Odfjell has promoted chief operating officer Harald Fotland to become its new boss, replacing Kristian Morch.

He will take over at the Oslo-listed chemical tanker and terminals group on 6 May.

Chairman and biggest shareholder Laurence Odfjell said the company is pleased that an internal candidate has taken on the job.

The appointment was made after a process including external and internal searches.

The chairman added: “Harald has excelled at leading innovative and transformative projects during his time at the company. He has the expertise and experience to ensure continuity and progress, and to further strengthen Odfjell’s industry leadership.”

Morch said in March he wanted to step down to return to Denmark with his family.

No leaving date was set at that time.

Morch will make himself available for the next six months to support “a seamless transition,” the shipowner said.

“On behalf of myself and the board, I would like to express sincere thanks to Kristian for his many contributions to Odfjell during his seven-year tenure,” the chairman said.

“The company has undergone a significant transformation, and is today standing on a solid and efficient platform. We have solved the challenges of the past and are preparing for the future,” he added.

Former Gard and Navy man

Fotland joined Odfjell in 2010 as chief of staff. He was appointed senior vice president of Odfjell Tankers in 2015, and took the role as the company’s first chief operating officer in 2018.

He was formerly a vice president at Norwegian ship insurer Gard and held various positions in the Norwegian navy for 12 years.

“I am excited and honoured to take on the position as CEO of Odfjell,” the new boss said.

“Since 2015, I have had the privilege to take part in growing and transforming Odfjell into the world’s largest deep-sea operator with the most energy efficient chemical tanker fleet in the world,” he added.

Fotland believes the company and sector fundamentals are at their strongest for many years.

He views his core task as ensuring that Odfjell continues to provide world-class services in shipping and at our terminals, he added.