A message from Aditya Mittal, CEO
It is with great pride that I write to you today for the first time as chief executive of ArcelorMittal.
I have been working for ArcelorMittal and its forerunners for approaching 25 years – much of my adult life. Before that, I was growing up in a steel household as Mr Mittal took the early steps from 1976 to building what became ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel company.
And it is with Mr Mittal that I start today. Without his lifetime commitment to steel and to building what became ArcelorMittal, none of us would be here today. I have learnt many lessons of life and of steel from Mr Mittal and I am grateful that I and the company will still be able to rely on his support in the years ahead. He is an inspiration to us all.
I have been intimately involved in the leadership of the company for many years now. So, it would be right to assume that my becoming chief executive is very much an evolutionary development that heralds continuity rather than change.
But while my taking over as Chief Executive may feel like a natural and I hope seamless evolution, you cannot say the same for the external environment the company is facing. Covid has caused enormous disruption – but it has also taught us all a lot. It flattened our organisation, made us very agile, very united, and even more passionate. You know how well we responded, first and foremost in protecting our people, then our assets and then in transforming our business all at the same time. Those are the attributes I want to carry with us into the future.
I want especially to stress ‘protecting our people’. Our colleagues around the world are the foundation of our success. Ensuring their safety has to be our highest priority at all times.
The legacy of 2020 is that the pandemic is reshaping steel’s relationship with society, not only how we consume steel products, but even more importantly how we produce steel products. The importance of sustainability and climate change is now growing exponentially and no longer incrementally.
I think we all know this will be the defining issue of the next many years – how do we successfully transition, as businesses and societies, to a low carbon environment. There are still many more questions than answers. But what I do know is that ArcelorMittal must play a leadership role in grappling with these issues, helping find solutions. Many in society would consider steel to be part of the problem. It is critical that we prove them otherwise, that steel is a critical element in helping society decarbonize, and that ArcelorMittal is indeed ‘the steel company of the future’.
You will have seen from the company’s results that we are in good health. We have a stronger balance sheet, having paid down a lot of debt. The pricing environment is more supportive than for a long time. We have reshaped our portfolio of assets so that we have a stronger growth footprint. We have uncovered more efficient working practices through Covid which underpin our competitive position.
From this strong base, we are well placed to undertake the hard work that will be involved in ensuring ArcelorMittal transitions successfully to a low carbon future. It is a great challenge, but also a great opportunity. I very much look forward to drawing on the creativity and commitment of our employees in ensuring we accept the responsibility of leadership in this key area.
We all passionately love the steel industry and ArcelorMittal, which I believe has come to define the steel industry on a global basis. We have all persevered despite the numerous and often dramatic challenges that we have faced in our history and come out even stronger. We could do this because our employees are the most diverse, most talented, most committed group of people in the steel industry, second to none. These are the strengths that bode well for a very bright future for all of us and ArcelorMittal.