Steel Mills

New CEO and Board Members for Big River Steel

Written by Sandy Williams

Big River Steel announced a series of leadership appointments today following the unexpected death earlier this week of CEO John Correnti.

Dan Murray, a member of the board, was appointed as chairman of the board of directors. Jim Bell, construction manager at Big River Steel, was elected to the board of directors.  

Dave Stickler, currently on the board and chief administrative officer, was named chief executive officer.

Jim Bell joined Big River Steel shortly after its formation in 2014.  He is the construction manager for Big River Steel, overseeing all aspects of construction for the company’s new Flex Mill™. Jim began his career in the steel industry over 27 years ago at the Nucor-Yamato steel plant. In 1992, he left Nucor-Yamato to pursue a career in construction with Schueck Steel. While with Schueck he served as plant maintenance manager for overseeing Schueck’s contract to provide plant-wide maintenance at Nucor’s Berkeley facility.  In 2002, Jim joined Stevens Painton as a senior project manager responsible for plant upgrades at the ISG plant in Cleveland, Ohio. Four years later, he was recruited to manage the construction activities for SeverCorr (later Severstal Columbus and now owned by Steel Dynamics). In 2012, Severstal promoted Jim to manager of construction and engineering, where he oversaw all of the mill’s capital projects and the facility’s engineering.  

David Stickler’s career in the metals and mining industry includes structuring and raising growth and expansion capital for steel companies throughout the world.  Over the past fifteen years, Dave worked side-by-side with John Correnti as they structured and raised billions of dollars of capital that was invested in greenfield steel and metal projects.  These projects created thousands of high-paying jobs while also helping establish new standards for environmental sustainability. Dave earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a degree in accounting from Bowling Green State University.  

Stickler commented on his friend and colleague’s passing and the future of Big River Steel.

“John’s death came as a shock to the entire Big River Steel family,” he said. “Our investors and board of directors moved rapidly to make these appointments so that we can continue the momentum in pushing forward John’s legacy of building a growth-focused company.  Given the outstanding team of managers and operators John assembled, Big River Steel is well-positioned to not only complete the construction and start-up of our facility in Arkansas as scheduled, but to also pursue additional steel industry expansion opportunities as they arise.”

The $1.3 billion Big River Steel will be a Flex Mill™ focused on producing the most challenging flat-rolled steels, including lightweight advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) used in the automotive industry, complex electrical steels used in the generation and transmission of electrical energy, and wide and thick steels used in arctic drilling and rail car manufacturing.  When fully operational, Big River Steel’s facility in northeast Arkansas will recycle more than 1.8 million tons of scrap metal and produce over 1.6 million tons of flat-rolled steel per year.

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