Roger Blough

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Roger M. Blough
Roger Blough.jpg
Blough in 1961.
Chairman & CEO of U.S. Steel
In office
May 3, 1955 – January 31, 1969
Preceded byBenjamin Fairless
Succeeded byEdwin H. Gott[1]
Personal details
Born(1904-01-19)January 19, 1904
DiedOctober 8, 1985(1985-10-08) (aged 81)
The Roger Blough heading north at the St. Clair Light.

Roger M. Blough (January 19, 1904 – October 8, 1985)[2] was the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the United States Steel Corporation for 13½ years, from May 1955 through January 1969.[2] In this position, he is best known for serving as the American steel industry's principal spokesman when the industry clashed in April 1962 with President John F. Kennedy on the issue of commodity steel prices.[2]


Blough attended Susquehanna University and was a member of Phi Mu Delta fraternity.[citation needed]

When Time magazine featured Blough in July 1959, they drew attention to the challenges facing the steel industry in the late 1950s, including inflation and competition from non-U.S. steel exporters.[3] He served as Chairman of The Business Council in 1961 and 1962.[4]

As a consequence of this inflation, Blough told the White House in April 1962 that it was the intent of the U.S. steel industry to raise a basket of steel prices by a scale averaging $6.00/ton. President Kennedy believed that this price increase violated an unwritten agreement that he had brokered between the industry and the United Steel Workers union, and called a press conference in response, held on April 11, 1962.[5] In nationally televised remarks, the President described Blough as one of: “a tiny handful of steel executives whose pursuit of private power and profit exceeds their sense of public responsibility... Some time ago I asked each American to consider what he would do for his country and I asked the steel companies. In the last 24 hours we had their answer.”[5] Blough and U.S. Steel rolled back the threatened price hike.[5]

Blough stubbornly resisted Kennedy administration efforts to enlist Alabama businesses to support desegregation of the University of Alabama, which race-baiting Gov. George Wallace had promised to block by standing in the schoolhouse door. Although the firm employed more than 30,000 workers in Birmingham, Ala., company president Blough in 1963 "went out of his way to announce that any attempt to use his company position in Birmingham to pressure local whites was 'repugnant to me personally' and 'repugnant to my fellow officers at U.S. Steel.'" [6]

In 1969, Blough retired from U.S. Steel and founded the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable, "affectionately known" as "Roger's Rountable". In 1972, the group merged with March Group and the Labor Law Study Group (LLSG) to form Business Roundtable.[7]


MV Roger Blough, an iron ore bulk carrier vessel built for U.S. Steel in 1968-72 and used starting in 1972 in Great Lakes service to transport taconite pellets from Lake Superior to ports on Lake Erie and Lake Michigan, was named in his honor. As of 2018 this vessel remained in service.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cook, Joan (August 29, 1986). "Edwin H. Gott, 78, Is Dead; U.S. Steel's Retired Chairman". The New York Times. p. D17. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Cuff, Daniel F. (1985-10-10). "Roger M. Blough, 81, Dies. Led U.S. Steel for 13 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  3. ^ "U.S. Steel's Roger Blough". Time. Archived from the original on January 17, 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  4. ^ The Business Council, Official website, Background Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c "The Unfulfilled Promise". Democratic Underground. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  6. ^ Carter, Dan T. (1995). The politics of rage : George Wallace, the origins of the new conservatism, and the transformation of American politics. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 129. ISBN 0-684-80916-8. OCLC 32739924.
  7. ^ Beder, Sharon Suiting Themselves: How Corporations Drive the Global Agenda; Earthscan; 2012, pgs. 11-12. ISBN 9781844073313
  8. ^ "Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature". Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  9. ^ "Roger Blough Arrived Duluth 04/02/2016". Archived from the original on 2016-04-06. Retrieved 2016-05-25.
Business positions
Preceded by Chairman of the Board of U.S. Steel
1955 – 1969
Succeeded by
Edwin H. Gott