Ova to you, Geir Olav... Benchmark's commercial director salmon, Geir Olav Melingen, pictured, will become head of Benchmark Genetics when Jan-Emil Johannessen retires.

Benchmark salmon chief is named new head of Genetics division

Geir Olav Melingen will take over after current boss retires


Aquaculture biotechnology company Benchmark has announced that Geir Olav Melingen, currently commercial director of its salmon ova operations, will take over as head of Benchmark Genetics on June 1.

The move follows the decision of Benchmark Genetics head Jan-Emil Johannessen, who turns 63 in April and has decided to retire after a lifelong involvement in aquaculture.

Trond Williksen, chief executive of parent company Benchmark Holdings, said that under Johannessen’s leadership Benchmark’s genetics business had become a world-leading company with a market-leading position in salmon.

Impressive growth

“Over ten years at Benchmark, Jan-Emil has led the business through impressive growth, including the construction of our state-of-the-art facility in Salten (Norway), the expansion on Iceland, our recent establishment of Benchmark Genetics Chile, as well as taking Benchmark Genetics into new species like shrimp and tilapia.

Jan-Emil Johannessen has decided to retire.

“Jan-Emil has built a talented and experienced team capable of taking Benchmark Genetics through the next phase of growth, including his successor, Geir Olav Melingen.

“Geir Olav has extensive experience from leading roles in the aquaculture industry, including at MSD as CEO of Fishguard and CEO of the Bergen Aquarium. He has deep experience in fish health and the salmon industry and is widely acknowledged as a strong leader. Geir Olav holds a PhD in fish health from the University of Bergen.

“Geir Olav’s background, coupled with his experience in Genetics and, more recently, in Health, make him the ideal person to further develop Benchmark Genetics worldwide. I look forward to Geir Olav joining Benchmarks’ executive management team and contributing to the wider leadership of our Group.”