Knutsen NYK Carbon Carriers (KNCC) is ringing the changes ahead of its next phase of growth.

In a generational shift, the liquid CO2 (LCO2) carrier start-up has promoted chief technical officer Oliver Hagen-Smith to be chief executive from 1 May.

He is taking over from Anders Lepsoe, who will become chairman due to taking on a new role within Japanese shareholder NYK, which owns KNCC with Norway’s Knutsen Group.

Veteran shipping executive Svein Steimler stepped down as chairman of the joint venture on 1 April.

In 2023, he resigned as president and chief executive of NYK Group Europe after 27 years at the company, being succeeded by former Stena Rederi boss Carl-Johan Hagman.

Lepsoe has been appointed managing director for NYK Europe in Norway.

Naval architect Hagen-Smith joined Knutsen in 2009.

He will be responsible for furthering strategic development and daily operations, KNCC said.

Lepsoe added that he has thoroughly enjoyed his task of developing the company into an internationally recognised organisation since it was formed in 2022.

He said KNCC is the “LCO2 marine transporter of choice of many partners and future partners to come”.

The incoming chairman said he is looking forward to continuing to support KNCC in his new role.

Lepsoe told TradeWinds he will be looking after NYK’s overall business ventures with Knutsen, including Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers.

He was group CEO of Norwegian tanker and bulker owner for 11 years to 2020.

Strong shareholder backing

Lepsoe was previously acting global head of shipping in Oslo for lender DNB during a nine-year stint there, and worked at Statoil before that.

KNCC said the new leadership combination ensures stability and continuity, backed by “strong shareholder support”.

The company will be targeting new business based on low cost, optionality and flexibility, it added.

In June last year, KNCC won approval from classification society DNV for a new pressurised containment system that will advance its plans to build a new generation of LCO2 carriers.

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