LOS ANGELES The retirement of Joerg Lenninger from ThyssenKrupp Steel Services Trading marks the end of an era for the German company following its more than 40 years of resident steel trading on the West Coast.
Lenninger, who represented ThyssenKrupp AGs steel trading in the market since 1982, when the parent company was known as Thyssen AG, retired at the end of 2013, a spokeswoman for ThyssenKrupp North America Inc. in Chicago confirmed. He began his career with Thyssen AGs Thyssen Stahlunion Gmbh unit in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1975.
Lenninger, based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., was ThyssenKrupps last full-time resident trader on the West Coast, local market sources told AMM. They noted that the steady exodus of steel-consuming manufacturers from California, in particular, over the years has been exacerbated by a weak residential construction market that still hasnt recovered from a 2008 slump. Moreover, traders profit margins continue to be squeezed as they compete to sell the output of certain key Asian suppliers.
The spokeswoman emphasized that ThyssenKrupp Steel Services will continue to be represented on the West Coast by Frank Becker, who is based in Canada and will be "splitting his time between Toronto and the U.S. West Coast." She also pointed out that ThyssenKrupp Steel Services will continue to service its West Coast trading customers out of the Santa Fe Springs office.
The Los Angeles-area office was originally set up in 1972 for Thyssen AG by the late Klaus J. Abstoss (amm.com, Aug. 29) at the outset of what industry veterans now look back on as the heyday of steel trading on the West Coast, particularly for European companies. At one point the office employed up to 15 people, among them some of the highest-profile traders in the western United States, with an estimated 250,000 tons in business per year, market sources told AMM.