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Rio Tinto Alcan weighs reorganization

Keywords: Tags  Rio Tinto Alcan, reorganization, North America, Europe, Mario Trépanier, F. James Dickson, automotive, Frederic Campagna Cleveland

CHICAGO — Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. plans to reorganize parts of its European and American commercial business units as it aims to streamline and adjust to a smaller footprint in both regions, AMM has learnt.

The Montreal-based aluminum producer has separate divisions for North and South America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia and Australia.

The changes are expected to see a merging of commercial operations in the Americas and EMEA, sources familiar with the matter and a company spokeswoman said.

The move will also see some executive changes at the company.

"The biggest change is they will have America and Europe together," the spokeswoman said. "Some roles will have ... two poles, America and Europe."

Mario Trépanier, for example, will be the sales director for value-added products for America and Europe, effective Jan. 1, the spokeswoman told said Dec. 6. Trépanier previously served as Rio Tinto Alcan’s North American director of commercial, strategy, and casthouse optimization.

VAP includes products such as billet, foundry product, rod and sheet, but excludes remelt, sources said .

In addition, F. James Dickson will be in charge of automotive pricing and strategy for America and Europe, the spokeswoman confirmed. Dickson has been commercial director for North America.

The change comes as the company assesses promising opportunities for aluminum in light vehicles, sources said.

Meanwhile Frederic Campagna will be the new sales director for North America and will be based in Montreal.

Campagna, a director of metal management, commercial process and business improvement, had previously worked in rod sales in Rio Tinto Alcan’s Cleveland office, AMM has been told.

Despite Campagna’s location in Montreal, Rio Tinto Alcan will keep its offices in Cleveland, and customers will not be impacted by the change, the spokeswoman said.

Other staff, such as product managers for sheet or billet in either North America or EMEA, will take on responsibility for both regions, sources said.

But the spokeswoman said that Rio Tinto was still in the process of deciding on roles for other staff and that decisions might not be made for several weeks.

Market sources cautioned that the reorganization was still in its preliminary stages, noting that it was only recently discussed during a conference call and that Rio Tinto Alcan expects to hold a workshop in mid-December to fine-tune the changes.

Merging European and North American business units will eliminate "silos" and create "synergies," market sources said.

The moves come as Rio Tinto Alcan’s position in both the United States and Europe has grown smaller. The company, for example, sold its Sebree facility to Chicago-based Century Aluminum Co. (, June 3) and, in Europe, sold its facilities in France (, July 15).

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