I read with interest at the weekend in an anonymously sourced newspaper report that Kirby Adams has decided to resign as chief executive of Corus following a “series of rows” over the closure of our plant on Teesside and that his future had “first been discussed at a meeting in Mumbai two months ago”. The anonymous source has got this totally wrong, and it would be unjust to allow such false rumours to go uncorrected. For this reason, here are the facts:
Mr Adams was hired to help bring Corus back into profitability at a time when the company was losing very large sums of money on a monthly basis. Mr Adams achieved this goal. We are extremely grateful to him for this.
Mr Adams has taken his decision for personal reasons. It was his decision and no one else’s, and had nothing whatsoever to do with Teesside. He intends to return to Australia where he previously lived and, whilst we are sorry that he has taken this decision, we wish him well in the future.
The decision to mothball our plant at Teesside was not taken by Mr Adams but by the Board of Tata Steel Europe, after an international consortium reneged on its 10-year contract to buy steel made at the site. Whilst it may suit some people to overlook the role of the Teesside offtake consortium in forcing this decision upon the company and to suggest that Mr Adams was hired to close Teesside Cast Products, it is clear that had the consortium lived up to their promise the plant would still be open today.
Mr Adams was indeed accused of being “disrespectful” for allegedly refusing to attend a House of Commons inquiry into the mothballing decision. However, this criticism from the Committee Chairman overlooks the fact that the Committee did not extend a formal invitation to Mr Adams to appear before it until after its two hearings were held. When the invitation did arrive it was at very short notice and, in recognition of this, the Committee agreed that Mr Adams should answer written questions instead of appearing in person. Had a timely invitation been received, he would undoubtedly have been happy to attend.
So, whilst the anonymous source has fuelled a story that suggests dissatisfaction with Mr Adams and a forced resignation, the truth is clear: the source has got the facts completely wrong. Mr Adams will be missed by his colleagues. His contribution was immense. We are disappointed with his decision to resign but appreciate his achievement in having turned the company around.