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Stockton steel engineer heading for Westminster

24 Nov 23 The chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute has stood down to concentrate on campaigning for the next general election.

Chris McDonald (left) welcomes his interim replacement at the Materials Processing Institute, Jonathon Stormon (right)
Chris McDonald (left) welcomes his interim replacement at the Materials Processing Institute, Jonathon Stormon (right)

Chemical engineer Chris McDonald has been chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute – the national innovation centre for steel and metals – since 2014.

However, he has been selected as the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for Stockton North, to succeed incumbent MP Alex Cunningham, who is retiring. To focus on his mid-life swithc in direction, Mr McDonald has stepped down from the Materials Processing Institute.

Jonathon Stormon from Hexagon Consultants has been brought in as interim chief executive while the Teesside-based organisation begins the process to recruit a permanent successor.

Jonathon Stormon was head of transformation for Liberty Steel Europe between 2019 and 2021.

Despite stepping down, Chris McDonald will continue to work with the institute’s council on the implementation of strategic partnerships, managing relations with stakeholders and helping with the handover of responsibilities.

Mr McDonald previously worked at Corus as a manufacturing technical manager, and at Tata Steel, where he rose to become strategy and collaborations manager. He is credited with saving the Materials Processing Institute from closure when he joined it in 2014. He stepped in and relaunched it as a not-for-profit organisation developing new technologies for the steel and metals sector.

Currently the institute is leading a £6.5m project to scale up development of zero emission cement, a process that also supports ‘green’ steelmaking. It is also involved in extracting carbon-free hydrogen from steelmaking sludge.

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