Alcoa recently announced that its board of directors has elected John Thuestad to the post of executive vice president and group president of Global Primary Products, effective March 1, 2010. He succeeds Bernt Reitan, who will retire after nearly 40 years of working in the aluminum industry.
Thuestad will have overall responsibility for the strategic and operational management of Alcoa’s alumina refineries and primary aluminum smelters worldwide. He also will have overall accountability for Alcoa’s primary products growth projects, including the recently announced partnership with Ma’aden to develop a low-cost, fully integrated aluminum complex in Saudi Arabia. In addition, he will oversee Alcoa’s mining operations, metal purchasing and trading, and transportation areas. Thuestad will be a member of Alcoa’s executive council, the senior leadership group that sets strategic direction for the company.
Most recently, Thuestad served as chief operating officer for Global Primary Products, focusing primarily on reducing the cost of alumina and aluminum production. Alcoa’s global smelting capacity totals more than 4.8 million metric tons per year, and its global alumina capacity increased to more than 18 million metric tons per year with the 2009 completion of the Alumar alumina refinery expansion in Brazil.
“In his roles at Alcoa and his previous position as president and CEO of Elkem of Norway, John has proven himself to be an outstanding leader with deep knowledge of the primary aluminum business, and he has a successful track record of motivating people and achieving results under the most challenging circumstances,” said Alcoa President and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld.
Commenting on the retirement of Reitan, Kleinfeld said, “For almost 40 years, Bernt has dedicated himself to the aluminum business and has made huge contributions to the improvement of the industry. He has been a tremendous asset to Alcoa not only in the work that he has done within the company but also through the boards and industry associations with which he has partnered. I’m pleased that Bernt will assume the position of chairman’s counsel on March 1 until his retirement on August 1, so we can continue to benefit from his insights and experience.”
Reitan joined Alcoa in 2000 as general manager of Alcoa World Alumina Chemicals Europe, and six months later he was named president of Alcoa World Chemicals. He was elected an Alcoa vice president in 2001, when he assumed global accountability for Alcoa’s alumina business as president of Alcoa World Alumina Chemicals (AWAC). In January 2003, he was appointed president of Alcoa Primary Metals and, by the end of 2003, was named executive vice president and group president for Global Primary Products.
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