CEO of wind farm group Orsted to step down

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Orsted ORSTED.CO Chief Executive Henrik Poulsen has resigned after eight years at the helm of the Danish offshore wind farm developer, the company said on Monday.

Poulsen, who became Orsted CEO in 2012, spearheaded the group’s transformation from a diversified utility with oil and gas activities into the world’s s biggest developer of offshore wind farms.

“We regret his decision to resign as CEO of Ørsted, but we, of course, respect his wish to free up more time for other activities,” board chairman Thomas Thune Andersen said.

“Henrik has led a profound and highly successful transformation of Ørsted over the past eight years.”

The company is in the middle of a $30 billion investment programme as it seeks to become one of a handful of future “renewable majors” leading a shift away from fossil fuels.

The board of directors has started a process to find a replacement and will look both internally and outside the company, it said in a statement, adding that Poulsen would stay on until Jan. 31 at the latest.

Additionally, Poulsen was nominated for a seat on Orsted’s board, which will be on the agenda at the company’s next annual general meeting in March, 2021.

Poulsen said he had not made any decisions about his future yet, but said his sole focus would be on leaving his role as chief executive “in an orderly fashion and without missing a beat”.

“I’ll find other challenges where I can make a contribution. Time will show where, when, and what type of role,” he said.

Orsted said Poulsen’s resignation would not affect Orsted’s financial guidance nor its expected investment level this year.

Poulsen’s resignation was announced after the Danish stock market closed on Monday.

Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Edmund Blair and Jane Merriman