If you know Australia’s Rugby League teams, then you know it takes a special group of people to support the Cronulla Sharks. Cronulla is a suburb on the southern beaches of Sydney, and folk who hail from there are said to be from “the Shire”. It is not common for Sharks fans to hail from outside the Shire.
But it seems like one Cronulla Sharks fan will have to learn to move his allegiance to the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s because Richard Lyons is making the big move from Australia to the steel town.
Richard has been promoted to a global marketing and sales role in Koppers. Richard is replacing Markus Spiess, who left the company just a few weeks ago. Richard will move into Koppers head office in Pittsburgh in the coming weeks.
Richard has big challenges ahead of him. The closure of smelters in the USA means that there is a smaller coal tar pitch market there, while Koppers’ China plants are also under cost and price pressure. To add to China’s woes, the steel and tar industries are under pressure from the Chinese government for both over-capacity and environmental reasons. Meantime, Europe is also under pressure from competition, tar costs and shrinking markets.
But Richard seems to have the right frame of mind as he arranges the big move. When I spoke to him at TMS last week, Richard made it clear that the companies who survive and thrive in tough times are the ones who adjust their business model while keeping the customer as number one focus.
We at AZ China wish Richard all the best in the new role. By the way Richard, The Pittsburgh Steelers were the same colours as the Wests Tigers in the ARL. I don’t even know if there’s an NFL team that wears sky blue colours.