When Maurice S. Nelson Jr. retired last year
from the chief executive officer's post at Earle M. Jorgensen
Co. after its $984-million sale to Reliance Steel &
Aluminum Co., most of his service center industry colleagues
expected him to spend time visiting France and perhaps joining
some corporate boards.
When he joined the Jorgensen organization in
1997 it was one of the industry's most venerable names, started
in the early 1920s by its namesake founder, but had lapsed into
a period of less-than-stellar performance following a 1990
leveraged buyout. Nelson, best known as "Sandy," spurred the
company's turnaround, finally accomplishing an initial public
offering in 2005.
But in January this year, Platinum Equity
LLC, the Beverly Hills, Calif., vehicle of private equity
entrepreneur Tom Gores, lured Nelson out of retirement to
become chief executive officer of its PNA Group.
PNA, the $1.6-billion-per-year-former U.S.
steel distribution unit of TUI AG of Germany that Gores
acquired in 2006, now includes Delta Steel Inc. and Metals
Supply Co., both in Houston; Infra-Metals Co., Atlanta; and
processor Feralloy Inc., Chicago. Its business is in large part
focused in the sweet spot of the steel market today plate,
structurals and other heavy carbon products.
When Nelson joined PNA, a number of outsiders
ventured that his experience in guiding Jorgensen though its
IPO likely played a large part in his hiring. A few months
later, they apparently were proven right when PNA registered
for a public offering of up to $175 million.