The chief executive officer (CEO) of Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) has confirmed he is leaving the company at the end of August.

Industry sources say Gregor Munstermann took the decision in response to being sidelined in the decision-making process at the steel maker.

As CEO, Munstermann should have been in charge of planning ESI’s phase three expansion, a 1.4 million tonnes a year (t/y) steel plant to be built next to the existing production sites in Mussafah. Sources say he was frustrated by top-level decisions that were taken over his head.

“A lot of decision-making was not made on his level, it was actually made at a higher level,” says a source close to the company.

Munstermann has confirmed to MEED that he is leaving the company. “I will leave Emirates Steel, [the] official end of my employment will be 31 August,” Munstermann said in an email.

He aims to set up a consultancy focusing on the steel industry, he added. “The company will be based in Germany, however I expect that quite some of the customers will be based in the Middle East.”

Munstermann joined ESI in September 2009.  “Gregor Munstermann is our ideal choice to lead Emirates Steel and our world-scale expansion plan,” ESI chairman Hussain al-Nowais, said at the time.

ESI said Munstermann is leaving because his contract has come to an end, says the source. “The way they’re spinning this of is that it was all part of their contractual agreement, that is was all only going to be for three years, but that’s not what I’ve been hearing internally.”

“His plan was to be the CEO of the company to run operation effectively, but there were internal forces that have made his position very uncomfortable at a higher level. Therefore he has chosen to move on,” the source adds.

ESI were unable to comment when asked about Munstermann’s planned departure.

ESI is currently seeking to appoint a financial adviser for the phase three expansion, which is estimated to cost between $800m and $1bn. A group of international and local banks have been asked to pitch for the mandate by the end of July, and the company is expected to make an appointment two weeks later. (MEED  08:07:11)

The request for proposals (RFP) sent to the banks reveals that the project will be located in Mussafah, squashing speculation that the plant would be built in the new Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) in Taweelah.