A FORMER Corus boss involved in talks to find a buyer for Teesside Cast Products has returned to lead the site under new owners SSI.
Phil Dryden was responsible for the plant in his former role as director of Corus’ long products division.
He was a key negotiator in attempts to find a new owner for TCP, which was mothballed last year after a customer pulled the plug on a 10-year deal.
But last March he left Corus in a move which dismayed unions and MPs campaigning to save the plant.
Now he has returned to TCP as President of SSI UK - part of the Thai steel giant which announced last month it was buying TCP in a multi-million pound deal.
Mr Dryden said the skills and commitment of the Teesside workforce had been influential in his decision.
He said: “If you started with a blank piece of paper and said, ‘where do I build a steel plant’, you would pick Teesside.
“It has got history, tradition and a great workforce.
“I know SSI from my previous time with Corus. When I look back at my time at the company it probably provided some of the highlights of my career.”
Geoff Waterfield, multi-union works committee chairman, today welcomed Mr Dryden’s appointment.
He said: “We know Phil and he knows us, and he also knows Teesside.
“He works extremely hard, works well with the trade unions and he understands the journey we’ve been on in the last two years.
“It’s a good appointment for Teesside.”
A chemical engineer by training, Mr Dryden previously worked in the chemical and electronic component industries, spending the early part of his career at BP and Exxon in the UK, USA and Middle East.
He joined Corus in April 2004 as managing director of the company’s UK strip products division before joining the company’s long products operation.
After his departure last year, he went on to work in the private equity sector before taking up his current role.
His predecessor David Reid, who was appointed SSI UK interim director in September, will remain a board director of the company while returning to his previous role as managing partner of Metals Strategies.