Orsted pulls the ripcord and separates from board members

The struggling Danish energy and offshore group Orsted is reacting to the current difficulties and is parting ways with two top managers. Shipping is also affected by the development.

Orsted announced today that CFO Daniel Leerup and COO Richard Hunter are leaving the company with immediate effect.

Officially, the separation is by “mutual agreement”. The Group has initiated the search for a new CFO and a new COO and expects these processes to be completed as soon as possible in 2024.

The difficult situation in which Orsted – and other offshore wind players – currently find themselves may also be part of the background to the separation. Various wind farm projects have been put on hold because costs have risen enormously due to the general inflationary trend and the economic situation, and it is unclear who will cover these additional costs.

Orsted, for example, recently canceled two offshore wind projects in the US – “Ocean Wind 1 and 2” off the coast of southern New Jersey – and claimed associated losses of $5.6 billion as costs skyrocketed due to rising interest rates and supply shortages. Shipping also appears to be affected. It has now been announced that Ørsted has halted its plans to bid for offshore wind farms in Norway together with Fred Olsen Seawind and Hafslund Eco.

Mads Nipper, Group President and CEO of Ørsted, said today: “Like the rest of the industry, we find ourselves in a challenging and volatile business environment. Therefore, the Board and I have agreed with our current CFO and COO that we need new and different skills to lead Finance and EPC & Operations to support Ørsted on its journey into the future.”

Interim management at Orsted

As of today, Rasmus Errboe will act as interim CFO and member of the Board of Directors. Rasmus Errboe is currently CEO of the European region and Executive Vice President and has held various management positions at the company since 2012, including CFO for the offshore wind business. Together with the finance team and the Group Executive Team, he will lead the work to support Ørsted’s capital structure and long-term commitment to its credit rating. While Rasmus Errboe will serve as interim CFO, Olivia Breese will serve as CEO of the Europe region while continuing in her current role as Senior Vice President and Head of Power-to-X at Ørsted.

Andrew Brown, member of Ørsted’s Board of Directors, has been appointed Interim COO and member of the Group Executive Team, expected until March 1, 2024. “Andrew Brown has extensive international leadership experience from senior positions in large global organizations such as Shell and most recently as CEO of Portuguese energy company Galp. Together with the EPC & Operations team, Andrew Brown will ensure that we continue to focus on the delivery of our EPC projects whilst driving and implementing a strengthened project management and supply chain strategy to address anticipated developments in the industry,” the statement said.

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Copyright: Patrick Harrison / Orsted

Caption: v.l.: Richard Hunter (COO), Daniel Leerup (CFO) (© Orsted)