Mowi names new CEO to replace Aarskog

Ivan Vindheim, Mowi's new CEO (photo: Mowi)

Mowi, the world’s biggest salmon farmer, has appointed Ivan Vindheim as its new CEO, replacing Alf-Helge Aarskog who has held the position for the past 10 years, the company announced this morning.

Vindheim, who has been Mowi’s CFO since 2012, takes up the role today. He told Intrafish it would be ‘business as usual’, and he paid tribute to Aarskog who, he said, had delivered the company to him ‘in excellent shape’.

Vindheim has held various executive positions in the seafood industry, including being the CFO of Lerøy Seafood.

‘I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead Mowi together with more than 14,500 highly competent colleagues,’ he said.

‘It is with humbleness I take on this task. Mowi is the leading global aquaculture company and we have many opportunities ahead of us.

‘The board’s strategy for Mowi of being a leading integrated seafood provider remains unchanged, and together with the rest of the organisation I look forward to continuing to make Mowi a stronger company and execute on our strategy.

‘Alf-Helge has been a great leader and colleague over the years and I would also like to take the opportunity to thank him for making such a valuable contribution.’

Aarskog transformed the company during his decade at its helm. His key achievements, said Mowi, include the creation of the group’s own fish feed operations, significant growth in value-added processing, substantial farming volume growth and most recently the launch of the company’s branding strategy.

During this period, Mowi has delivered stellar shareholder returns, the company said in a statement on its website.

However, the outgoing CEO’s final weeks in the job were marked by events at Mowi’s Newfoundland operation, where licences were withdrawn following mass mortalities in the summer.

Aarskog made a public apology last week to Newfoundland fisheries minister Gerry Byrne, acknowledging that the company did not provide mortality information properly after the incident, that took half its fish at its Northern Harvest farms in Newfoundland and Labrador.

‘In not providing mortality information properly after the mass mortality was first reported in September, we did not live up to both your, and our own expectations. For this, I personally and sincerely apologise as CEO on behalf Mowi ASA,’ said Aarskog.

Mowi chairman Ole-Eirik Lerøy said: ‘Alf-Helge has transformed Mowi to a leading product driven seafood company, with industry leading positions in Genetics, Feed, Farming, Sales and Consumer Products.

‘The strategic choices made over the years have turned Mowi into a strong company with a focus on developing the salmon category.

‘Aarskog is a true salmon farmer, and he has spread enthusiasm and passion for salmon throughout our global organisation.’

Lerøy said Vindheim represents continuity, with ‘the best qualifications for delivering on our corporate strategy’.

Aarskog said: ‘I would like to thank all of my colleagues over the years for your passion and inspiration, and I wish you the best of luck in continuing to ‘Lead the Blue Revolution’.’

Kristian Ellingsen, group accounting director, has been appointed new CFO of Mowi.