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Shotton Steel's 'Black Bob' dies ; FORMER CHAIRMAN CLOSED DOWN FACTORY AND SACKED 8,000 [Northeast Region] [Daily Post (Liverpool, England)]
[January 20, 2014]

Shotton Steel's 'Black Bob' dies ; FORMER CHAIRMAN CLOSED DOWN FACTORY AND SACKED 8,000 [Northeast Region] [Daily Post (Liverpool, England)]

(Daily Post (Liverpool, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE Chairman of the British Steel Corporation who closed Shotton Steel and sacked more than 8,000 workers has died.

Sir Robert Scholey, known as Black Bob, was the formidable chief executive and then chairman of British Steel for many years. He died last week aged 92.

A plain-speaking Yorkshireman Scholey returned the loss-making nationalised corporation to profitability and led it back to the private sector - but found himself forever cast as the man who closed the Shotton works (in 1980) and other plants.

Recalling his career Lord Barry Jones, former Labour MP for Alyn and Deeside, said: "He was a distinguished steelman and as hard as nails but unfortunately, he was no friend of Shotton Steel.

"" He ousted Shotton's friend, Flintshire's Stephen Gray, as MD Stripmills. From then on we were on the back foot. BSC top dogs wanted Shotton's blood. Black Bob, as he was known, targeted the jewel in the BSC crown.

"We suffered Europe's biggest overnight redundancy and we stared mass unemployment in the face - 8,000 overnight and many more to follow.

"Sir Bob was no friend of the finest steelworkers in the land. This savage Sheffield steelman slashed Shotton Steel's workforce needlessly." Bluntness was Scholey's stock-in-trade though this was coupled with a detailed knowledge of steelmaking acquired over 40 years in the industry.

British Steel employed 250,000 people when Scholey was appointed chief executive. By 1991 the figure had fallen to 52,000. But its financial position was transformed. Where once it had lost Pounds 1 billion a year, in 1989-90 profits were Pounds 733 million.

It had become the lowest-cost steel producer in Europe, as well as the most profitable -- even though, unlike its European competitors, it no longer received any state aid.

Scholey was appointed CBE in 1982 and knighted in 1987.

He married, in 1946, Joan Methley, whom he first met on a Sheffield tram. She survives him with their two daughters.

(c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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