Lerøy Seafood loses CEO and head of sales – Fishupdate.com

Lerøy Seafood loses CEO and head of sales Published:  14 November, 2008

The chief executive of Lerøy Seafood Group (LSG), Ole-Eirik Lerøy, has decided to sell all his shares and has resigned. His shock move was then followed by the resignation of executive vice president, sales and marketing Øyvind Fossøy, the man credited for building the group’s global sales and distribution over the last 16 years making LSG the world’s second largest salmon farming company.

In a statement to the Oslo stock exchange, Ole-Eirik Lerøy said his resignation was caused by the mandatory offer put forward by Austevoll Seafood (AUSS) for LSG.

“We have decided to sell all our family’s shares in LSG at the end of the mandatory offer period,” he explained. “As a natural consequence I will also resign. I publish my decision now, well ahead of the expiration of the offer period, so that the shareholders who wanted to follow my advice and have been waiting for my decision will have sufficient time to review the situation.”

Ole-Eirik Lerøy and his close associates are selling a total of 9,351,589 shares at the offer price of NOK 59 per share. Ole-Eirik Lerøy has been employed by LSG since 1985, and has held the position as CEO since 1991.

Ole-Eirik Lerøy continued: “Austevoll Seafood has been aware of the fact that I did not want them to increase their shareholding. Lerøy Seafood will now be dominated by a single shareholder, and I do not want to have large values locked in the share anymore. As a natural consequence of the new ownership structure and the sale of my shares, I will resign.”

He said that the decision to sell all of his shares has been difficult to make, partly because Ole-Eirik Lerøy believes that the price is too low compared to his valuation of the company’s assets, and partly because he still believes that the company and the seafood industry have a bright future.

“My family’s ownership has been closely linked to my ability to influence the company`s development. With the new ownership situation, this influence will cease to exist. Austevoll Seafood has a long tradition in creating industrial values. I have no doubt in the management`s ability to effectively run the company in the future, and I wish them success,” says Ole-Eirik Lerøy.

He added: “I am proud of Lerøy Seafood`s growth and value creation in the years that I have been the company’s CEO. I still strongly believe that the seafood industry and the company have a bright future.”

On his resignation, executive vice president for sales and marketing, Øyvind Fossøy said: “I have participated in the development of the company to it’s present position, and the current changes in owner structure is a natural milestone to pass the baton onto others. The organisation has a lot of highly skilled personnel who are ready to take on new challenges.

“Øyvind Fossøy`s contribution to Lerøy Seafood Group’s growth and success has been outstanding. In this period Lerøy Seafood Group’s annual turnover has increased from NOK 1 billion to NOK 6 billion. I wish him the very best for the future,” commented CEO Ole-Eirik Lerøy.

Lerøy Seafood Group was established in 1899 and now claims to be the world`s second-largest aquaculture company and Scandinavia`s largest seafood supplier. It has 1704 employees, a turnover of 6.3 billion NOK in 2007 and exports to 65 countries.

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