Strong as Steel

As the world’s twelfth-largest steel producer, the United States Steel Corporation exemplifies the powerful impact a strong ethics program can make on industry growth

There is a reason why Superman’s nickname is “man of steel,” and for North America’s largest integrated steelmaker, the company’s role in the industry is as strong as its product. United States Steel Corporation produces more than twenty-four million net tons of raw steel per year in its mills throughout the Midwest United States, Ontario, Canada, and Slovakia. The multibillion-dollar company creates a range of flat-rolled and tubular steel products used in automotive, appliance, construction, oil and gas, and petrochemical industries. Steel builds a strong American economy, according to US Steel’s Suzanne Rich Folsom, whose part of the leadership team is shaping the company for even more growth.

Steel, made up of iron and carbon alloys, is a mountain in the American business landscape. From railroads to barge operations to real estate, it’s US Steel that mines the iron ore and procures coke, providing the primary raw materials used in steelmaking. The Pittsburgh-based Fortune 200 company’s extensive scope lends itself as a powerful supporter of the country’s economy, and Folsom secures its positive influence as the general counsel, chief compliance officer, and senior vice president of government affairs. Since Folsom joined US Steel in February 2014, the company stock has gone up 117 percent and produced about $1 billion in annual savings.

The turnaround hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Legal Intelligencer named US Steel as one of Pennsylvania’s best in-house legal departments. “They have proved, and this award confirms, that our in-house counsel are full and equal participants in the historic transformation of global business in which we are engaged,” president and chief executive officer Mario Longhi says in the press release. The oldest law journal in the United States honored the company as a general excellence winner, recognizing the legal department’s achievements in corporate compliance, outside counsel management, and in-house legal work.

Longhi has also described the legal team, led by Folsom, as an indispensible part of the company’s evolution. “We are fortunate to have Suzanne as part of our executive team as her leadership has been instrumental in our company’s ongoing transformation,” Longhi says, according to a press release about another honor Folsom received at the Legal Momentum’s 2015 Aiming High Awards in New York.

In the last year, US Steel proved that an increased commitment to good governance—including regulatory issues, compliance, labor relations, corporate security, real estate, etc.—produces beneficial results. US Steel was in the middle of restructuring when Folsom arrived, and as a member of the leadership team, she effectively promotes her mission for the highest ethical standards. As a general counsel, Folsom is a part of US Steel’s global leadership expertise, which is elevating US Steel to even greater heights.

Recently, the leadership team’s results have been celebrated across the board. The Association for Iron & Steel Technology named US Steel’s CEO “Steelmaker of the Year” at the 2015 Iron & Steel Technology Conference and Exposition in Cleveland. “We represent not just the steel industry but (also) the resilience of our people and our economies to thrive,” Longhi says, according to coverage of the celebration in The Times of Northwest Indiana.

The steel association praised the CEO for his restoration of US Steel’s position as an icon of the global steel industry. His team’s efforts streamlined the company’s operations despite declining steel prices in a turbulent year for the industry. “I have no doubt that what we do is critical to the future of a successful economy,” he adds. “What you do every day means something to the lives of others, and is the measure of a good life, a life that matters.”