Tomas Dyrbye aims for board positions after Hansa exit

Following a surprising break with the owner of Hansa Heavy Lift back in August and after spending just one year as CEO of the company, Tomas Dyrbye now plans to pursue a career as professional board member. ShippingWatch has spoken to Tomas Dyrbye.

It came as quite a surprise to Danish and international shipping when American equity fund Oaktree Management, which owns German Hansa Heavy Lift, announced a few weeks ago that the shipping company's CEO since August 1st 2012, Tomas Dyrbye, had resigned with just a day's notice. The subsequent weeks brought no further information regarding the sudden exit, though there have been speculations whether the owner wanted a different profile for the job, a technician rather than a classic shipping man, as Hansa Heavy Lift is increasingly aiming for the oil and gas industry.

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Tomas Dyrbye in sudden exit from Hansa Heavy

Tomsa Dyrbye has agreed with Hansa Heavy Lift not to comment on the reasons for his sudden exit from the company. However, Dyrbye, who has spent a majority of his 30 years in shipping with A.P. Moeller-Maersk, 27 years in total, reveals to ShippingWatch that he is currently considering his future, with specific plans to establish a career as a professional and independent board member and consultant based in Denmark - in Copenhagen, to be more specific, where he hasn't lived since1997.


Tomas Dyrbye has served as chairman of trading company Elof Hansson Trading in Gothenburg for the past two years, and he is also currently chairman of a Danish start-up company, C-leanship, owned by Danish entrepreneur Jesper Hojer and SAAB Ventures in Sweden. The company is based on SAAB's robot technology and has developed a robot controlled machine that can clean a ship below the waterline while the ship is at port.

Hansa Heavy Lift wants to double its business

"I've had these two chairmanships for two years, and I'd like to use them as the basis for new activities. You probably won't see me serving as CEO again. I've received a lot of positive requests already, and I'm hoping for and betting on the fact that there are Danish companies out there who can use an international profile like me," says Tomas Dyrbye, whose family has lived in Denmark since last summer while he served as CEO of Hansa Heavy Lift.

Tomas Dyrbye, 55, originally graduated cand.merc. from the Copenhagen Business School and after a few years with the Danish Foreign Service he began working at the Lindoe Shipyard. Until joining Hansa Heavy Lift last summer, he worked for A.P. Moeller-Maersk, including the executive offices in Copenhagen, previously known as the Group's financial power center, which has fostered several well-known shipping people. Most recently, Tomas Dyrbye headed Maersk's subsidiary Safmarine in Antwerp. Safmarine is now part of Maersk Line.

The 15 years he has spent abroad include time spent in the United States, India, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, and most recently, Germany.

"With so many years spent abroad, I believe I can contribute with an international mindset, a cultural and commercial understanding of how businesses are put together at a global level and in different parts of the world, and I think this might be interesting for Danish companies looking to expand or looking to change their focus from Europe to becoming more international," says Tomas Dyrbye, who, due to the widespread relationship business character of shipping, has established a large personal network during his career.

Tomas Dyrbye plans to spend the coming months in Hamburg, which he refers to as Europe's real center for shipping, though other cities are claiming that title for their own:

"Of course I have some networking opportunities in Hamburg that I wan't to draw on, but I do want to move back home to Denmark."

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