In January last year, Niels Stolt-Nielsen said he would be stepping down as Stolt-Nielsen chief executive.

The intention was to move into the chairman role once a replacement had been found, but 14 months on, the Norwegian is still in the top job after 23 years.

Writing in the Oslo-listed chemical tanker and terminals group’s annual report, the boss said: “The transition was always going to take time, and the search for my successor is ongoing.”

“The focus remains on finding the right person however long it takes, and in the meantime I will remain in my role,” he added.

The company was founded by the CEO’s father, Jacob. The two men are the only people to have run the group in its 63-year history.

Niels Stolt-Nielsen first joined the family company in 1990, becoming a director in 1996 and then CEO in November 2000.

The Stolt-Nielsen family remains the biggest shareholder on 46.76%.

The CEO still has plenty on his plate. The group is likely to go ahead with a long-planned IPO for Stolt Tankers this year, he said earlier in 2023.

The war in Ukraine will continue to affect energy supplies and prices, particularly in Europe, in the coming year, Niels Stolt-Nielsen added in the annual report.

“I also expect it will be some time before inflation is under control, and this, combined with high interest rates, could still cause a global recession,” he warned.

“We are monitoring the potential impact of these factors on our businesses,” the CEO said.

The group remains focused on debt reduction to strengthen the balance sheet, Stolt-Nielsen added.

“Experience tells me our business will be highly resilient and adaptable, even during any potential global recession,” he concluded.