Braidy Industries, an aluminum company planning to build a $1.7 billion plant in northeastern Kentucky, has hired a veteran metals industry executive as its CEO and president as it attempts to complete financing for the mill project.
Don Foster, who will serve as the company’s new top executive, brings more than 40 years of experience to his new role, the company said Tuesday.
“The business case for this project is strong, and I’m honored to be a part of it,” Foster said. “Braidy’s state-of-the-art mill is being engineered with proven, world class technology and our team of motivated aluminum experts are going to get it built. It is essential to the North American automotive industry supply chain and vital to the economy of eastern Kentucky.”
Braidy underwent a management upheaval this year when company founder Craig Bouchard was removed as CEO. The company took issue with financing for the project and about his performance overall. Bouchard sued the company, but the two sides reached a settlement recently that severed his ties with Braidy after a $6 million payout.
Foster's long career included serving as an officer at United States Steel Corp. He managed $1.2 billion in international revenue, doing business in 40 countries, as president of United States Steel International. He will continue to serve as CEO of BridgeConsulting LLC.
“Braidy Industries is the future of aluminum, and there is no one better to lead the team than an experienced professional like Don Foster,” said Braidy Industries Chairman Charles Price. “Don has more than 40 years in the industry and is a proven, successful metals executive with a history of profitable business development and large project experience.”
Braidy says its planned mill in northeastern Kentucky is projected to create more than 1,000 constructions jobs, 550 full-time mill jobs and thousands of indirect jobs in the region. The company said recently it was closer "than ever before" to finalizing financing for the planned mill.
Kentucky taxpayers have a direct stake in Braidy's plans to build the aluminum rolling mill after state lawmakers approved a $15 million state investment in the project three years ago.
On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said they were going to be watching the progress of the “state investment” carefully.
“Our state is either going to have a finished aluminum mill that creates the jobs that are being promised, and that’s the outcome that we would all prefer, or we’re going to get our money back. Now, I’m going to make sure that one of those two things happens.”