Norway-based salmon farming business Atlantic Sapphire has announced a new chief executive to take over from founder Johan Andreassen.

Pedro Courard will take the wheel from the founder on 1 August, around six months after Andreassen announced that he intended to step down.

Courard has been involved in the salmon industry in Chile for over 25 years, holding different management positions, such as most recently managing director of Cermaq Chile, the country’s second-largest salmon producer.

Andreassen said: “I am very pleased that after a long and thorough process Pedro Courard has been selected as my successor. Pedro has a strong operational track record from the Chilean salmon industry and I am convinced that he will be a good match to lead the Miami operations and take the company to operational excellence in Phase 1 and beyond.

“The strategic position of Atlantic Sapphire is stronger today than ever, being the sole land-based salmon producer at scale in the vast and growing US market with a unique location that enables the Company to grow its production to unmatched scale, sustainably.”

Andreassen will remain in the CEO role until Courard has relocated to Florida in the US and will also stay in the company for a period to “secure a seamless transition”.

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Courard said: “I am extremely excited and I feel honoured to have been selected to lead the next steps of the largest land-based production project in the world, with all the opportunities and challenges it involves for me on a personal level.

“I’m convinced that land-based salmon farming has the potential to disrupt the aquaculture industry and solve many of the challenges that global protein production faces today.”

Land-based salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire was founded in 2010 and today has 158 employees and around $342.3m in total assets, according to its latest annual report.

Circa 99% of the group’s revenue comes from the US, where it owns a land-based Atlantic salmon farm in Miami, Florida.

In 2023, Atlantic Sapphire generated $14m in revenue, down from $19m in 2022. The group returned an operating loss of $126m compared to a loss of $62m the year before.

Adjusted EBITDA stood at a drop of $63m in 2023, an improvement on $73m the year before.

In the annual report, the board said: “2023 was a challenging year for the group, where continuous positive operational improvements on the operational side were overshadowed by maintenance work and temperature issues.

“However, it was also a year that sets the stage for improved biological and financial performance in 2024, with better operational stability and water quality going into 2024 than the group has ever seen.”