Maersk executives enter Hamburg Süd management

Two prominent senior executives from Maersk Line will join the management team of German container carrier Hamburg Süd. The carrier has also tapped a new CEO from its own ranks for when Ottmar Gast steps down. The changes are contingent on the finalization of the acquisiton.

Photo: Bodo Marsk/AP/Polfoto

Two high-ranking executives from Maersk Line will enter the management of Hamburg Süd once the acquisition of the German container carrier is completed.

Søren Toft, COO of Maersk Line, will join the supervisory board of the Hamburg-based carrier, while Jakob Wegge-Larsen will be part of the executive board as CFO. Wegge-Larsen currently serves in a similar capacity at Maersk Line Operations.

The changes also mean that longtime Hamburg Süd CEO Ottmar Gast will step down, as expected. He will instead become chairman of the board of directors, according to a press release.

New CEO of Hamburg Süd will be Arnt Vespermann, who will be promoted internally at the carrier. He joined Hamburg Süd's management in 2009.

Going forward, the executive management of the German carrier will consist of CEO Arnt Vespermann, CFO Jakob Wegge-Larsen, and Frank Smet, who will be responsible for sales and marketing as well as network and logistics.

Peter Frederiksen and Heino Schmidt will both leave the company. Frederiksen vil leave this june while Schmidt will take up a position at the Oetker Group at an undisclosed date.

The executive overhaul is contingent on the regulatory approval of Maersk Line's acquisition of Hamburg Süd by relevant authorities. The EU has already cleared the transaction, which has a price tag of EUR 3.7 billion.


Arnt Vespermann, who currently serves on the Hamburg Süd executive board, will be promoted to CEO. Photo: Hamburg Süd

"We have strong confidence in the Hamburg Süd Management Board and like to thank Ottmar Gast for his continued and valuable involvement after Closing. We also look forward to welcoming all our future colleagues into the Maersk family and together build an even stronger company," says Maersk Group and Maersk Line CEO Søren Skou in a press release.

The transaction between Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd was announced in December 2016. Shortly thereafter, Gast announced that he would step down from the carrier in late 2017 once the acquisition is completed.

It was said at the time that he planned to retire, but it has now been announced that he will instead continue as chairman.

"I have been with Hamburg Süd for more than 20 years, and I will now be with the company until the transaction is completed. These are emotional times for Hamburg Süd – and for me as wel. My retirement will now begin in late 2017, and it will likely coincide with Maersk's takeover," Gast told Hamburger Abendblatt at the time.

While the two Danes join the Hamburg Süd executive board when Maersk Line takes over the carrier, similarly Danish Peter Fredriksen will leave the German container carrier's executive board.

English Edit: Daniel Logan Berg-Munch

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