Manufacturing is key to UK survival

Craig McKay & David Gray MBE & Tony Pedder.
Craig McKay & David Gray MBE & Tony Pedder.
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Steel chief Tony Pedder takes over as Master of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire today, with the aim of encouraging UK leaders to place ever greater emphasis on manufacturing.

“I feel pretty passionate about manufacturing and I don’t think an economy of this size can survive meaningfully, providing jobs and opportunities, without a significant manufacturing presence,” Mr Pedder told The Star, before his installation.

“I really feel it is important that we are seeing manufacturing bounce back and I’m delighted that seems to be a common thread across the political parties.

“That’s my passion and that is what I shall be trying to encourage.”

Mr Pedder is the chairman of Sheffield Forgemasters International and is a past chief executive of steel giant Corus, which used to be British Steel and is now Tata Steel.

After growing up in Stanford, not far from Corby steelworks, Mr Pedder studied mathematics at London University, before gaining a masters degree in operational research and management studies.

He rose through the ranks at British Steel to head its supplies and transport business, before being sent to run its struggling stainless business in Sheffield – now owned by Outokumpu.

That appointment brought Mr Pedder to Sheffield and he and his wife, Jane, the new Mistress Cutler, have remained here.

“Sheffield has been great; I love being in Sheffield. It’s a very welcoming community,” says Mr Pedder, who went on to run British Steel’s giant general steels operations and the Dutch side of the business, following the firm’s merger with Hoogovens.

In 2001 he became chief executive of what was by then Corus.

Mr Pedder has held a number of key local roles, since leaving Corus, culminating in his installation as Master Cutler.

In addition to Forgemasters, he is chairman of advanced, eco-friendly metals refining company Metalysis, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the Council of Sheffield University, where he is pro chancellor; and a trustee of Sheffield Theatres.