Benchmark Genetics Head Jan-Emil Johannessen retiring, to be replaced by Geir Olav Melingen

Benchmark Genetics Head -Emil Johannessen (left) and his successor, Geir Olav Melingen.

Benchmark Genetics Head Jan-Emil Johannessen is retiring and will be replaced by Geir Olav Melingen, who currently works as Benchmark’s commercial director for salmon.

Johannessen, 62, “has decided to retire after a lifelong involvement in the aquaculture industry,” according to a company press release.

“Under the leadership of Jan-Emil Johannessen, Benchmark’s genetics business has become a world-leading aquaculture genetics company with a market-leading position in salmon,” Benchmark Holdings CEO Trond Williksen said. “Over 10 years at Benchmark, Jan-Emil has led the business through impressive growth, including the construction of our state-of-the-art facility in Salten [Norway], the expansion in Iceland, our recent establishment of Benchmark Genetics Chile, as well as taking Benchmark Genetics into new species like shrimp and tilapia.”

Johannessen will be succeeded Melingen on 1 June, 2023, after a transition period.

“Jan-Emil has built a talented and experienced team capable of taking Benchmark Genetics through the next phase of growth, including his successor, Geir Olav Melingen, currently commercial director for benchmark salmon,” Williksen said. “Geir Olav has extensive experience from leading roles in the aquaculture industry, including at MSD Group as CEO of Fishguard and CEO of the Bergen Aquarium. He has deep experience in fish health and the salmon industry and is widely acknowledged as a strong leader. Geir Olav holds a Ph.D. in fish health from the University of Bergen. Geir Olav’s background, coupled with his experience in genetics and, more recently, in health, making him the ideal person to further develop Benchmark Genetics worldwide. I look forward to Geir Olav joining Benchmarks’ executive management team and contributing to the wider leadership of our group.” 

Johannessen joined Benchmark Genetics in 2015, after it purchased SalmoBreed, a salmon-genetics firm co-owned by Leroy Seafood and Grieg Seafood, where he was serving as board chairman. Following the acquisition, he was named managing director of SalmoBreed, and then was named to his current position in 2018.

“I am proud of the business that we have been able to build over the last 10 years since I joined Benchmark. I am confident that under the leadership of Geir Olav, Benchmark Genetics will continue to go from strength to strength,” he said.

In August 2022, Sheffield, U.K.-headquartered Benchmark formally announced a plan to uplist to the Oslo Børs in the first half of 2023. It is currently listed on the Euronext Growth Oslo exchange.

The company delivered its Q1 2023 covering the three-month period ending 31 December, 2022, on 14 February. For the year ending 30 September, 2022, Benchmark reported revenue of GBP 158.3 million (USD 192.7 million, EUR 179.5 million), up from GBP 125.1 million (USD 152.3 million, EUR 141.8 million) in 2021. Its 2022 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of GBP 31.2 million (USD 37.9 million, EUR 35.3 million) was up 60 percent year-over-year from its 2021 figure of GBP 19.4 million (USD 23.6 million, EUR 22 million). 

It predicted revenue of GBP 173.5 million (USD 211.2 million, EUR 196.7 million) in 2023 and GBP 197.1 million (USD 239.9 million, EUR 223.5 million) in 2024, and EBITDA of GBP 33 million (USD 40.1 million, EUR 37.4 million) in 2023 and GBP 39.4 million (USD 47.9 million, EUR 44.6 million) in 2024.

Photos courtesy of Benchmark Genetics


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