Tata Steel says Karl Koehler is to step down as a director of Tata Steel and as CEO and managing director of Tata Steel Europe to take up a senior leadership position with a large privately-owned industrial company in Germany.

He will remain available to Tata Steel for a short period in an advisory capacity.

Koushik Chatterjee, group executive director and member of the boards of Tata Steel and Tata Steel Europe, will be Tata Steel’s executive director for Europe in addition to his current responsibilities.

With effect from 1 March, Hans Fischer, currently CTO of Tata Steel Europe, will be appointed CEO and will join the board of Tata Steel Europe.

Fischer will be responsible for the operational and business performance of Tata Steel Europe. He will report to the board of Tata Steel Europe and will seek advice and guidance relating to the business from Chatterjee.

Fischer joined Tata Steel Europe as CTO in 2012. He worked for Hoogovens – now Tata Steel Netherlands – in various operational positions until joining the German steel and technology group Salzgitter in 2001 as technical managing director, becoming chairman of the management board of Salzgitter Flachstahl in 2004 and later, a member of the executive board of Salzgitter.

“The last six years have been a challenging journey of change for Tata Steel in Europe as it dealt with unprecedented market conditions,” said Koehler. “The company’s focus on customers has led to the strengthening of its product portfolio and stronger partnerships with customers which have started to deliver results.

“The focus on efficiency gains, meanwhile, has been key to creating a better foundation for the company. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play my role alongside many colleagues in achieving these changes.”