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Atlantic Sapphire CEO resigns, new COO announced

October 30, 2023  By RAStech staff

Johan Andreassen, co-founder and chief executive officer of Atlantic Sapphire. PhotoS: Atlantic Sapphire

Johan Andreassen, co-founder and board chairman of Atlantic Sapphire ASA, announced that he will be stepping down from his position as chief executive officer (CEO).

Andreassen made the announcement on the Oslo Stock Exchange on Oct. 29. The Atlantic salmon RAS company said Andreassen will remain as interim CEO through its transition until a permanent replacement has been selected.

“The company is going from a long entrepreneurial phase to a more mature industrial phase, and now it feels right for me to let someone else take over the CEO position,” Andreassen said in a statement on Oslo Børs.


“The time is right to start the process of moving on and devoting more of my time to other personal priorities that I’ve sacrificed over the last years, including other companies that I am involved in. Being the founder of the company, having held the chairman role from inception in 2010 until last year and the CEO position since 2016, Atlantic Sapphire is and will still be my ‘baby’,” he said.

The company also announced Oct. 29 that Mario Palma will be the new chief operations officer (COO) of Atlantic Sapphire in Miami, Fla. He came to the company in 2017 as the director of aquaculture engineering. Before that, Palma worked for Mowi and Marine Harvest Group.

Andreassen founded the company with Thue Holm and Bjørn-Vegard Løvik in 2010. Holm is now managing director of an aquaculture venture firm called AquaFounders Capital. He created this firm with the founder and former CEO of The Kingfish Company, Ohad Maiman.

Løvik served as Atlantic Sapphire’s COO for one year, beginning in March 2021. Mass mortalities plagued the Miami, Fla. facility during this time and resulted in an estimated loss of about 500,000 salmon and about US$3 million loss for the company. Løvik has since become chief executive of Alsco AS, an aquaculture investment company owned by the Andreassen and Løvik families.

Jon-Birger Løvik took over the COO role from March 2022 until recently. He previously served as the CEO of Atlantic Sapphire Denmark, which experienced a massive fire in September 2021 that burned down the Danish pilot facility. Jon-Birger will remain with the company in a different role.

The company continues to experience growing mortality rates at the Miami, Fla. facility. Most recently, the company cited rising water temperatures as the cause of biomass loss in August 2023.

Andreassen also shared his perspective on this company’s challenges during a RAS Talk podcast episode in June 2022. Atlantic Sapphire CFO Karl Østein Øyhaug previously shared about the company’s troubling year during a keynote presentation at the RAS Virtual Summit 2022.

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