This is the first edition of an interview series in which leading figures within Tata Steel offer their perspectives on the intended joint venture between the European steel activities of Tata Steel and thyssenkrupp.
What is your role in the joint venture (JV) process?
My focus in the joint venture process at the moment is on consultation with our employees. I am excited that across every part of the company, people are feeling more reassured about where we are going. It is a natural human reaction to worry about the possible negatives when you are confronted with change, but Tata Steel has been around for a century, precisely because we are willing and able to change.
How does the process work?
There is a carefully regulated formal process that we are moving through, which dictates the route to a definitive agreement. Within those formal constraints, we are sharing as much as we can, because we believe it is important to be open and transparent.
Still, I understand that everyone would like to get through this phase sooner rather than later, partly to get reassurances, but especially because it is in our nature to do practical things, rather than just talk about them. We like making things, delivering things. That is why it will become far more interesting if we are able to obtain regulatory approval and reach the closing stage.
What can you tell us about thyssenkrupp?
Until the JV is completed, we remain competitors. The information sharing in the due diligence phase, which is now almost finalized is conducted under strict rules. If we are able to obtain the regulatory approval I expect that after the closing there will be a lot of excitement learning what the other has been working on and how. And it will be great to demonstrate and share our own expertise. The diversity of ideas and people we employ will extend further, and will continue to be a competitive advantage – I believe we are headed for a bright future.