Mats Berglund is making a surprise return to Hong Kong bulker owner Pacific Basin less than 30 months after quitting as chief executive.

The 61-year-old Swede has been appointed a non-executive director of the handysize giant, according to a regulatory filing.

He takes up the post, which has an initial term of three years, on 2 January 2024. For his troubles he will receive an annual pay packet of HKD800,000 ($102,700).

Berglund quit Pacific Basin in July 2021 after nine years at the Hong Kong-listed shipowner and returned to his native Sweden.

During his time at Pacific Basin, Berglund led its exit from all non-core business segments and guided the growth of its core dry bulk handysize and supramax business from 34 owned ships in 2012 to 117 owned ships and an overall fleet including chartered tonnage of more than 250 vessels.

At the time of his departure, Berglund, a native of Gothenburg who has homes in Sweden and Florida, told TradeWinds that the decision to leave was due to personal considerations, including care for ageing parents in Sweden.

The $750,000-a-year post of chief executive at Pacific Basin was taken over by Maersk veteran Martin Fruergaard.

Pacific Basin said Berglund’s “strong professional background in the maritime industry and impeccable track record will be beneficial to the company’s business and development”.

He is also on the boards of US-listed product tanker specialist Ardmore Shipping, Northern Marine Group and Canadian-listed shipowner Algoma Central Corp.

Pacific Basin has also appointed private equity industry veteran Alex Emery, 54, to its board of directors for three years and at an annual salary of HKD 800,000.

Hong Kong-based Emery is partner and chairman, Asia at Permira, a global private equity investment firm with more than $82bn under management, but is expected to step down from the post at the end of 2023.

Private equity veteran Alex Emery is joining the board of Pacific Basin. Photo: Permira