Exclusive: Bimlendra Jha, CEO of Tata Steel UK, resigns

Exclusive: Bimlendra Jha, CEO of Tata Steel UK, resigns
February 12
16:56 2019

Tata Steel UK’s Chief Executive Officer Bimlendra Jha has put in his papers, at a time when the unit enters a crucial phase in its proposed joint venture with thyssenkrupp.

Jha, a Tata Steel lifer, was the chief executive of the European operations since 2016. He will be replaced by Ashish Anupam, who was Chief Executive Officer and President at NatSteel Holdings, the Singapore unit of Tata Steel.

The Indian company recently divested its stake in NatSteel, and other assets in South East Asia. It had signed an agreement with China’s HBIS Group for the same.

A Tata Steel spokesperson confirmed the development. “Yes, Jha has resigned and Ashish Anupam, presently with NatSteel Singapore, will step in to oversee some of the businesses,” he said.

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Jha, who is currently in London, recalled his stint at the steel major.

“Tata Steel is a great institution. In nearly three decades with the group, I have had much to learn and to give back to society,” he told Moneycontrol.

At the same time, he noted the challenges too.

“In UK, I am proud to see the steel industry stabilising and protecting tens of thousands of jobs under a distributed ownership. The situation of intensive care, however, persists as the global headwinds grow. We may be safe for now but not yet secure.”

“As I leave with fond memories and great friendships, I wish my colleagues and societal stakeholders the very best for the future,” added Jha, who joined Tata Steel has a graduate trainee in 1990, after completing his engineering from Banaras Hindu University.

In 2010, he was appointed Vice President, Long products, and later moved to the European operations. He was initially Executive Director, Group Strategy & Supply Chain, and was later appointed Executive Chairman, Long Steel, UK. In 2016, he was elevated to the post of CEO.

Jha said that he is returning to India, and has accepted a new role. “I’m constrained to speak about my next role. Suffice to say that it is not in a competing space,” he said.

While the exit of Jha, a seasoned professional rated highly by his peers, will not hamper the joint venture with thyssenkrupp, “Tata Steel will miss his experience, which was across segments and geographies,” said a senior executive from the industry.

The partnership has come under intense scrutiny of European Union’s antitrust regulators.

Reuters reported on Monday that the regulator could veto the proposed joint venture, unless the two partners agreed to offer concessions.

The joint venture will be called thyssenkrupp Tata Steel, and will have a combined capacity of 27.5 million tons a year.

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