Corus in turmoil as Pedder is forced to go

The crisis at the stricken steel maker Corus claimed its first executive scalp yesterday as Tony Pedder resigned from the role of chief executive as the Anglo-Dutch group lurched toward a drastic restructuring likely to result in thousands more redundancies.

Sir Brian Moffat, Corus' chairman, would not make any guarantees about the future of the group's three main plants in the UK, in Redcar, Scunthorpe and south Wales. The expected impact on jobs from any restructuring, he said, would not be "as severe as last time [in 2001]" when the group axed about 10,000.

As the hunt for a replacement chief executive got underway, Corus appointed Stuart Pettifor, one of its executive directors, to the role of chief operating officer. Corus is considering only external candidates for the top job.

"In the light of the company's performance, the board, including Mr Pedder, has concluded that a change of leadership is required," the company said, adding Mr Pedder had tendered his resignation which had been accepted with immediate effect.

His departure came just a day after an Amsterdam court forced Corus to abandon the £543m sale of its aluminium business – a move that left the company's future in the balance.

Sir Brian, under pressure from the unions to step down himself, said yesterday he would put his retirement on ice until his successor had been appointed. He had planned to step down at next month's annual general meeting. "The unions, I know, have requested that [his resignation] but I, personally, haven't been under intense pressure either from the board, from within or from shareholders," he said.

However, the unions were still baying for his blood yesterday. "Tony Pedder has done the honourable thing in resigning as chief executive, but he mustn't be a scapegoat. Sir Brian Moffat, the Corus chairman, does not have the trust of the workforce in either the UK or the Netherlands. We demand that he must go now," said the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee, which contains representatives from the ISTC, Amicus, T&G and GMB unions.

Under the terms of his contract, Mr Pedder will be entitled to a year's salary of £550,000. In 2001, he earned £434,047 in total including a £410,000 salary.

The move came as Corus unveiled a net loss of £458m for the 12 months to 28 December, an increase from the £237m loss recorded the year before.

Corus is currently carrying out a review to come up with a plan to eliminate the losses, although the outcome of that is expected in months rather than weeks. "This will inevitably lead to significant further capacity reductions and concentration of operations on to fewer sites," Corus said.

After failing to bring in cash from the sale of its aluminium businesses, Corus said it was now looking at getting fresh financing from both equity and debt providers as well as from selling non-core assets. It is also in talks with its bankers to get a new facility in place. Its existing €1.4bn (£950m) facility expires at the end of January.

Analysts at BNP Paribas said: "Corus remains in discussions with its bankers about securing further finance and is also looking at equity finance although we suspect that with the shares trading at about 4p this is more likely to be through an equity-for-debt swap," they said. The stock closed up 1.5p, or 37.5 per cent, at 5.5p last night.

Sir Brian, however, insisted a debt-for-equity swap was not the only option left. "We're not in such a parlous state," he said. "We are going to pull through this difficult time. We are determined to make Corus succeed as an international and combined group."

Mr Pettifor was appointed to the board in September 2001. A graduate in metallurgy, he has held a number of key roles including managing director of the construction/ industrial business. He was also president and chief executive of the Swedish stainless steel producer Avesta Sheffield until it merged with Finland's Outokumpu Steel to form AvestaPolarit in 2000.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
film
Sport
football
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker