AK Steel Forges Settlement With Ex-President

March 11, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - AK Steel Corp has reached a settlement with the company's former president who sought $11.1 million in benefits.

Disclosed in the Middletown, Ohio-based company’s annual US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, the company said an amount was paid to John Hritz that was less than he originally sought. The actual amount remains confidential, according to an Associated Press report.

The original executive compensation brouhaha began after Hritz left his post in September. At the time, AK Steel handled Hritz’s departure like a resignation, resulting in a smaller benefits payout, while Hritz contends he stepped down after t he board of directors warned him he would be fired if he did not leave as part of a management restructuring. Thus, Hritz said, his exit was actually an “involuntary termination without case” and he should be eligible for his full severance and retirement benefits.

AK Steel originally paid a portion of the severance – $250,000 – but refused to pay more until the company evaluated its obligations in light of its overall financial challenges. Hritz filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Cincinnati attempting to recoup his alleged losses. The lawsuit was dismissed March 2 after both sides said they had settled the dispute.