Oslo / NO. (ok) The Board of Directors of Norway’s Orkla ASA has appointed Nils K. Selte as new Group President and CEO. He succeeds Jaan Ivar Semlitsch, who has headed the Group since August 2019. Selte took up his position on 11 April 2022.
«Jaan Ivar Semlitsch has led the company through the difficult time of pandemic, during which Orkla has managed to maintain its good delivery performance and cash flow. Orkla has made good progress in prioritized growth areas and carried out a number of strategic acquisitions,» says Orkla Board Chairman Stein Erik Hagen.
«I want to thank the Board of Directors and Board Chairman for our collaboration. I would also like to thank the Group Executive Board and all the competent employees in Orkla who have persevered over a long period of time during the pandemic and now also during the invasion of Ukraine, which has required and still requires extraordinary efforts around the clock. Orkla has done well, even in these difficult times with increased raw material prices. Moreover, good structural changes have been made, as I see it, in several business areas during this period. There has naturally been more focus on operations during such extraordinary times, and Orkla’s values have remained rock solid: Trustworthy, brave and inspiring. This is an Orkla that is well equipped for the future,» states Jaan Ivar Semlitsch.
«We are now entering a phase that calls for a new form of leadership. Orkla’s Board of Directors and Semlitsch have agreed that a change of leadership will be in Orkla’s best interests. The strategy communicated on Orkla’s Capital Markets Day on 23 November last year remains the same, but the Board wishes to accelerate its implementation. We want to establish a corporate structure and culture that creates greater value and gives the individual businesses greater autonomy and responsibility. Nils K. Selte knows Orkla well. He has long experience of leading major restructuring processes and developing portfolio companies,» says Stein Erik Hagen.
Nils K. Selte has been employed in Stein Erik Hagen’s family company Canica since 2001, as both CFO and CEO. Selte has been a member of Orkla’s Board of Directors since 2014, in addition to chairing Orkla’s Audit Committee in the same period.
«In the time to come we will adopt a more dynamic approach to our portfolio, without reducing our focus on our biggest markets and categories. We will also be open to disposals, partnerships or stock exchange listing of businesses if we find this expedient,» says Nils K. Selte.
Atle Vidar Nagel Johansen has at the same time been appointed Executive Vice President in charge of Orkla’s branded consumer goods business, which will consist of four business areas: Orkla Foods, Orkla India, Orkla Confectionery + Snacks and Orkla Care. He will report to the Group President and CEO.
«I am glad that Atle Vidar Nagel Johansen has agreed to head our branded consumer goods business. These are difficult times, when the situation in Ukraine will impact on both the availability and prices of a number of raw materials and other input factors. Moreover, we are seeing a surge in energy prices from an already high level. We also expect that a lengthy conflict will create greater uncertainty and imbalances in global flows of goods,» Selte says.
Nagel Johansen has been at Orkla since 1993 and has been a member of the Group Executive Board since 2012. A new CEO will be appointed for Orkla Foods. Ingvill T. Berg and Hege Holter Brekke will report to Nagel Johansen and will continue to head Orkla Confectionery + Snacks and Orkla Care, respectively. Orkla India will become a separate business area, and will continue to be headed by Sanjay Sharma.
«I look forward to leading Orkla’s branded consumer goods business going forward. We have very solid organisations and strong market positions that can and will be further developed. It will be important to increase our pace of growth and achieve our targets, both in our core businesses and in priority areas such as plant-based products and consumer health. In the present extremely challenging situation in our supply markets, it will be crucial to maintain a good delivery performance and address the substantial cost increases that we are now starting to see,» says Atle Vidar Nagel Johansen.
Orkla Food Ingredients and Orkla Consumer + Financial Investments will be separate business areas under the continued leadership of Johan Clarin and Thomas Ljungqvist, respectively. Both of them will report to the Group President and CEO.
Orkla is a leading supplier of branded consumer goods and concept solutions to the consumer, out-of-home and bakery markets in the Nordics, Baltics and selected markets in Central Europe and India. Orkla is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and its headquarters is in Oslo. In 2018, the Group had a turnover of NOK 41 billion, and approximately 18,500 employees as of 31 December 2018.