March 3, 2006
Another Rokke shocker
Stand by for more surprises from the Aker Group. Kjell Inge Rokke, whose recent projects have included the creation of Aker American Shipping and Aker Drilling, is promising more "new and exciting projects."
Rokke, who is Aker's main shareholder, is stepping down as Chairman of the Board.
"I will free up time that I will be able to devote to new and exciting projects for Aker," he says. "Some are on the drawing board, others in their start-up phases with significant potential for value creation. In my opinion, it is beneficial to shareholders, Aker, and Group employees that I keep doing what I believe I do best: adding goal-oriented energy and creativity to select projects. I would not forgive myself if I had not tried to capitalize on these opportunities."
Leif-Arne Langoy as will succeed Rokke as board chairman and will continue to serve as Aker Group CEO. Bengt A. Rem has been appointed general manager in Aker ASA.
In another major change, Aker's current Executive Vice President Martinus Brandal will succeed Inge K. Hansen as Aker Kvaerner President and CEO as of July 1 this year. Hansen will continue to work for the Aker Group as project creator and driver, working closely with Aker Group management.
"Hansen joined Aker Kv¾rner from his position as acting President and CEO of Statoil at a critical phase for both Aker Kvaerner and the entire Aker Group, " recalls Rokke.
"He was offered the challenge of heading Aker Kvaerner--and accepted it-- all in a few hours one Sunday almost precisely two years ago," notes Rokke.
"Within four days, he had cleared his office at Statoil and gotten on the plane, on his way to secure the future of Aker Kv¾rner and Aker. In the course of just a few weeks, the refinancing of Aker Kvaerner had to be secured through bond loans and new equity. Thereafter, he had to lead the new Aker Kvaerner through its critical first period as a separate listed group."
Rokke says that "many of us believed his initial tasks would consume three years--at best. In two years, Hansen has led Aker Kvaerner from one success to the next, and the financial goals we had established for 2006 were exceeded by a solid margin, ahead of time, in 2005. I note with appreciation and deep respect that Hansen finished his run at Aker Kv¾rner earlier than most expected. Inge, Aker and I owe you a big Thank You!"
Rokke says Hansen will take on new challenges centrally in Aker. "I am pleased that his experience and capabilities will continue to benefit the Group in a larger setting, as project creator and driver--working with myself and others. Hansen will, in accord with his own wishes, also have some board memberships outside the Group."