Stoe away: Long-time metals stalwart George Stoe retires

Aug 28, 2012 | 07:00 PM | Corinna Petry

Tags  George Stoe, Worthington Industries, Corinna Petry

George Stoe, who retired Aug. 1 as president and chief operating officer of Worthington Industries Inc., has seen an immense amount of change in the metals industry since he began his career in 1969 at Howmet Aluminum Corp., now part of Alcoa Inc., as an inside sales representative in Lancaster, Pa., a mill that had 180 million pounds of capacity and sold only in North America.

Over the past four decades, he’s been witness to an industry that has been severely disjointed, beset by fierce competition and many other challenges. In the steel business, for example, bankruptcies and consolidation in the 1990s and 2000s and the recession forced companies to rationalize capacity, develop the discipline needed to weather downturns and alter their approach to customers.

“In the past, there was always competition as to who had the upper hand. Mills reneged on contracts when business was good, and when it went the other way customers didn’t live up to agreements. Now, producers have formed partnerships with customers and each (partner) understands that both have to be successful,” Stoe said.

When Columbus, Ohio-based Worthington hired Stoe in 2003, his first assignment was to evaluate the cylinder business, which makes pressure vessels for commercial applications. Worthington’s leadership had “a fair amount of concern about whether that business had peaked or whether there were further opportunities for growth,” he said. “Should we divest or take advantage of good results?”....





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