UK – Iceland Seafood International (ISI) has announced the appointment of Ægir Páll Friðbertsson, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of local peer Brim, as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Friðbertsson, who has held the COO position at Brim for five years, will succeed Bjarni Ármannsson, who has led ISI since January 2019.
The CEO transition comes a month after ISI’s sale of its UK division to Espersen, a Danish seafood producer.
This decision followed two unsuccessful attempts to divest the UK operations, as ISI had initially expressed its intention to exit the market three months prior.
Friðbertsson is set to assume the role of CEO at ISI on November 1st. Commenting on his appointment, he expressed optimism about the company’s potential and his eagerness to collaborate with employees, suppliers, and customers to further develop ISI.
He acknowledged the company’s strong position in Europe, emphasizing its longstanding reputation for product quality, innovation, and reliability.
Ármannsson reflected on his tenure as CEO, describing it as a period of learning marked by external challenges.
He expressed confidence in Friðbertsson’s leadership abilities, highlighting their longstanding relationship. Ármannsson believes Friðbertsson’s knowledge, drive, and persuasive skills will drive ISI forward.
In a related development, Sjávarsýn, a holding company fully owned by Ármannsson, has sold its 10.83% stake in ISI to Brim.
This transfer of ownership marks a significant change, as Ármannsson was previously ISI’s second-largest shareholder through Sjávarsýn.
During the first half of 2023, ISI reported a 7% increase in group sales, reaching US$236.5 million.
However, the company posted “normalised” pre-tax losses of US$0.85 million compared to a pre-tax profit of US$3.5 million in the first half of 2022. The pre-tax loss was attributed to lower second-quarter sales and reduced margins in its southern European business.
ISI also recorded a net loss of US$16.1 million, a significant increase from the US$3 million loss reported a year earlier. Notably, losses from ISI’s UK arm were categorized as discontinued operations and amounted to US$14.7 million.
With a new CEO at the helm and changes in ownership, ISI faces both challenges and opportunities as it strives to maintain its strong position in the seafood industry and pursue profitability and growth in the European market.