Global metals trading and industrial group, Liberty House, has appointed Mel Wilde, one of the international steel community’s most prominent figures, as its new business development director.
In the newly-created role, Mr Wilde will be responsible for identifying and securing both investment and sales opportunities for the fast-growing group, as well as helping to optimise output from its expanding network of metal production and processing plants. He will progress the integration of the business globally, from raw material self-sufficiency through to finished steel products.
The former chairman of the International Steel Trade Association (ISTA), who has more than 35 years’ experience in the sector, first made his reputation during a decade as managing director of Trans-World Steel, which he helped to build into one of the largest steel trading businesses in the world, with annual turnover in excess of US$3 billion.
He subsequently became managing director of bulk iron ore and steel trading business Metalloyd - eventually renamed RBRG following acquisition by the Reuben Brothers. He led the business for 12 years and helped to expand into general metals and ferrous-making raw materials, before the company was bought by the US-owned Gerald Group, where he became Senior Vice-President and global head of ferrous.
During his career he has been closely involved with all aspects of steel making, from fully-integrated steel mills to electric arc furnace mini-mills and has in-depth knowledge of all areas of the market including raw materials such as iron ore and coking coal, scrap metal and semi-finished steel such as pig iron, DRI and HBI.
Executive chairman of the Liberty House Group, Sanjeev Gupta said: “We are going through an unprecedented growth phase at present and someone with Mel’s unrivalled breadth of experience and impressive track record is exactly what we need to capitalise fully on the opportunities we have.”
Mr Wilde, who takes up his new role in January, said he was very excited by the prospect of taking a central role in Liberty’s high-profile drive for growth. He said: “I’ve known Sanjeev for a long time and very much admire what he is doing for the industry right now. He is one of very few visionaries in the field. Sometimes you need to go where others fear to tread but I believe his instinct is right and his mindset is perfect.”
Over the past year alone Liberty has acquired steel assets in Wales, Scotland, Kent and the West Midlands and recently reached agreement to purchase an aluminium smelter from Rio Tinto in the Scottish Highlands and Tata’s Speciality Steel Division located mainly in South Yorkshire.
The Group is also exploring steel and mining investment opportunities in the USA, Australia and Asia.
Liberty’s growth strategy is based largely on a business model of recycling domestic scrap using low-cost renewable energy sources and integrating metal production and processing with downstream engineering and manufacturing.