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Former Nutreco CEO Knut Nesse, is the new chair of AKVA's board. Photo: AKVA.
Former Nutreco CEO Knut Nesse, is the new chair of AKVA's board. Photo: AKVA.

Knut Nesse, the former chief executive of feed manufacturers Skretting and Nutreco, has been appointed chairperson of aquaculture supplier AKVA group.

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It follows the decision of Hans Kristian Mong to step down as chairperson after leading the board for more than six years. He will continue as a board member of AKVA group.

Nesse has been a member of the board since May this year and has broad international experience from management roles in the seafood business.

Extensive experience

“We are very pleased to welcome Knut as the new chairman for AKVA Group,” said Mong in a press release. “Knut has extensive international experience from the global aquaculture sector and a very good network. I’m very confident that he will add value and support the continuous growth of AKVA group.”

Nesse said: “I have known Hans Kristian and AKVA group for many years. I have the highest respect for his passion for the aquaculture and fishery sector and I’m truly impressed by the development of AKVA group as a leading technology company.

“I look forward to continue working with Hans Kristian as a board colleague and main shareholder. I am excited by the growth possibilities for AKVA group supported by a very innovative technology platform for sustainable aquaculture.”

Share aquisition

Nesse spent six years as chief executive of Skretting (2006-2012) and more recently, six years as CEO of its parent company, Nutreco (2012-2018).  

Coinciding with Nesse’s appointment, AKVA announced that Nesse & CO AS, a company controlled by Knut Nesse, has today acquired 50,000 shares from AKVA group (treasury shares) at a price of NOK 75.60 per share. Knut Nesse / Nesse & CO AS owned nil shares in AKVA group prior to the acquisition.

AKVA group and Knut Nesse have entered into an option agreement which gives him the right to acquire further 50,000 shares at the same price. The option agreement is subject to the general meeting's approval. The options can be exercised in the period from April 1st, 2022 to August 31st, 2022, conditional on Nesse still being a member of the board or employed in AKVA group or in one of its subsidiaries. The options can also be exercised prior to the said period if a takeover offer is made and completed, resulting in a change of control in the company.

Breaking the Code

AKVA said in a market update the board recognises that the agreement is not in line with the recommendation in the Norwegian Code of Practice, which is also reflected in AKVA group’s statement of Corporate Governance, that board members should not be granted share options.

“However, the board believes that it would be in the best interest of the company and its shareholders to accept the non-compliance in order to secure the appointment of an experienced chairperson with long and broad industry knowledge and international experience,” the company said.   

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