Johan B. Holte has died
The former President and CEO Johan B. Holte died on Monday 1 April, 87 years old.
Johan B. Holte was born on 19 February 1915 on Notodden, near Oslo. He qualified as chartered chemical engineer from the Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH) in Trondheim at the age of 23, and gained his first working experience as head of laboratory in A/S Freia.
Johan B. Holte joined Norsk Hydro in 1948, first as head of the chemical section at the Notodden nitric acid plants, and from 1957 to 1966 as senior vice president of the company's research centre. From 1964 to 1966 he was also vice president.
On 1 January 1967, Johan B. Holte became President and CEO of Norsk Hydro, a position he held up to 1 November 1977. Subsequently he was chairman of the company's board until 1985, before rounding off his long career in Hydro as special advisor for the president and CEO. He has also held several board positions on behalf of the company.
The founder of the modern Hydro
Johan B. Holte brought Norsk Hydro through a period of great expansion and has been described as the founder of the modern Hydro. "During a single decade he turned the company upside down," as one article in Hydro's corporate newspaper Profile put it, in connection with Holte's 80th. birthday in 1995.
Key words here are Hydro's transfer to petrochemical PVC and ammonia production, its involvement in the oil activities on the Norwegian continental shelf, and its increasing involvement in aluminium and the internalization of fertilizer production through establishing operations in Qatar. Holte has also been given considerable credit for the spirit of cooperation that came to play such an important part in Hydro's company culture from the 1960s.
His work for Norwegian industry has been honoured with a number of decorations. Johan B. Holte was made a Knight of The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1972 and Commander of the Order of St. Olav in 1976.