SalMar CEO change: “I never thought that Ervik would take on such a challenge”

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SalMar’s Chairman of the Board, Atle Eide, rejects the notion that former CEO Olav-Andreas Ervik was asked to resign.

On Monday morning, SalMar posted that its founder Gustav Witzøe is taking over as CEO of SalMar with immediate effect. Former CEO Olav-Andreas Ervik has finished in the position after only 1.5 years.

But according to Chairman of the Board Atle Eide in SalMar, it was Ervik himself who decided to quit in connection with the establishment of the company SalMar Ocean, where Ervik will have primary responsibility for the company’s investment in offshore farming.

Atle Eide. PHOTO: SalMar

Desire for new tasks
“The focus on offshore aquaculture in SalMar has been ongoing over time, and the board asked the administration that they would return with input on the organization around this. In this connection, Olav-Andreas raised his hand and said he would like to lead this work,” Eide told SalmonBusiness.

Were you surprised when he signed up?

“To be honest, I never thought that Olav-Andreas Ervik would take on take on such a challenge,” Eide replied, rejecting that Ervik was asked to resign.

Eide does not see it as a step down for Ervik that he now he has quit as SalMar CEO.

“In no way; this is one of the largest investments in the aquaculture industry,” said Eide.

Gave the board a unique option to act
Ervik himself confirmed it was his of his own accord to change positions.

“I look forward to embarking on new exciting assignments in SalMar Ocean,” writes a word button Ervik in a text message to SalmonBusiness. Ervik did not answer why he chose to step down as CEO and refers to further comments in the case from Eide and Witzøe.

Among other things, Ervik will be responsible for leading the development of “Ocean Farm 1”, which recently launched the second generation of fish. In addition, a big job awaits with “Smart Fish Farm”, which is under development and will be twice as large as SalMar’s first sea cage.

At the same time as Ervik’s interest in the new position, Gustav Witzøe informed that he wanted to take up the role of CEO – for the first time. According to Eide, this is because Witzøe saw that there was a powerful team around him and that the timing looked right to do an internal shuffle.

“The board thought this was a very nice solution that Gustav was willing to take on such a challenge. We have an active owner who works in the company and who has unique qualities to drive it further. When Witzøe expressed his willingness to become CEO, it gave the board a unique option to act,” Eide concluded, adding that it is “SalMar culture” to contribute where needed.

First time CEO
SalmonBusiness contacted Group CEO Gustav Witzøe in an e-mail about the change:

“We are reorganizing and strengthening the management of the work on sea-based farming and in this regard redirecting our resources while ensuring continuity of management,” he wrote.

When asked if it was Ervik himself decided to step down as CEO, Witzøe answered:

“He has communicated a desire for new tasks and new challenges related to our important offshore investment. His experience in biological production will help to strengthen this development area for SalMar,” he added.

Ervik, who started his career as a salmon farm worker and rose up the ranks. He has over 20 years of experience in the aquaculture industry, and previously served as both Executive Vice President for Farming and Managing Director of SalMar Farming.