Leaders of United States Steel Corp. were riding a wave of possibilities with the election of President Donald Trump, looking to capitalize on what general counsel Suzanne Rich Folsom has said was one of the best times for the U.S. steel industry to fight for the importance of the industry to the country.
After several trips to the White House this year and almost four years in the job, Folsom will be giving up that fight—at least for US Steel.
Folsom will leave her post as general counsel of US Steel at the end of the year, the Pittsburgh-based company announced Tuesday afternoon.
No reason was given for her departure, and a U.S. Steel spokesperson declined to comment.
Deputy general counsel Richard Fruehauf will assume Folsom’s day-to-day responsibilities for legal operations “to allow Folsom to focus on strategic and transitional matters while the company undertakes a comprehensive search for a permanent replacement,” according to a press release issued Tuesday.
Folsom, who did not immediately respond to request for comment, joined U.S. Steel in 2014 as GC, chief compliance officer and SVP of government affairs.
Prior to joining U.S. Steel in 2014, Folsom served as general counsel for security and investigations firm Academi. She previously served as deputy general counsel and chief regulatory and compliance officer for American International Group Inc., where she helped shepherd the company through legal and compliance challenges around U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigations as well as the 2008 financial crisis, during which the company had to be bailed out by the federal government.
Before joining AIG, Folsom served in a legal role with The World Bank.
U.S. Steel president and CEO David Burritt praised Folsom’s contributions to U.S. Steel in a press release. “Suzanne played a pivotal role in driving the success of the company’s efforts to combat illegally subsidized and dumped steel products that are being imported into the United States,” he said. “Her tireless leadership in this arena benefited the company, the domestic steel industry and highlighted the threat that unfair trade represents to manufacturing across the United States. We respect Suzanne’s decision and are grateful for her many achievements serving the company. I thank Suzanne for her dedication to U. S. Steel and the country, and I wish her continued success in the next phase of her career.”
Folsom was among the highest paid general counsel this past year, coming in at No. 35 on Corporate Counsel’s annual compensation survey. In fiscal year 2016, she took home $1.974 million in total cash compensation.
In the company’s latest annual proxy statement, the company said: “Ms. Folsom is a crucial member of the executive management team who not only provides superior legal and compliance advice and strategy, but also business acumen and analysis to ensure that the corporation operates with proper protocols, practices and controls to meet global business requirements, mitigate risk and create value for its stakeholders.”
Folsom was recently honored by Corporate Counsel on its 2017 list of Transformative Leaders, a group of female in-house leaders chosen for their leadership and business acumen.