Olav Fjell appointed chief executive

August 19, 1999, 14:00 CEST

Olav Fjell, currently president of Norway's Postbanken, is due to take over from Harald Norvik as chief executive of Statoil on 24 September.

Aged 48, Mr Fjell holds an economics degree from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen. He is married with three children.

The new chief executive has held senior posts in industry and banking, including 12 years with the former Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk armaments group and roughly the same length of time with Bergen Bank, Den norske Bank and Postbanken.

He has been president of Postbanken since it was established in 1995. It ranks as Norway's fourth largest bank.

"I have experience of heading major processes involving large numbers of people, which is something I enjoy," he says. "I expect the Statoil job to be the same."

Mr Fjell will be joining Statoil immediately, but takes over formally as chief executive when Mr Norvik leaves in September.

He admits to having little knowledge of the industry, and no formulae for the right or wrong approaches.

"I see it as my job to continue the work being pursued in Statoil," he says.

Asked for his views about the current debate on a partial privatisation of the group and a possible acquisition of the state's direct financial interest, Mr Fjell says that he has taken the job on the terms outlined by the board.

He says he has observed Statoil from various perspectives, both as an outsider and as a partner/supplier during his time with the Kongsberg group.

"I'm truly very impressed by what Statoil has achieved in a relatively short period. The group ranks as a strong, professional player."