JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The CEO of Big River Steel was found dead in Chicago Tuesday morning.
According to Talk Business & Politics, 68-year-old John Correnti of Blytheville was on a business trip when he died.
Correnti was in charge of the $1.3 billion steel mill project being built near Osceola.
Correnti had more than 40 years of experience in the steel industry, including work in both operations and management.
His career began in 1969 with U.S. Steel, where he served in construction management activities until 1980.
He served as the president of Nucor Corp. in Arkansas from 1991 to 1999 and CEO from 1996 to 1999.
Big River Steel is set to open in July 2016.
The Arkansas Legislature approved a $125 million bond issue in 2013 for the project.
The construction project is expected to employ 2,000 workers through the building phase.
The mill will create 525 job opportunities in Mississippi County.
Big River Steel issued a statement early Wednesday morning stating in part:
John had a long and highly successful career in the steel industry. As the driving force behind numerous greenfield steel mill projects, John's efforts led to the creation of thousands of high-paying jobs, an accomplishment that gave him great pride.
John was recognized as an early adapter of new steelmaking technologies. Over the course of his career, John worked with a number of leading technology companies, including SMS Siemag, to continually improve the efficiency of steelmaking.
Most recently, John and a group of strategic and financial investors founded Big River Steel to once again propel the industry forward. Big River Steel will be one of many legacies John leaves with us all. John was a visionary, an innovator and a leader who dedicated his career to improving the steel industry and creating opportunities for those that worked within it.
The statement ended noting Big River Steel will continue to be managed by its operating committee.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also issued a the following statement Wednesday:
"I am saddened to learn of the death of John Correnti. He has been called a "steel man's steel man," and indeed his name was synonymous with the steel industry. I know that the team he put in place in Osceola will assure the success of Big River Steel, which will be one of John's lasting legacies. We are grateful for his commitment to Arkansas and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his extended family at Big River Steel."
Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.