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  1. ITV Report

Stuart Wilkie: Tata Steel cuts ties with man who helped save Port Talbot steelworks

Self-confessed 'steel man' Stuart Wilkie has left his role at Port Talbot steelworks. Credit: ITV News

Popular, passionate and committed but Stuart Wilkie is not wanted in the leadership role that arguably saved Port Talbot.

The self-confessed "steel man", the Managing Director of Tata's Uk Strip Products Business, has been seen clearing his desk at the troubled South Wales works and sources have told ITV news that he won't be returning. It's thought he is looking for a new job.

Wilkie was key to devising the steelworks survival plan known as the Turnaround or "Bridge" which has been integral in ensuring job security for thousands of steel workers.

When Tata Steel threatened to shut down the business last year he took a paid leave of absence to throw his weight behind a management buyout bid at Excalibur Steel.

Tata Steel threatened to close the Port Talbot plant last year. Credit: PA

Tata were supportive then but having called off the sales process and sold a new plan to the workforce his services were deemed to be surplus to requirements.

Stuart Wilkie gave his first broadcast interview to ITV News at the height of Port Talbot's troubles he spoke of "hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk".

That has been avoided with economic circumstances such as rising steel prices and a falling pound, working in favour of the UK Steel industry but the threat is still real.

Stuart Wilkie declined to comment.

A spokesman for Tata Steel said:

Stuart Wilkie and two other senior managers were given a leave of absence by Tata Steel to develop a potential management buyout bid last year.

That leave of absence has now come to an end and all three have chosen to pursue opportunities outside Tata Steel.

We respect their decision and would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks for their collective service and wish them every success in their future careers.

Jon Ferriman, who has been covering the role of Director for our Strip Products UK hub on an interim basis, has now been appointed to this position on an ongoing basis.

– spokesman, Tata steel