Changes at the top for Tata Steel in Europe

Tata Steel's CEO European Operations Karl Koehler who is to leave after several years in the post: PA/PA Wire
Tata Steel's CEO European Operations Karl Koehler who is to leave after several years in the post: PA/PA Wire

A senior executive of steel giant Tata is to leave after several years in the post.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel Europe, will remain available as an adviser for a short period.

Hans Fischer

Hans Fischer

He will be replaced by Hans Fischer, currently chief technical officer of the European side of the company.

Mr Koehler recently joined thousands of steelworkers, including hundreds from Tata plants in the UK, in a demonstration in Brussels calling on the European Commission to take action against the dumping of cheap Chinese steel.

The cheap imports have been blamed for thousands of job losses in the industry in recent months.

Mr Koehler said: "The last six years have been a challenging journey of change for Tata Steel in Europe as it dealt with unprecedented market conditions. The company's focus on customers has led to the strengthening of its product portfolio and stronger partnerships with customers which have started to deliver results.

Tata Steel's site in Brenda Road in Hartlepool

Tata Steel's site in Brenda Road in Hartlepool

"The focus on efficiency gains, meanwhile, has been key to creating a better foundation for the company."

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the steelworkers' union Community, said: "This change in leadership comes at an extremely difficult time for the UK steel industry so it's important that the new team re-affirm the focus on creating a sustainable future for steel-making in the UK.

"It is a concern that Tata Steel Europe's chief executive will no longer have a seat on the Tata Steel board in India and we will be seeking further clarification on this decision.

"The UK Government must continue to work closely with Tata Steel so that ministers' publicly stated commitments to retaining blast furnace steel production in the UK are realised."

Just last month, Tata Steel confirmed it was slicing 1,050 jobs off its UK operation.

That included its Brenda Road site in Hartlepool which will shed 62 posts out of a town workforce of 500 steelworkers