The merry-go-round of job changes continued to spin in March in what is shaping up to be a busy year for job shifts in the seafood industry.

Processing equipment giant Marel names new finance chief

Icelandic processing equipment manufacturer Marel named Sebastiaan Boelen as its new chief financial officer in March. He replaces Stacey Katz who is stepping down immediately after spending almost 10 years with the company.

Boelen has more than 25 years of experience in international CFO and financial roles, working across a number of industries, including industrials, food and beverage and technology.

Most recently he spent four years at UK-based utility company Southern Water, where he served as group chief financial officer. Prior to that, he held CFO and senior financial roles at Arrow Global, SPI Group and Black & Decker, among others.

It is the latest in a series of senior executive changes at Marel over the past few months.

Sebastiaan Boelen Photo: Marel

US scallop producer snaps up industry veteran to beef up foodservice drive

Massachusetts-based processor and distributor Northern Wind appointed Andrea Zurkan as senior director of foodservice sales.

Zurkan brings more than two decades of foodservice sales experience to her new role.

She previously worked for Massachusetts-based seafood wholesaler Eastern Fisheries and was director of national accounts for US canned seafood brand Chicken of the Sea.

Zurkan also worked for Mar-Lees Seafood as an account manager and at US Foods as a seafood buyer and merchandiser.

Andrea Zurkan Photo: Andrea Zurkan/Linkedin

Peter Pan sales manager moves on

Matt Frazier left his role as regional sales manager with Alaska processor Peter Pan Seafood to join Bumble Bee Foods subsidiary Anova Food as its new director of sales.

Frazier, who was hired by Peter Pan in 2022 when the company was focused on growing value-added domestic product sales, joined Anova Food in March. Anova is a sushi-quality tuna sourcing company based in North America.

Matt Frazier Photo: Peter Pan

US smoked salmon giant appoints COO to new strategy role

Acme Smoked Fish appointed Gabriel Viteri to a new role in which he will work closely with the company’s new CEO to shape business strategy – including possible acquisitions – at North America’s largest smoked salmon supplier.

Brooklyn, New York-based Acme said Viteri – the company’s COO for the last seven years – would serve as a strategic consultant to CEO Eduardo Carbajosa, who was appointed in January.

As chief of new business ventures, the company said, Viteri's focus would be to shape “new business growth strategy, including new venture strategy development, M&A and strategic partnerships, in addition to identifying growth opportunities into adjacent industries.”

Viteri will also lead Acme’s innovation efforts.

Gabriel Viteri Photo: Acme Smoked Fish

Former Peter Pan CEO joins Silver Bay

The former CEO of Alaska processor Peter Pan Seafood is joining Alaska rival Silver Bay Seafoods as part of a restructuring that will see Silver Bay co-founder Richard Riggs step into an advisory role.

Kevin Bixler, who left Peter Pan earlier this year, will join the group as chief revenue and business development officer, a job that includes overseeing the sales and logistics team, according to the memo.

Riggs, who co-founded the company in 2007 and served as its first CEO, will assist Bixler in the transition.

UK canned seafood giant John West names new managing director

Thai Union-owned canned seafood giant John West named a new managing director to replace Paul Stephenson, who left the company last month.

Mark Doherty, previously commercial director at John West, took over the reins of the company on March 12.

He will lead all John West entities, including the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, and export markets.

Doherty has been with John West for 15 years and has held a variety of positions in key account management and commercial roles. He has been commercial director for six years.

Mark Doherty Photo: John West

Nueva Pescanova appoints new finance chief

Spanish fisheries and processing giant Nueva Pescanova appointed Pablo Pomares as its new group chief financial officer (CFO).

Pomares joined the company in February, replacing Carlos Lopez Jall, who stepped down from the role at the start of February after almost two years in the position.

Pomares was group CFO at the €330 million ($360 million) turnover Foodiverse, a European producer, processor and distributor of fruit and vegetable products with operations in Spain and Italy.

Prior to that, he held the group CFO role at European chocolate company Natra, and before that was group CFO of olive oil giant Deoleo, which owns global brands such as Bertolli, Carapelli, Carbonell, Figaro, and Friol among others.

Pablo Pomares Photo: LinkedIn

Peter Pan's vice president of retail sales departs

Michael De Caro, who was brought on in June 2021 as the new vice president of retail sales and product development at Alaska seafood processor Peter Pan Seafood, resigned in March.

De Caro is now the managing director of Pandion Seafood, a Washington state-based company he founded. The company supplies an array of seafood items.

Michael De Caro Photo: Peter Pan

Nissui-owned Alaska pollock producer taps new COO

Alaska seafood processor UniSea, a subsidiary of Nissui, hired Dustin Hamilton to serve as the company's new chief operating officer.

Hamilton comes from the law firm Le Gros Buchanan & Paul, P.S., where he served as a director. At the Seattle firm, Hamilton specialized in civil litigation for maritime law.

In his new role, Hamilton will be collaborating "in most aspects of UniSea's operation, production and team-building endeavors," he said on a LinkedIn post.

He will also work on reducing UniSea's environmental footprint, costs and increase its efficiency in the use of Alaska fishery resources.

Former Marel executive takes over at Norwegian equipment maker

Sigurdur Olason, the former managing director of Icelandic processing equipment manufacturer Marel's fish division, was appointed CEO of Norwegian processing technology provider Optimar International.

Olason was appointed executive vice president of Marel Fish in 2014, where he remained for almost six years.

In 2021, he became CEO of the startup Green Fuel, a company focusing on energy transition in the fishing and cargo fleet in Iceland.

In February, Iceland-based Kaldbakur, the investment vehicle for the owners of Icelandic seafood giant Samherji, acquired Optimar from German investment firm Franz Haniel & Cie.

As part of Kaldbakur's portfolio, Optimar will continue to operate as an independent company.

Sigurdur Olason Photo: Optimar

Dutch processor appoints former Walmart, Slade Gorton executives to help expand global reach

Dutch seafood processor Visscher Seafood Group appointed two industry veterans to its advisory board as it continues to expand its global reach.

Arjan Both, former senior vice president of global food sourcing at Walmart, and Patrice Flanagan, former vice president at US seafood distributor Slade Gorton, both joined the group's board.

Both have an extensive background in the retail and consumer goods sectors, having held positions at companies such as Ahold, Unilever, and Walmart.

New CEO takes the helm at Australia's biggest shrimp farmer

Australian shrimp farmer Seafarms Group (SFG), the company behind the embattled Project Sea Dragon (PSD), hired a new CEO.

PSD Commercial Director Peter Fraser took the reins from current CEO Rod Dyer.

The project, a huge land-based shrimp farm in Australia's Northern Territories, recently launched an appeal against a court order it be liquidated.

For 14 years before joining SFG, Fraser was the proprietor and managing director of Perth-based Ocean and Earth Seafoods, which specializes in high-end seafood products.

Former Royal Greenland CEO appointed chairman of Danish trading giant

Mikael Thinghuus, the former longtime CEO of Royal Greenland, was appointed chairman of Danish trading giant Nowaco.

Thinghuus first joined the board of directors of Nowaco in August 2022 to help "lift it to the next level in the seafood market."

He announced in January of that year he was stepping down from his role as CEO of Royal Greenland, the world's largest supplier of coldwater shrimp and Greenland halibut, after 11 years at the helm.

A global trader of frozen meats, fish, seafood and vegetables, Nowaco is based in Aalborg, Denmark, and has more than 185 employees in offices in 25 countries.

Mikael Thinghuus Photo: IntraFish / Lola Navarro

Red Lobster hires bankruptcy expert as new CEO

US seafood restaurant chain Red Lobster quietly replaced short-term CEO Horace Dawson with an executive known for his work leading failing restaurant chains through bankruptcies.

Jonathan Tibus replaced Dawson, who only served as the CEO for six months as he worked to address ongoing challenges facing the restaurant.

Tibus, who served as a managing director for the US consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal for 21 years, has led US restaurants that include Kona Grill and fast-food chain Krystal through Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedures.

Earlier this year, seafood giant Thai Union Group said it would exit its investment in Red Lobster, the largest restaurant chain in the United States.

The company has been a strategic partner and minority investor in Red Lobster since 2016.

Iglo veteran returns to take on company's German fish branding

Anna Nau was appointed brand manager for fish at frozen food giant Iglo Group's German subsidiary Iglo Deutschland.

Nau has already worked at the Hamburg-based company for six months, having been hired as brand manager for prepared and natural vegetables in November last year.

Before that, Nau was marketing manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland at the Aquaculture Stewardship Council for four years, and held the same position at the Marine Stewardship Council through 2018.

But her most recent appointment is not her first stint at Iglo.

Between January 2015 and August 2016 Nau was European brand manager for innovation at Iglo Group in London, before which she held several other roles with the group, including as European assistant brand manager for fish fingers.

Anna Nau Photo: Aquaculture Stewardship Council

New Alaska fisheries council nominee could shake things up on bycatch

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee chose Becca Robbins Gisclair, senior director of Arctic Programs for the NGO Ocean Conservancy, as his first choice to serve on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC).

Gisclair was chosen to replace Anne Vanderhoeven, government affairs director for the Alaska pollock producer Arctic Storm.

The council plays a key role in managing US fisheries such as Alaska pollock under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the primary law governing marine fisheries management in federal waters.

Council members are largely made up of US seafood industry representatives, representatives from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and state agencies in Alaska, Washington state and Oregon.

Becca Robbins Gisclair Photo: Oceana

Alaska groundfish group gains new science director

The Alaska Seafood Cooperative (AKSC), a cooperative fishing group working to manage Bering Sea flatfish and other non-pollock groundfish species, hired Sarah Webster as its science projects director.

Webster replaces the retiring John Gauvin, who spent close to 30 years in the role, beginning in April.

Gauvin will continue some of the science projects already underway for the cooperative.

AKSC is a cooperative of the Amendment 80 fleet that fishes for flatfish, Pacific Ocean perch and Atka mackerel in Alaska.

Webster brings to the role a background in Alaska fisheries science and experience with a broad range of species and user groups.

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