We are a cyclical business... Basically when you are at the peak of the cycle—times are good, interest rates are low, people are building—our margins increase. When we go to the trough, of course, the margins are squeezed. But over the last 25 years Nucor has never had a losing quarter. Not only a losing quarter, we have never had a losing month or a losing
week. —John D. Correnti, President and CEO, Nucor In 1998, Nucor was a Fortune 500 company with 6,900 employees and had sales of $4.3 billion in steel and steel-related products. Its chairman, F. Kenneth Iverson, had headed the company for more than 30 years. During his tenure, the steel industry faced a number of problems, including foreign competition, strained labor relations, and slowed demand for steel (related in part to the substitution of alternative materials). Despite these industry challenges, Nucor’s sales during Iverson’s tenure grew at an annual compound rate of about 17 percent per annum. Selected comparative financial data are shown in Exhibit 1. In different years, both Iverson and Nucor CEO John Correnti were named Steelmaker of the Year by New Steel magazine.
Nucor traced its origins to auto manufacturer Ransom E. Olds, who founded Oldsmobile and, later, Reo Motor Cars. Through a series of transactions, the company Olds founded eventually became the Nuclear Corporation of America, a company involved in the nuclear instrument and electronics business in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. The firm suffered several money-losing years, and in 1965, facing bankruptcy, installed 39-year-old Ken Iverson as president.
Richard Franklin, “An Interview with John D. Correnti, President and CEO, Nucor Corporation,” The Wall Street Corporate Reporter, September 9-15, 1996, pp. 19-20.
This case was prepared by Vijay Govindarajan of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. The cooperation and help provided by F. Kenneth Iverson, Chairman, Nucor Corporation in