Iceland Seafood International has appointed the COO of local peer Brim as its new chief executive.

Ægir Páll Friðbertsson, who has been Brim’s COO for five years, has been named Iceland Seafood International’s (ISI) new CEO.

Friðbertsson is succeeding Bjarni Ármannsson, who has led ISI since January 2019.

At the same time, Sjávarsýn, a holding company fully owned by Ármannsson, has sold its 10.83% stake in ISI to Brim. Through Sjávarsýn, Ármannsson was ISI’s second-largest shareholder, according to the company’s website.

The change in CEO comes a month after ISI sold its UK division to Espersen, a Danish seafood producer. ISI had announced the decision to retain its UK business in February, after two failed attempts to offload the operations, three months after revealing it wanted to exit the market.

Friðbertsson is set to take the reins at ISI on 1 November. He said: “I believe the company has a good potential and I look forward to working with its employees, suppliers and customers to further develop the company.

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“The company has built up a leadership position in Europe and has a first-class track record for a very long time for quality, innovation and reliability of its products.”

Ármannsson described his time in charge at ISI as “a time of learning for me and characterised by volatile externalities that have at times been challenging”.

He added: “The Iceland Seafood group is a strong entity with a very good potential for profitability and growth going forward. Its unique position in delivering quality seafood to its customers, particularly in Europe is something that has been developed for a very long time and remains with many good opportunities.

“I strongly believe in Ægir Páll Friðbertsson, whom I’ve known for many years.  He will be a good leader for Iceland Seafood. His knowledge, drive and persuasive character will drive the company forward.”

In the first half of 2023, ISI booked a 7% rise in group sales to €222.3m ($236.5m).

The company posted “normalised” pre-tax losses of €800,000 versus a pre-tax profit of €3.4m in the first half of 2022. It pointed to lower second-quarter sales, as well as reduced margins from its business in southern Europe, for the pre-tax loss.

ISI ran up a net loss of €15.3m, compared to a loss of €2.9m loss a year earlier.

The losses from ISI’s UK arm were classified as discontinued operations and stood at €13.9m.