March 18, 2019 / 7:07 AM / 3 months ago

Norsk Hydro appoints new CEO amid ongoing Brazil woes

OSLO, March 18 (Reuters) - Norsk Hydro, one of the world’s largest aluminium makers, said on Monday it will replace its chief executive in May amid a production curtailment at its Brazilian plants.

Svein Richard Brandtzaeg, CEO of Hydro for a decade, will be replaced by Hilde Merete Aasheim, who has been head of the company’s key Primary Metal unit since 2008.

The Norwegian metals producer has seen its share price dive by about 40 percent in the last 13 months following a court-ordered shutdown of parts of its Brazilian operation that was triggered by a spill from one of its plants.

“I am confident that we have what it takes to turn a current challenging situation, for Hydro and for the global aluminium industry, into opportunities that will build the company for the future,” Aasheim said.

Trine Skei Grande, head of Norway’s Liberal Party and a member of the centre-right coalition government, applauded the appointment of a woman to lead Hydro.

“Norsk Hydro gets a female chief executive. That was about time,” Skei Grande tweeted.

The Norwegian government is Hydro’s largest shareholder with a stake of 34 percent. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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