his appointment as chief financial officer, Verster held various senior roles in financial management, including as GM of corporate finance and treasury from 1990, SA’s largest steel producer said on Monday.

"In our search for a CEO, we placed a high premium on a candidate with knowledge of, and experience in, the steel industry," ArcelorMittal SA chairperson Mpho Makwana said. "In Kobus we believe we have found such a candidate, who will also provide much-needed continuity with our strategic turnaround programme."

Lakshmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal group chairperson and CEO based in Luxembourg, said on Monday: "We look forward to having Kobus on board. As someone we have worked with previously, we believe he will sustain the momentum of leading our important strategic investment in Africa, restoring the company back to profitability and sustainable performance."

ArcelorMittal SA reported a total comprehensive loss of R2.46bn in the six months to June, saying Eskom and Transnet pricing had made it uncompetitive. It said at the time that Eskom’s winter tariffs for its plants were 183% higher than electricity costs for the next most expensive steel plant in the global ArcelorMittal group. For the past five years, it had paid Transnet a tariff that was 50% more than the producer price index, De Klerk had said.

Meanwhile, the group has welcomed a recent decision by the Department of Trade and Industry to stipulate a 100% minimum threshold for local steel content in the country’s rail sector, including for rails, fasteners, sleepers and track ballast.

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