* COO Pyatt to take over as CEO on August 1
* Neil sees lead demand stronger over long term
* Doe Run still studying costs of new, cleaner
(Releads, adds background, CEO quotes from interview)
By Carole Vaporean
NEW YORK, June 15 Doe Run Company President and
Chief Executive Bruce Neil will retire as of July 31 and will be
replaced by Jerry Pyatt, vice president and chief operating
officer, the privately held U.S. lead producer said on Friday.
Pyatt will take over as president and CEO on August 1, the
company said in a statement.
Neil told Reuters in an interview that he sees long-term
demand for lead remaining strong as the infrastructure of
developing countries keeps growing.
"I think our business is pretty good; the metal demand (for
lead) is strong and we expect it to get stronger over the long
term," said Neil. He cited the its use in lead-acid batteries
for cars, for uninterrupted power in back-up communications
systems, and in battery-powered energy storage systems, as with
solar power units.
"In the developing world, particularly Asia, India,
Indonesia, you're going to see more infrastructure development,
and all metals are used at a higher rate in circumstances like
that, including lead," the executive added.
Doe Run produces about 130,000 short tons of lead metal and
lead products per year at its primary lead smelter in
Neil said the facility has been running normally since it
resumed output in early May after a fire in March.
The St. Louis-based company has also been working on
commercializing a new technology that nearly eliminates air lead
emissions and sulfur dioxide emissions and uses less energy.
Appointed COO in 2001, Pyatt has been actively involved in
the research and development of the proprietary lead processing
technology, which is expected to replace traditional,
high-temperature lead smelting.
"That's something we've been working on for quite a few
years, but more diligently for the last five years. We think
it's going to be the technology of the future and will take the
place of lead smelting," Neil told Reuters.
He said Doe Run still has not decided whether to adopt the
new technology and continues to study its costs and benefits.
"In addition to the new hydrometallurgical process," Pyatt
said in the statement, "we have exploration, research and
technology projects underway that will keep Doe Run as a leading
provider of minerals, metals and specialty services well into
As the largest integrated lead producer in the Western
Hemisphere, Doe Run's operations include six mines, four mills,
a primary lead smelter, a secondary smelter and two lead
fabrication sites. It recycles nearly 14 million lead-acid
Aaron Miller, vice president of environmental, health and
safety, will step into the role of vice president and chief
operating officer on August 1.
Neil said he will fully retire to spend more time with his
family and that Doe Run has been preparing for his retirement
for quite awhile.
(Reporting By Carole Vaporean; Editing by Bernard Orr and