In a statement the Norwegian company, which owns 50% of Scottish Sea Farms, said the change takes place after a period during which Williksen has led SalMar to record results, through high emphasis on the biological production.
The change at the top also comes just days after a Chinese businesswoman with links to SalMar was arrested in China on suspicion of being involved in a salmon smuggling enterprise worth $100 million. There was no mention of the Chinese situation in SalMar’s statement.
SalMar chairman Atle Eide said: “The board of directors regrets that Trond Williksen has asked for relief from his position as CEO. In his role as CEO, he has continued SalMar's efforts to be industry leading in biological production.
“Through his work, he has also contributed to the foundation on which to base a solid future development for the company. Olav-Andreas Ervik is well acquainted with the SalMar Group and its culture, and with him on board, SalMar is well equipped to deliver on our stated ambition to be industry leading in aquaculture with regards to biological production of salmon.”
Williksen took up his position as CEO of SalMar in the autumn of 2016. After his request to be relieved of the CEO duty, he will have a role in Kverva, an investment company focusing on the marine sector.
Kverva was established as a holding company for the ownership of Salmar ASA in 1991 and still holds 53.4% of the company. Williksen will work on strategic development of parts of the Kverva portfolio.
"SalMar has completed a period of record results, and we have delivered a considerable amount of value creation to the company's shareholders,” said Williksen.
“I have had a fantastic time in the company. The task of heading SalMar is exciting but is also demanding. Those who know me, are aware that I have experienced a strenuous period over the past years, and I now want to focus more on myself for a period of time. I am confident that in Olav-Andreas Ervik, SalMar has a CEO who is able to build on the company's foundation.”
Ervik, 41, has more than 20 years of experience in the aquaculture industry, and has worked in SalMar since 2012. Prior to his appointment as farming director in 2014, he served as general manager of SalMar Farming. He has also held management positions in Lerøy Midnor, Scottish Sea Farms and Lerøy Hydrotech. He was SFF’s Shetland regional manager between April 2006 and June 2007.
Ervik started his career in the industry as a keeper, providing him with practical fish farming experience.
Williksen will remain at the board's disposal through his period of resignation (six months), ensuring a smooth handover to Ervik.