Orkla chairman Stein Erik Hagen (l) and new CEO Peter Ruzicka (r) [photo credit: Vegard Grøtt / NTB scanpix]

Orkla chairman Stein Erik Hagen (l) and new CEO Peter Ruzicka (r) [photo credit: Vegard Grøtt / NTB scanpix]

Orkla's new chief executive, Peter Ruzicka, took the helm at the Nordic consumer goods giant yesterday (10 February).

Ruzicka replaces CEO Åge Korsvold, who has spent under two years in charge of Orkla. The company did not provide a reason for Korsvold's departure but Norwegian reports of a spilt between the chief executive and board emerged at the end of last year.

Korsvold took charge of Orkla in 2012 after differences between then chief executive Bjørn Wiggen and chairman Stein Erik Hagen.

Ruzicka has sat on the Orkla board since 2008 and has close ties with Orkla chairman - and largest shareholder - Hagen.

During his career, Ruzicka has served as MD of deputy CEO of Sweden-based retailer ICA and regional chief of Ahold's operations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Since 2006 has been MD of Canica, Hagen's family-owned company.

Under Korsvold, Orkla embarked on an ambitious transformation process in a drive to become a regional branded consumer goods company. Orkla is engaged in the disposal of assets in various industries - from chemicals to power - as it focuses on turning around its consumer goods assets.

However, the group has been hit by declining profitability. Moves to restructure operations and cut costs have reportedly hit morale.

Separately, Orkla has also appointed a new chief financial officer, Statkraft's CFO Jens Bjørn Staff.