Carlsberg appoints head of services provider ISS as new CEO

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FILE PHOTO: A Carlsberg beer sits on a table in a restaurant in Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -Danish brewer Carlsberg has appointed the current head of services provider ISS as its new chief executive, the company said on Thursday.

Jacob Aarup-Andersen, a Danish national, will replace Dutchman Cees ‘t Hart, who said earlier this month he would retire at the end of September.

Shares in Carlsberg extended gains on the news, closing 4.3% higher, while ISS’ shares fell 7%.

The CEO’s starting date will be announced later, the world’s third largest brewer said in a statement.

“Jakob was very clearly our preferred candidate,” Chairman Henrik Poulsen told journalists on a conference call.

“He is a visionary leader and represents a strong combination of strategic, analytical and financial skills,” Poulsen said.

Aarup-Andersen became CEO at ISS in 2020 after Denmark’s financial regulator rejected him for the top job at Danske Bank, on the grounds that his banking experience was not sufficient.

“For me, Carlsberg is more than just a company. It’s part of Denmark’s cultural heritage,” Aarup-Andersen said, adding that he will not make changes to the company’s current strategy.

During Aarup-Andersen’s more than two years at ISS, where he was in charge of 350,000 employees in more than 30 countries, shares have risen around 50%.

Carlsberg’s executive team has undergone large changes in the last year, with former chair Flemming Besenbacher retiring in March and ex-Chief Financial Officer Heine Dalsgaard leaving the company in December.

While Aarup-Andersen does not have a background in the beer or food industry, his appointment could bring some sought-after “innovation or agility” to Carlsberg, Nordnet analyst Per Hansen told Reuters.

“Carlsberg has probably said: We are forced to compromise with industry knowledge. In return we get someone who is very strong in the financial disciplines,” Hansen said.

(Reporting by Louise Breusch Rasmussen, Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, editing by Anna Ringstrom, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Barbara Lewis)

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