NEW YORK James L. Wainscott, chairman, president and chief executive officer of AK Steel Corp., received the 2014 Willy Korf/Ken Iverson Steel Vision Award during the Steel Success Strategies XXIX conference in New York this past week.
"When I was named AK Steels chief executive officer in 2003, the company and our industry were, once again, in a state of major change," Wainscott said. "Plant closures, bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions were the industry norm. To say the least, it was a rather chaotic period in the steel business."
Despite the turmoil, West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel decided not to abandon its retirees but instead carry the legacy cost with it through the companys turnaround. "Our team was determined to find a way to fix AK Steel ... to rebuild one of Americas historic steel companies ... without forgetting about those who built it in the first place: our retirees," Wainscott said. "Unlike dozens of other steel companies at the time that had abandoned their retirees, we chose the tougher road, certainly the road less traveled. Some saw it as a huge gamble, while others thought it was a roll of the dice to bring our legacy costs with us on the road ahead. We simply viewed it as the right thing to do."
The Korf/Iverson Steel Vision Award is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the steel industry while promoting goodwill and integrity.
Wainscott joined AK Steel in 1995 and was named president and chief executive officer in 2003.