The new CEO of the Maersk Group's logistics and transport leg, Damco, will head to the Hague with fresh experience in how to downscale a company - arriving to take control of a company looking to grow.
Hanne B. Sørensen has spent 19 years with Maersk, most recently serving two years as CEO of the Group's somewhat struggling tanker company, which has achieved multi-million dollar deficits and has had to perform massive divestments. However, Hanne B. Sørensen tells ShippingWatch that the tanker division she hands over to Maersk Line COO Morten Engelstoft, who wlll take over as CEO of Maersk Tankers, is a considerably more streamlined unit. After January 1st 2014, the focus will be on growing Damco, she says:
"I know about this field from my time at Maersk Line, which used to handle logistics. I hope to be able to turn Damco into a growth venture. We're looking at a company that has a significantly smaller capital need than the shipping companies. The company has to be scalable, that is, we need to find out exactly how to make Damco ready for both growth and acquisitions, and it's a process that's already underway," Hanne B. Sørensen tells ShippingWatch in relation to the appointment.
Even though she faces a completely new agenda, Hanne B. Sørensen says that the task at hand is similar to the one she embarked on when she took the reins of Maersk Tankers in 2011.
"When you step in as head of a new company, the job at hand is really the same. You ask yourself: What needs to be done here: Maersk Tankers needed to be streamlined, and we've made a lot of progress there. When we've gotten the basic things settled at Damco, we need to grow the company," she says.
The Maersk Tankers divestment process means that the shipping company being passed on to her replacement has been significantly reduced in scope. The next big divestment will reduce the fleet by 15 owned and five chartered VLCCs. Not necessarily a complete exit from the segment, but Maersk has clearly stated plans to become smaller in the segment of large crude oil carriers. And as for the rumour circulating that the company is gearing up to buy ten product tankers, she has - as usual -"no comments."
Hanne B. Sørensen replaces Rolf Habben-Jansen, who will become CEO of Maersk Line's German competitor Hapag-Lloyd, starting July 1st 2014.