Anders Jonas Brøns, owner and CEO of Polar Seafood, found dead
Anders Jonas Brøns, the co-owner and CEO of Vodskov, Denmark-based Polar Seafood, was found dead outside a waterside restaurant in Aalborg, Denmark on Friday, 7 December.
No foul play is suspected, police told Greenland newspaper Sermitsiaq. Polar Seafood Henrik Leth told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet Brøns had a business meeting earlier in the evening at the restaurant.
“I'm definitely also sure it's not suicide,” he said. “It's a pure accident.”
Brøns, 68, co-founded Polar Seafood with Jens Salling and Hans Pavia Egede, and grew it into what is today Greenland’s largest privately-owned company. Egede was later bought out of the company, and Salling has in recent years stepped away from Polar’s day-to-day operations, leaving Brøns to run the company, though the two talked often regarding strategy and had dinner together in Aalborg the evening before Brøns’ death, according to Sermitsiaq.
Brøns was the son of shopkeepers in Greenland and rose to become one of Denmark’s richest people, the newspaper reported. He led the consolidation of Greenland’s fishing industry, creating a vertically integrated company that fished and processed a range of species including shrimp, halibut, cod, snow crab, king crab, and scallops. Polar Seafood reported sales of DKK 3.3 billion (USD 500.7 million million, EUR 442.1 million) in 2017.
In an announcement sent to Polar Seafood employees, Leth said Brøns was “a highly respected businessman but also a man with great social skills and human qualities,” according to Ekstra Bladet.
"It's not just a shock and a human tragedy but is also a big loss for all of us in Polar Seafood, where he was the driving force behind and inspiration for the company's start and development," Leth wrote. "My thoughts go first and foremost to Anders's companions, children and other family members. But for our entire organization, he leaves behind a huge gap.”
Brian Buus Pedersen, a member of the Greenland Economic Council, told Ekstra Bladet Brøns had a major impact on Greenland’s economic development.
"Anders Brøns has been a powerful driver in modernizing Greenland – a modernization that Anders Brøns created with his business partners and other future fishermen after the collapse of Greenland's economy in the late 1980s,” Pedersen said. “Greenland today is a much richer country because of [Brøns’] efficient and sustainable use of fishery resources.”