Aker Seafoods finds new CEO, restructures

First Alf-Helge Aarskog leaves Aker Seafoods to join Marine Harvest. Now Thomas Farstad is leaving Marine Harvest to join Aker Seafoods.

Both Norwegian companies on Friday announced that Thomas Farstad is stepping down as acting CEO and director of group operations in Canada and Scotland for Marine Harvest to become CEO of Aker Seafoods.

Aarskog, who was named CEO of Marine Harvest on 30 March, less than a week after the farmed-salmon company ousted Åse Aulie Michelet, will take up his new position on 19 July, Marine Harvest reported earlier this week.

Farstad, who has worked for Marine Harvest since 2003, will continue to serve as the company's acting CEO until Aarskog arrives next month and will leave Marine Harvest later this year.

"We are grateful for Farstad's important contributions to Marine Harvest during these years," said Marine Harvest Chairman Ole-Eirik Lerøy. "He has delivered strong results and a willingness to take on increased responsibility and challenges. We wish him the best of luck when he takes up his new position in Aker Seafoods."

"We're very satisfied with the appointment Farstad as chief executive," added Aker Seafoods Chairman Frank O. Reite. "He has detailed knowledge of the seafood industry and leadership experience from listed companies. These are important qualifications for the job of improving our profitability."

Aker Seafood on Friday also announced that it's splitting its operations into two separate entities.

Processing and sales will operate under the name Norway Seafoods AS, which will be wholly owned by Aker Seafoods. Under the leadership of Farstad, Norway Seafoods will operate 11 facilities in Norway, three in Denmark and two in France, with about 1,200 employees and annual operating revenues of more than NOK 2 billion (USD 307.5 million, EUR 249.9 million).

Harvesting will remain a separate entity under the leadership of Trond Williksen, currently the division's executive VP for harvesting. The operation comprises 12 trawlers in Norway and two in Spain, with about 400 employees and annual operating revenues of about NOK 600 million (USD 92 million, EUR 75 million).

"This restructuring will place us in a better position to strengthen our fresh-fish strategy and thereby increase deliveries from the coastal fishing fleet to the factories," said Liv Monica Stubholt, acting CEO of Aker Seafoods. "I also expect the new company to increase its share of high-margin products."

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