Trond Håkon Schaug-Pettersen, left, appearing with Håkon André Berg in a Salmon Evolution video. Schaug-Pettersen is now interim CEO as well as CFO following Berg's decision to resign.

Salmon Evolution chief executive steps down for personal reasons

Difficult decision is best solution ‘for my family and the company’ says Håkon André Berg


Håkon André Berg has resigned as chief executive of Norwegian land-based fish farmer Salmon Evolution for personal reasons, the company said in a stock market announcement today.

Berg has accepted a place on the board and chief financial officer Trond Håkon Schaug-Pettersen will become interim CEO with immediate effect. A search for a permanent CEO will start promptly, the company said.

"It's been a real pleasure leading Salmon Evolution through this very exciting period of time, where we have gone from being a small start-up to a large company with about 60 employees and a global presence,” said Berg.

“I firmly believe that the company is in a unique position, and it has not been an easy decision to make. However, due to certain personal family matters, I have come to the conclusion that stepping down from my position as CEO is the best solution for both my family and the company.”

First harvest

Salmon Evolution farms salmon using a hybrid recirculation / flow-through system on Harøy Island (Indre Harøy) and is due to harvest its first fish from Phase 1 of the facility next month.

"The board of directors regrets that Håkon André Berg has asked for relief from his position as CEO,” said Salmon Evolution chairman Tore Tønseth.

“After joining the company in 2019, he has been instrumental in establishing Salmon Evolution as the global frontrunner within land-based salmon farming. We do however appreciate that Håkon has accepted to join the company’s board of directors subject to the general meeting's decision.

“At the same time the board of directors is pleased to have secured continuity with the appointing of Trond Håkon Schaug-Pettersen as interim CEO, whom together with the rest of the management team and the entire organisation, ensures that the company is very well equipped to deliver on both our strategy as well as our upcoming milestones.”

Extensive experience

Salmon Evolution said that Schaug-Pettersen, who was appointed CFO in October 2020, has been an important part of the leadership team and brought extensive experience from both the salmon industry and the capital market. Prior to joining Salmon Evolution, he spent more than four years as senior vice president finance and business development at salmon farmer and processor Hofseth International and, prior to that, nine years as an investment banker at Swedbank/First Securities.

Phase 1 of the Indre Harøy facility will have an annual capacity of 7,900 gutted weight tonnes at steady state. Fully developed, the facility will have an annual capacity of 31,500 gwt.

Korea and North America

Salmon Evolution has also entered into a joint venture with seafood giant Dongwon Industries to build and run a 16,800 gwt salmon farm in South Korea, and has secured site options for a 30,000-tonne-plus facility in North America.

“Salmon Evolution is an amazing company with highly skilled employees and a unique company culture,” said Schaug-Pettersen. “We have some very exciting months ahead with our first harvest coming up shortly and where we will finally have our proof of concept demonstrated. On that basis Salmon Evolution will have an unparalleled platform to expand our operations, both in Norway and abroad.”