Steel: The Maverick Steps Out

Bristling at his reputation as a steel-industry maverick, Joseph L. Block recently protested that "we just do what everybody else does, but we try to do it better." When Block, 65, steps down this week as chairman of Inland Steel Co., most people will admit that he has done pretty well. The nation's seventh biggest steelmaker, Inland has consistently outperformed its larger rivals in such key areas as return on invested capital, and proved itself equal to withstanding economic recessions.

As the only major steel producer based in Chicago, Inland has long capitalized on the lucrative Midwest steel market. With all...

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