Espersen, the Denmark-headquartered seafood business, has appointed former Orkla executive Tino Bendix as CEO.

He replaces Klaus Nielsen who is retiring after being at the helm of the business for 25 years.

Espersen, a processor of frozen fish blocks, frozen fillets, specials cuts, and breaded and puff pastry fish products, with a focus on white fish species such as cod, haddock, hoki and Alaska pollock, only had production in its domestic market when Nielsen joined as CFO 37 years ago.

Now it has production plants and sales offices in France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, the UK and Vietnam.

Bendix, who also becomes CEO of Espersen’s holding company Insepa,
has 14 years of experience as CEO across three different companies and before that management positions in the food industry and FMCG market. He was previously the CEO of Norwegian food group Orkla’s Danish operation.

Espersen said his core competences include formulating core strategies, improving profitability, and strengthening brand equity.

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On Nielsen’s retirement, chair of the board Flemming Enevoldsen said: “I have cherished our close cooperation which has been strengthened during recent years of international turmoil including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, our exit from Russia and the very volatile inflationary business environment.”

He added: “I am pleased to welcome Tino Bendix as our new CEO. Tino was selected amongst a strong field of candidates in a thorough process, and I am confident that his personality, international background, and strong food industry experience compile the right fit for Espersen.”

After stepping down as CEO on 5 August, Nielsen and Bendix will work closely together for the remainder of the month before Nielsen steps into a senior advisor role until January when he formally retires.

Espersen has had only four CEOs since 1937.

New boss Bendix said: “Espersen’s credo ‘we say what we do and we do what we say’ resonates deeply with me. I look forward to evolving the company and driving growth while upholding the values that make Espersen special.”

Espersen’s turnover last year was around €350m ($375m) but following its purchase of Iceland Seafood International’s UK operations last year, which included a coated-fish facility in Grimsby on England’s east coast, it is expected that turnover for 2024 will be closer to €600m.