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Who's in line for Cermaq Norway's top post?

It's been over three months since former Cermaq Norway Managing Director Geir Molvik was appointed CEO of the group. Who is taking his role -- and when -- remains in question.

When Cermaq Norway Managing Director Geir Molvik was promoted to the position of CEO on July 4, the company was left with a hole at the top of its Norwegian marine farming division -- a hole that still hasn’t been filled.

Cermaq Norway's salmon farming operations, spread across the northern Norwegian counties of Nordland (Steigen) and Finnmark, produced some 54,000 metric tons in 2015, making it a critical part of the group.

After Molvik's promotion, Nordland Operations Chief Snorre Jonassen took on the role of acting managing director of Cermaq Norway, but has yet to be named to the role permanently.

Previously, when fish feed group Ewos was part of the company, Jonassen was CEO for Cermaq Norway, while Molvik headed the marine farming division. The organization was restructured following the Ewos sale in 2013.

Last week IntraFish canvassed close to 10 different industry sources in the Norwegian marine farming industry to get a read on who might be named to the role.

"The obvious candidate would be someone with operational experience, or for instance one who is currently a regional director in one of the publicly listed salmon companies,” said one source.

Others indicated the choice could likely go to a candidate in-house.

"Maybe it’ll be Jonassen or other candidates within Cermaq. A decisive factor could be office location. If it’s in Oslo, there could be a number that otherwise would have ‘fit the bill,' who might turn down an offer because they don’t wish to move or commute," according to another source.

Jonassen texted IntraFish on principal he doesn’t comment on appointments made in Cermaq.

Playing it quiet

What's clear is that Cermaq is being very secretive about the process.

“No idea whatsoever,” said one source when asked. “I’ve also tried to find this out just quietly, but they’re obviously playing their cards close to the chest."

A fourth source noticed the job had been advertised externally, which could indicate the company has not found an obvious candidate within the company.

“It’s undoubtedly an exciting position, and should be of interest to many,” he said.

As in many other cases where we speculate on names, Yngve Myhre is bound to crop up, though some sources consider him over-qualified.

Oslo-based Myhre, a former executive at Salmar and Nova Sea, is currently chairman of the Chilean aquaculture company Nova Austral, and sits on the board of Nofima.

“No comment,” was Myhre’s response.

Cermaq is currently advertising the position, including on www.intrafish.no. According to the ad, the application deadline is ASAP. Recruitment bureau Visindi is responsible for finding candidates.

Knut Kvammen Eide, a senior management consultant at Visindi, had little to say about the process.

“We have worthy candidates,” Eide told IntraFish.

He declined to say whether these are candidates from the aquaculture industry or other industries, or whether they are external or internal candidates.

His group expects the process to be completed in November.

IntraFish has been unsuccessful in attempts to contact Cermaq CEO Geir Molvik for comment in connection with this article.

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