WINNER: JON BOLTON
THE steel executive who helped win the fight to save Teesside’s steel-making industry has been given a special award.
Former Teesside Cast Products managing director Jon Bolton, who battled the threat to the Redcar plant and its 1,700-strong workforce when it faced collapse two years ago, was given the first Outstanding Contribution Award at the North East Business Executive of the Year.
Bolton had led negotiations to win back the plant’s main customers after they walked away from a supply deal and to win new orders.
He won the support of unions, MPs and workers in his bid to keep alive Teesside’s 150-year steel-making history. Despite the mothballing of the blast furnace with the loss of 800 jobs last year, his work eventually paid off after he helped negotiate with potential buyers, including Thai firm SSI, which bought the plant for £300m this year and is recruiting the 1,000 staff needed to work in the plant.”
North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham paid tribute to Bolton at the awards.
“The recipient of this award tonight deserves the highest praise and I am honoured to be presenting the award to him this evening,” he said. “No one worked harder, or had a greater influence on saving steel making on Teesside. He worked tirelessly to see Teesside Cast Products sold by Tata Steel, to SSI, rather than allowing it to be lost to the region.
“He has given his professional life to the success of steel-making in the North East, has never lost faith in the potential to retain steel-making on Teesside, and has fought continuously over the last few years, even when others had given up.”
Bolton, who now heads Corus Long Products division in Scunthorpe, was just one of the winners at the awards.
In 1984 he began his career with British Steel on Teesside as a student apprentice and went on to hold various roles in Corus. In 1995, he moved to Alabama in the USA to work for Trico Steel and returned to the UK in 1999 as managing director of Corus Engineering Steels. He then took the helm as managing director of Corus Rail based in Paris then York, before returning to Teesside in 2005 as managing director of Teesside Cast Products.