Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal yesterday took the reins at Arcelor Mittal - replacing an Arcelor man at the top just four months after a £17.36 billion merger to form the combined group.
The world's largest steelmaker, still in the process of being established, also reported third-quarter
figures, showing pro-forma core profit slightly ahead of expectations, and confirmed its guidance for the full year.
Mittal Steel, which took over Luxembourg's Arcelor after a ferocious battle of words, had pledged to keep an Arcelor representative as chief executive following the merger of the two groups in a bid to calm political opposition to the deal.
Arcelor Mittal said in a statement that the board of directors had unanimously appointed Mr Mittal as the new chief to replace Roland Junck of Arcelor, who would remain a member of the group management board.
"We are making these changes to clarify the leader-ship of the company. It had become clear over the past months that the interests of the company were not best served by the previous structure," said Joseph Kinsch, chairman of the board, who had been a leading Arcelor figure resisting Mittal's advances.
The move, which will also add Mr Mittal to the group management board and take effect immediately, will be put to the group's shareholders for a vote in which the Mittal family will not participate.
The takeover battle for Arcelor by Mittal ended in late June and by the end of August Mittal Steel held 93.7 per cent of Arcelor's shares. The merger should be completed in April or May next year, Mr Kinsch said.
A London-based analyst, who declined to be named, said it was no great surprise.
"Pretty much everyone knew who the leader of the group was. It was always going to be the case," he said.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker took note of Mr Junck's resignation with "extreme regret".
Lakshmi Mittal had been a non-executive president of the group and was due to succeed Mr Kinsch as chairman when the latter retired.
Arcelor Mittal said EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) amounted to £2.28 billion, compared with the average forecast of £2.25 billion.
"The anticipated low seasonal volume was offset by a strong rise in steel prices. Looking ahead, we are on track to deliver guidance for the full year," chief financial officer Aditya Mittal said.
Third-quarter sales amounted to £11.63 billion.
Arcelor Mittal said: "Due to planned production cut-backs in European and American operations, the company expects fourth quarter EBITDA to be below third quarter levels."