Maersk fires CEO, considers break-up

Maersk fires CEO, considers break-up
Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller - Maersk

A. P. Moller-Maersk could be split up into separate companies according to its chairman after announcing Group CEO Nils Andersen is to be replaced by Søren Skou, current head of Maersk Line.

Chairman Michael Pram Rasmussen told The Financial Times: “We are looking into if we have the right structure: should we be a group as we are today or might it be an idea to have a number of different separate businesses instead?”

Rasmussen added that it was “the board’s decision” to replace Mr Andersen, stating: ““If we want to survive the next 100 years — and that’s really our agenda — you have to be ready to make changes”.

Currently, Maersk’s subsidiaries include container shipping’s biggest carrier Maersk Line and global port terminal operator APM Terminals (APMT) as well as an oil exploration unit and drilling rigs amongst others.

Over the last year, the container shipping industry climate of rock-bottom freight rates and mass overcapacity has severely impacted the finances of many global carriers including Maersk which saw its group profit fall 86% in Q1 2016.

Andersen, who will leave Maersk Group, stated that while he is proud of his results, “it is the right time for both me and A.P. Møller-Mærsk to make a change.”

He added that he was looking forward to “having a bit more time with my family after many years of constant work”.

Skou has been employed by A.P. Møller-Mærsk since 1983 and member of the executive board since 2006. In 2012 he was appointed CEO of Maersk Line. He will remain in this position in addition to his position as CEO for the Maersk Group.

Rasmussen highlighted Skou’s “ability to adapt quickly to market changes” while Skou said: “The fast-paced changes of this world demand that we can adapt quickly, easily and at a minimal cost while retaining the focus on each Business Unit. Our future set-up must effectively respond to these challenges”.

The changes are effective as of July 1, 2016.