Utror, the company of which Lovundlaks is the principal owner, has announced the appointment of ex-SalMar Olav-Andreas Ervik as its new CEO. With this recruitment, the Helgeland (Norway) company makes a strong commitment to strengthening its investment in offshore aquaculture. The new CEO will take up his new position on 3 October.
A long career and experience in offshore aquaculture
Olav-Andreas Ervik, now 46 years old, started his career as a smoker in 1994 and since then has been “going through the ranks”, which gave him considerable operational experience from traditional farming. Thus, step by step, he became CEO of SalMar, a position he left to become CEO of SalMar Aker Ocean at the time the company was established as an independent business. His involvement in the development of the offshore aquaculture venture adds to his over 25 years of experience in the aquaculture industry through management positions in SalMar, but also Lerøy Midnor, Scottish Seafarms, and Lerøy Hydrotech. With his appointment, the current CEO, Mathias Iversen, moves to the position of CFO, while the current project manager, Lars Konrad Johnsen, becomes interim chairman of the board.
Precisely, it was Lars Konrad Johnsen, chairman of Utror, who welcomed the new CEO. “Olav-Andreas is among the foremost leaders we have in the Norwegian farming industry. In addition to being a highly competent and experienced manager, he has values and thoughts about the future that we at Utror and Lovundlaks recognize very well. As we are now strengthening our investment and entering a new phase, we are naturally very satisfied with getting Olav-Andreas on the team”, he said.
Ervik, for his part, has emphasized that, through the employment process, he feels he has gotten to know Utror and Lovundlaks well and has highlighted their commonalities. “Principal owner Lovundlaks is a company steeped in tradition with a very strong and sharp operational focus, which has produced – and continues to produce – good results. This focus is very important for success also at sea, and is something I also place high on my agenda when new ways of operating are to be developed. I feel that we have very similar goals, values – and not least ambitions for the aquaculture industry”, he said. “With this as a starting point, I am very much looking forward to embarking on new and exciting tasks during the autumn, and to developing an HTH [offshore aquaculture or its acronym in Norwegian] venture based in Nordland together with the rest of the team in Utror”.
New jobs on the Helgeland coast
Jacob Palmer Meland, general manager of Lovundlaks, the principal owner of Utror, has also welcomed Ervik’s arrival. “Lovundlaks’ ambition is to be a guarantor of jobs on the Helgeland coast – also for future generations. If Utror is to succeed in realizing its ambition to take a leading role in the development of HTH outside Helgeland, it is critical to have the right expertise”, he stated. “With Olav-Andreas on the team, we get a general manager with in-depth knowledge of both coastal farming and the establishment of sea-based farming, and who also possesses the personal qualities that we need to succeed. We are very happy to find this expertise and experience in Nordland, and we will now build up a sharp team around Olav-Andreas to facilitate an accelerated investment in Utror”.
On its Facebook page, meanwhile, Lovundlaks welcomed Olav-Andreas Ervik by recalling its origins. “There is something historic about this appointment, about 50 years ago Steinar and Hans-Petter wrote the following; ‘The external conditions should indicate that it is possible to operate food fish production in Helgeland. Although we have not yet attempted farming in floating ponds, the results from Hitra and Frøya are promising’. For those who know the industry and Olav-Andreas, they know that, among other things, he has led Frøya-based Salmar’s pioneering investment in offshore aquaculture. Now, 50 years after Steinar and Hans-Petter were inspired by others to break barriers, the results from Frøya again look promising. We are therefore very happy that we have managed to link Olav-Andreas’ unique expertise to Utror, and we look forward to accelerating the investment in aquaculture at sea in Helgeland together!”, they shared.
According to the announcement, and in addition to strong regulatory progress, with this appointment, Utror enters a new phase in which the company’s ambition to take a leading role in the development of HTH outside Helgeland will be realized. Both, Utror and Lovundlaks, worked actively over the past year to get it. A triggering factor for accelerated investment in Utror was the Directorate of Fisheries’ recommendation to include Trænabanken in the impact assessment of HTH last July. In connection with this appointment, the company will establish a district office in Leknes in Lofoten.