Danish processing giant Espersen is making key management changes at its recently acquired Grimsby site, with Glen Mathews stepping down as managing director.

Espersen acquired the struggling operation from Icelandic Seafood International (ISI) five months ago, and is now "initiating a leadership transition to steer the Grimsby plant towards greater profitability and operational efficiency."

Taking the helm on March 4 to replace Mathews is Stig Nielsen, the current site manager of Espersen's Hasle facility.

Mathews, previously production director at Hilton Seafood, took over as the new managing director of Iceland Seafood UK in January 2022.

In the interim, Espersen's CEO Klaus Nielsen will oversee the site’s operations.

The management changes form part of a wider restructuring, which includes a merger of the Grimsby site's commercial team with the existing Espersen sales organization in Leeds.

"Overall this will create a unified and efficient operational framework," said the group.

Espersen acquired the plant as part of its plan to strengthen its market position in the UK.

"The company is confident that these changes, though challenging, will lead to a more resilient and successful future," it said.

After an on-again, off-again sales process that had been simmering since late 2022, ISI announced in August it had reached an agreement with Espersen to sell all the share capital of the UK operations. The process concluded in September.

The acquisition opens up a "myriad of opportunities" for the company, said Espersen CEO Klaus Nielsen at the time.

The UK market is one of the major seafood markets in Europe, and it is Espersen’s single largest market. For several years it has been Espersen’s strategic intention to establish itself in the UK.

On announcing the deal, Bjarni Armannsson, then the CEO of ISI but who has since stepped down, said after four challenging years in the UK, the group decided to divest the IS UK business "with a substantial loss."

"This investment has been a great cost for the company and its shareholders," he said at the time. "It’s been a very tough market during these years, and we have tried with immense effort to turn this around without success."

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