Karl Øystein Øyehaug, right, has been with Atlantic Sapphire for six years.

Atlantic Sapphire names new finance chief

Gunnar Aasbo-Skinderhaug will join US land-based salmon farmer from Cermaq after Karl Øystein Øyehaug decides to move on

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Land-based salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire has recruited Cermaq’s global head of finance, Gunnar Aasbo-Skinderhaug, as its new chief financial officer and deputy chief executive, the company said in a press release today.

Aasbo-Skinderhaug will replace Karl Øystein Øyehaug, who has decided to step down from his position as CFO of Florida-based Atlantic Sapphire after six years in the role.

The appointment is effective from July 1, although Øyehaug will remain in the CFO role until Aasbo-Skinderhaug has relocated to Florida (expected during Q3 2024) and will also stay in the company for a period after that to secure a seamless transition.

Gunnar Aasbo-Skinderhaug becomes chief financial officer and deputy chief executive of Atlantic Sapphire from July 1.

Aasbo-Skinderhaug has more than 15 years’ experience from the seafood industry and salmon farming and has had multiple operational executive roles in Cermaq Norway and worked on operational improvements in the Norwegian and Chilean operations of Cermaq, which is owned by Japanese industrial giant Mitsubishi.

He has more than a decade’s experience as CFO, including previously Oslo Stock Exchange-listed white fish company Aker Seafoods, as well as several years of experience with land-based farming, including recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) production.

Path to profitability

Atlantic Sapphire said Gunnar Aasbo-Skinderhaug will strengthen its leadership team, bringing operational and financial experience from the salmon farming industry to secure its path toward profitability. With this appointment, Atlantic Sapphire further aims to enhance its capabilities and ensure readiness for the upcoming phase two expansion project, which will take capacity from around 10,000 tonnes annually to 25,000 tonnes.

“I am proud to get this opportunity in Atlantic Sapphire. The demand for salmon is strong while the industry’s supply cannot keep up. The future of salmon farming includes significant production volumes from land-based farms, and Atlantic Sapphire has long experience and a unique position to serve the greatest salmon market in the world with premium salmon,” Aasbo-Skinderhaug said in the press release.

Atlantic Sapphire board chair Kenneth J Andersen said: “We welcome Gunnar Aasbo-Skinderhaug to our leadership team and are confident that Gunnar, with his broad background, will significantly contribute to the company’s journey towards profitability and growth over the years to come.

Securing financing

“On behalf of the board of directors, we want to thank Karl Øystein Øyehaug for his significant contribution to the company over the past six years serving as CFO, both in terms of developing the company into what it is today, and also securing financing to fulfil the company’s path toward profitability and growth. We’re sorry to see him leave but understand his priorities and wish him all the best in the future.”

Øyehaug has been a familiar face to those interested in Atlantic Sapphire, appearing side by side with chief executive Johan Andreassen on the company’s streamed financial and operational updates.

Andreassen has previously announced his intention to step down as CEO once a suitable replacement can be found, and the company stated today that the search for a new CEO is progressing well and is expected to conclude during the current quarter.