Container shipping giant Maersk names new CEO

COPENHAGEN – The world’s largest shipping company, A.P. Moller-Maersk group, has appointed an insider as its new chief executive, sending its shares up more than 9 per cent amid hopes he might help turn the company around.

The Danish conglomerate, which is also an oil company, said Thursday that Soeren Skou, CEO of the container-shipping division Maersk Line, will take over from Nils Smedegaard Andersen next month to “further develop the strategic options.”

Maersk said that Skou would also remain as CEO for Maersk Line, which he has headed since 2012.

Smedegaard Andersen has been “a driving force in building a focused and lean global conglomerate of five core businesses” since he became its CEO in 2007, the Copenhagen-based group said in a statement.

Hit by low oil prices and freight rates, Maersk has seen profits and revenue plummet in recent quarters and is focused on cutting capacity in line with falling demand. Last year, it reported a net profit of $925 million, down from $5.2 billion in 2014, as revenue fell 15 per cent to $40.3 billion.

Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgard said Maersk had needed “to send a signal to the markets.”

The company’s share price jumped more than 9 per cent higher in afternoon trading in Copenhagen to 8,920 kroner.