Torunn Knoph Halhjem, a key architect of Seattle-based Trident Seafoods' European whitefish business, has left the company, sources familiar with her plans told IntraFish.

Halhjem, who most recently served as Trident's senior director of global species, joined the company over 20 years ago.

Halhjem, a Norway native, has worked in Europe, the United States, Japan and Russia in everything from factory trawlers to board rooms over her two-decade career.

Halhjem has played a key role on multiple industry bodies. She serves on the board of the Groundfish Forum, and has held positions on Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) committees.

Her departure, announced broadly in an email earlier this week, came as a surprise to several in the industry.

Halhjem's departure is a blow for Trident, who has relied on the executive both as a key asset in its European sales and marketing strategy, as well as a key personality at the group and the whitefish industry.

"She's the face of the pollock industry worldwide," one Alaska pollock industry source told IntraFish.

Halhjem, who is based in Seattle, did not discuss her future plans. IntraFish could not reach Haljhem for comment.

Trident Seafoods CEO Joe Bundrant declined to comment to IntraFish on Halhjem's departure.

Here's Halhjem at the Women in Seafood Leadership Summit in 2018, discussing the challenges and opportunities of being a women in the male-dominated seafood sector (starts at 3:57)