Thomas Usher

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Thomas J. Usher (born September 11, 1942) [1] is an American business executive that has served as the president, chief operations officer and chief executive officer of U.S. Steel. He has also served as chairman of the board of directors of Marathon Oil, the International Iron and Steel Institute, and the US-Korea Business Council, as well as at U.S. Steel. [1]

Chief executive officer Highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator

The chief executive officer (CEO), or just chief executive (CE), is the most senior corporate, executive, or administrative officer in charge of managing an organization – especially an independent legal entity such as a company or nonprofit institution. CEOs lead a range of organizations, including public and private corporations, non-profit organizations and even some government organizations. The CEO of a corporation or company typically reports to the board of directors and is charged with maximizing the value of the entity, which may include maximizing the share price, market share, revenues or another element. In the non-profit and government sector, CEOs typically aim at achieving outcomes related to the organization's mission, such as reducing poverty, increasing literacy, etc.

U.S. Steel US steel-producing company

United States Steel Corporation, more commonly known as U.S. Steel, is an American integrated steel producer headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with production operations in the United States and Central Europe. As of 2016, the company was the world's 24th-largest steel producer and second-largest domestic producer, trailing only Nucor Corporation.

Marathon Oil United States-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company

Marathon Oil Corporation, usually simply referred to as Marathon Oil, is an American petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company headquartered in the Marathon Oil Tower in Houston, Texas. Marathon Oil is incorporated in Ohio.



Usher was born in Reading, Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering in 1965, a master of science degree in operations research in 1966, and a doctorate in systems engineering in 1971. [2] He joined United States Steel Corporation in 1965 and held various positions in industrial engineering spending much of his early career in the field. From 1975 through 1979 he held a number of management positions, including assistant to the general superintendent, at U. S. Steel's South Works in Chicago and Gary Works in Gary, Indiana. [3]

Reading, Pennsylvania City in Pennsylvania, United States

Reading is a city in and the county seat of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States. With a population of 87,575, it is the fifth-largest city in Pennsylvania. Located in the southeastern part of the state, it is the principal city of the Greater Reading Area, and is furthermore included in the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area.

University of Pittsburgh American state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The University of Pittsburgh is a state-related research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was founded as the Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 on the edge of the American frontier. It developed and was renamed as Western University of Pennsylvania by a change to its charter in 1819. After surviving two devastating fires and various relocations within the area, the school moved to its current location in the Oakland neighborhood of the city; it was renamed as the University of Pittsburgh in 1908. Pitt was a private institution until 1966 when it became part of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education.

Industrial engineering branch of engineering which deals with the optimization of complex processes or systems

Industrial engineering is an engineering profession that is concerned with the optimization of complex processes, systems, or organizations by developing, improving and implementing integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy and materials.

Usher moved back to Pittsburgh in 1979 as director of corporate strategic planning. [4] Two years later, he became assistant to the president and managing director of facility planning, engineering, and research. Usher became president of USS mining in 1983, senior vice president of steel operations in 1984, executive vice president of heavy products in 1986. [5]

Pittsburgh City in western Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States, and is the county seat of Allegheny County. A population of about 301,048 residents live within the city limits, making it the 66th-largest city in the U.S. The metropolitan population of 2,324,743 is the largest in both the Ohio Valley and Appalachia, the second-largest in Pennsylvania, and the 27th-largest in the U.S.

Early in his career, Usher spent ten years teaching courses part-time at the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business as well as undergraduate and graduate classes in industrial engineering at the university's Swanson School of Engineering. [3]

Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business business school of the University of Pittsburgh

The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is the graduate business school of the University of Pittsburgh located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Although business education had its origins at the university in 1907, the Graduate School of Business was established in 1960 from a merger of its predecessors, the School of Business Administration and the Graduate School of Retailing. It was renamed in 1987 after businessman and university alumnus benefactor Joseph Katz. The school offers a traditional, accelerated, part-time, and executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees as well as Master of Science in Accounting (MAcc) and several PhD programs in business.

The Swanson School of Engineering is the engineering school of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1846, The Swanson School of Engineering is the second or third oldest in the United States.

In 1990, Usher was elected president of U.S. Steel Group and director of USX, which had changed its name from U.S. Steel in 1986, and president and chief operating officer of USX in 1994. [6] He became chairman of the board and chief executive officer effective in 1995, which provided him oversight of USX's oil and energy businesses.

Usher has been credited with turning around and leading U.S. Steel through a difficult period in the steel industry. [7] His success in leading U.S. Steel during this period has in part been credited to his initiation of significant changes, including the separation of Marathon Oil and U.S. Steel at the end of 2001, a move designed to allow both companies to focus on their core businesses. His success has also been credited to his expansion of U.S. Steel by leading it to purchase operations in Slovakia and Serbia, which took the previously domestic U.S. Steel international, as well as consolidating the industry through acquisitions and integrations, such as that of National Steel Corporation. By the end of his tenure as CEO, U.S. Steel had more than doubled in size. [8] Usher's tenure at U.S. Steel was also noted for his positive relations with the labor unions. [9] [10] He also led the charge to impose the 2002 United States steel tariff in order to protect domestic U.S. steel production, [11] [12] including testifying before the U.S. government's U.S.-China Economics and Security Review Commission. [13]

Slovakia Republic in Central Europe

Slovakia, officially the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the west, and the Czech Republic to the northwest. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi) and is mostly mountainous. The population is over 5.4 million and consists mostly of Slovaks. The capital and largest city is Bratislava, and the second-largest city is Košice. The official language is Slovak.

Serbia Republic in Southeastern Europe

Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia, is a country situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe in the southern Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. It borders Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the southeast, North Macedonia to the south, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Montenegro to the southwest. The country claims a border with Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia's population numbers approximately seven million. Its capital, Belgrade, ranks among the longest inhabited and largest citiеs in southeastern Europe.

National Steel Corporation

The National Steel Corporation (1929–2003) was a major American steel producer. It was founded in 1929 through a merger arranged by Weirton Steel with some properties of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation and M.A. Hanna Company with headquarters in Pittsburgh. Despite a difficult market in Depression-setting 1930, the company reported USD 8.4 million in profits. Again, in 1931 the company was profitable unlike many other competitors. The company could attribute its success primarily to sales to the automobile industry. Large steel producing operations were located near Detroit, providing the company with low shipping costs. Throughout the Great Depression, National Steel obtained profitability every year.

Usher retired from U.S. Steel, which had changed its name back from USX, as chief executive officer in September 2004 and as non-executive chairman of the board on February 1, 2006. [14]

Usher served or serves on the boards of directors of Transtar, Inc., H. J. Heinz Company, PNC Financial Services, and PPG Industries, as well as U.S. Steel and Marathon Oil where he served as chair. He has served as chairman of the board of the American Iron and Steel Institute, the International Iron and Steel Institute, and the US-Korea Business Council. He has also been a board member of the American Petroleum Institute, is a member of the board of trustees of the University of Pittsburgh, and has sat or sits on the board of directors of the US-Japan Business Council, the Extra Mile Education Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America.


Usher was awarded the University of Pittsburgh's School of Engineering's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1986 and was named one of the 100 "Pittsburghers of the Century" in 1999 by Pittsburgh Magazine . [15] He was named a University of Pittsburgh Distinguished Alumni Fellow in 1999 and a Legacy Laureate in 2000. In 2002, he received the Steelmaker of the Year Award from the Iron & Steel Society, and in 2003, he accepted the United States Secretary of State’s Award for Excellence for U.S. Steel from Colin Powell. [16] In 2004, he won the Vectors Pittsburgh Man of the Year. [17] Usher was the commencement speaker and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by Saint Vincent College. [18] He was also the honoree at the 2007 Southpointe CEO Association World Class Executive Series. [8]

Personal life

Usher has philanthropically supported the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering's Industrial Engineering Learning Center and, among other programs, has created the endowed position of U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at the university, and have established the Sandra and Thomas Usher Endowed Chair in Melanoma at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. [16] He is married to his wife, Sandra, a fellow Pitt alumnus, and has three children. [1]

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