Kevin Bixler out as Peter Pan Seafoods CEO; Sekkingstad appoints Andreas Mikalsen as CEO

New Aquatiq General Manager of Icelandic Operations Runar Birgisson.

To keep up to date with the latest personnel changes across the seafood industry, SeafoodSource is compiling a regular round-up of hiring announcements and other personnel-related shifts worldwide. If you have an announcement, please send it to [email protected].

- Kevin Bixler is stepping down as CEO of Bellevue, Washington, U.S.A.-based Peter Pan Seafoods. 

“He will remain at his post until the transition to his replacement is complete. We are grateful for his time and leadership at the company, and we wish him well in his next endeavors,” Peter Pan Seafoods told SeafoodSource. “Rodger May, president and chief growth officer of Peter Pan, will continue to lead the company alongside a team of skilled industry professionals.”

Bixler began as CEO in November 2022, joining Peter Pan after serving as global director of group fish procurement at Thai Union.

Peter Pan has suffered from the departures of several key executives over the past two years.

- Skogsvåg, Norway-based salmon and trout supplier Sekkingstad has appointed Andreas Mikalsen as CEO. Mikalsen spent over 10 years at Mowi as a sales and marketing manager, managing director for Mowi Raw Materials and Trade Europe, and managing director of Mowi Raw Global RMT.

“I am very excited to meet all my new colleagues, customers, suppliers, and other partners over the coming weeks. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to be working with this superfood and amazing team,” Mikalsen wrote on LinkedIn.

- Hugo Carillo, now the former CEO of Lima, Peru-based aquafeed producer Vitapro, has stepped down. Carillo has been with the company since April 2016, and as of January 2024, Carillo is working as a startup mentor for currency exchange service Decamoney, according to his LinkedIn.

“Everything I did as CEO was the result of my continuous learning of each of the areas in which I worked, whether in consumer marketing (B2C), in Alicorp Soluciones (B2B), and recent years in aquaculture. Therefore, in this moment of farewell, I want to thank each of the teams that I led and interacted with; I thank them infinitely for so many successes ... and moments that made me grow as a professional and as a person,” Carillo wrote on LinkedIn. “I want to thank the extraordinary team in Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Central America. Being with them was the best thing that could have happened to me in my last stage at Alicorp. I have been surprised, enjoyed, and in love with this aquaculture industry like I never expected."

 - Lillehammer, Norway-based seafood solutions company Aquatiq announced Runar Birgisson (pictured) has been appointed the general manager of its Icelandic operations, effective 1 February.

Birgisson spent the last 24 years at Garðabær, Iceland-based food-processing company Marel as an operations manager, process development manager, and project sales director, according to his LinkedIn. 

“I am very excited about the work ahead,” Birgisson said in a LinkedIn release. “I have known the founders of Aquatiq since I started working for Marel. These are great professionals and have, among other things, influenced the European standards of hygienic design of food-processing solutions. Aquatiq has a dominant market position in the Norwegian aquaculture industry in its field, and we expect this will also be the case in Iceland as time goes on.“

Aquatiq also appointed Guri Nærbøe Nordahl as a senior consultant and lead auditor. Nærbøe Nordahl has a background of over 20 years working in the food industry sector.

“Guri's deep expertise and commitment to excellence make her a tremendous asset to our team,” Aquatiq said.

Additionally, Anita Kjærås Moland has joined Aquatiq as a food safety specialist, the company wrote on LinkedIn.

With her extensive expertise and passion for ensuring the highest standards of food quality and safety, she is a valuable addition to our team,” the company wrote. 

- Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based OBI Seafoods has appointed Brian O’Leary as its COO. O’Leary has been with OBI Seafoods since November 2020, according to his LinkedIn.

Before joining OBI Seafoods, O’Leary worked for Ocean Beauty Seafoods for seven years and 10 months as a fleet manager, as well as the manager of the company's Cordova facility.

- Phil Knight, now the former technical director of surimi sales exports at Trident Seafoods, has left the company. According to his LinkedIn, he worked for Trident Seafoods for 25 years and nine months. 

“I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position as a self-employed seafood consultant,” Knight wrote. 

-Saco, Maine, U.S.A.-based Luke’s Lobster appointed Jim Gensheimer as its chief people officer.

Gensheimer is a Maine native, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, and worked previously at management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. 

“As our chief people officer, he will lead our people and culture team. He aspires to support and bring the best out of our amazing people who, in turn, serve the best-tasting seafood to our customers. At Luke's, everything starts with our people. Welcome to the team, Jim,” Luke’s Lobster wrote in its LinkedIn release.

- Trondheim, Norway-based workboat company Moen Marin named Bernt Lilliestråle its CEO, effective 1 March. 

“Moen Marin is proud to announce Bernt Lilliestråle as the company's new CEO from 1 March. With extensive experience in the maritime sector, Lilliestråle brings with it a unique combination of technical and management expertise. We look forward to having Bernt on the team as our new leader,” Moen Marin wrote on LinkedIn.

Lilliestråle previously worked for Trondheim, Norway-based global energy infrastructure company Altera Infrastructure for just over four years, according to his LinkedIn.

Photo courtesy of Runar Birgisson/LinkedIn


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