Surma will succeed Thomas J. Usher, who will retire as chairman and a director at the end of January. Usher will continue as chairman of U.S. Steel's former corporate sibling,
Surma, 51, joined U.S. Steel in January 2002 as vice chairman and chief financial officer following the company's spinoff from USX. He was elected president in March 2003, president and chief operating officer in June of the same year, and president and chief executive in October 2004.
"U.S. Steel could not be in better hands," Usher said. "Our board of directors has a profound respect for his intelligence, integrity, and leadership ability. He has a dynamic vision for the future of our company and our industry, and the board has decided that the transition has gone smoothly and the time is right for John to assume the additional role as chairman."
Usher, 63, joined U.S. Steel in 1965. He was elected president of U.S. Steel and to the USX board of directors in 1991, named president and chief operating officer of USX in 1994, and elected chairman and chief executive officer of USX in 1995. From 1986 to the end of 2001, USX was the parent company of U.S. Steel and Marathon Oil.
Usher was the architect of the separation of Marathon Oil and U.S. Steel at the end of 2001, a move designed to allow the two companies to focus on their core businesses and to make the critical acquisitions and investments necessary to grow each business. He was also responsible for the purchase of operations in Slovakia and Serbia, which made U.S. Steel the only domestic-based steelmaker with international steelmaking operations. In 2003, Usher led the successful acquisition and integration of National Steel's steelmaking assets, which increased U.S. Steel's domestic annual raw steel production capability by 50%. These acquisitions more than doubled the size of the company during Usher's tenure.
On Tuesday, U.S. Steel rose $2.65 to $45.14.