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Executive team

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Madhu VuppuluriPresident and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Vuppuluri has over 35 years of leadership experience in global manufacturing and service industries and has been with Essar for over 20 years. Since 1999, he has been instrumental in building Essar’s presence in Metals, Mining and BPO space, in North America. Mr. Vuppuluri was closely associated with the development and financing of Essar’s’ pellet production facility and slurry pipeline in India during the mid-1990s. He has led our development efforts with respect to the Project since 2007 from the acquisition phase through the entire development, permitting and financing of the Project. He holds a Master’s degree in Financial Management from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai and an MBA from Columbia University in New York.

Steve RutherfordExecutive Director - Projects
Mr. Rutherford has over 35 years of experience in engineering, constructing and operating taconite plants, industrial sand plants, DRI plants and submerged arc furnace plants. Mr. Rutherford has held senior leadership positions with Inland Steel Mining Company, US Silica Holdings, Inc., Iron Dynamics Inc., Steel Dynamics Inc. and Mesabi Nugget LLC. Mr. Rutherford was project leader at Iron Dynamics Inc. for construction of one of the world’s first coal based DRI plants and project manager at Mesabi Nugget LLC for construction of one of the world’s first commercial iron nugget plants. Mr. Rutherford holds a B.S. in industrial technology from Bemidji State University, a master electrical license from the State of Minnesota and an electronics degree from Western Wisconsin Technical Institute.

Ken KinseyChief of Operations
Mr. Kinsey joined Essar Steel Minnesota in October 2010. Prior to joining Essar Steel Minnesota, Mr. Kinsey has held senior leadership positions with Nucor Corporation for over 16 years where he was involved in the greenfield construction start up and operation of its first compact strip production plant, which is located in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He also held leadership positions with Steel Dynamics, Inc. for over 13 years where he was involved in the Greenfield construction, startup and operation of the company’s first facility in Butler, Indiana.

Sanjay BhartiaChief Financial Officer
Mr. Bhartia joined Essar Steel Minnesota in 2013. He has over 23 years of senior executive experience. Prior to joining Essar Steel Minnesota, Mr. Bhartia was chief financial officer of Crossland Resources Ltd. in Australia. He has held various senior leadership positions with companies such as Aditya Birla Minerals Limited in Perth, Australia, Indo Phil Cotton Mills, Inc. in the Philippines and Hindalco Industries Ltd. in India. During his career, he has been involved with the development and financing of large greenfield resource based projects. Mr. Bhartia holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and is a member of Australian Chapter of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He is also a graduate member of Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Susan FennesseyGeneral Counsel
Ms. Fennessey joined Essar Steel Minnesota in 2013 with 15 years of corporate law experience at a major international law firm. She has represented large multinational companies, banks and other parties in financing, M&A, restructuring and other transactions as legal counsel. Ms. Fennessey holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Maryland and a J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law.

Mahendra MishraVice President - Commercial
Mr. Mishra has close to 15 years of experience spanning the iron ore, thermal power and petroleum refinery industries in Asia and North America. He has held various technical and commercial responsibilities with EGFL in the areas of commercial contracts, project development and plant operations. In his current role at ESML, he has supported the execution of strategic contracts in the areas of sales, power and gas transportation and is leading the development of rail service arrangements. Mr. Mishra holds a bachelor’s degree in instrumentation and control engineering from Dharmsinh Desai Institute of Technology, Nadiad, India, and a master’s degree of business administration from the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York.

Samir KalraVice President - Finance and Treasurer
Mr. Kalra joined Essar Steel Minnesota in November 2012. Mr. Kalra has over 13 years of experience in corporate finance, strategy, M&A and auditing. Prior to joining Essar Steel Minnesota, Mr. Kalra was the chief financial officer of ArcelorMittal International S.A. Mr. Kalra has held senior leadership positions with ArcelorMittal in Luxembourg, U.K. and Poland and with Ernst & Young in India. Mr. Kalra received an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and a chartered accountants degree from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Mitchell BrunfeltAssistant General Counsel and Director of Government and Public Relations
Mr. Brunfelt joined Essar Steel Minnesota in June 2014. Prior to joining Essar Steel Minnesota, Mr. Brunfelt was in private practice with the law firm of Colosimo, Patchin, Kearney & Brunfelt, Ltd. in Virginia, Minnesota. Mr. Brunfelt has twenty years of experience as an attorney working primarily in the areas of labor & employment law, litigation and public sector law, and he also served as the City Attorney in the Cities of Eveleth, Babbitt and Gilbert. Mr. Brunfelt was the Mayor of Mountain Iron from 1997 to 2002 and has served as a volunteer board member for a number of non-profit entities on the Iron Range. He earned his B.A., summa cum laude, from Moorhead State University, and his law degree from Hamline University School of Law.

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