Norsk Hydro ASA (Hydro) has appointed Svein Richard Brandtzaeg as its president and chief executive officer. He succeeds Eivind Reiten effective from March 30 2009. Currently, Brandtzaeg is head of the aluminium products business area, with some 16,500 employees in 40 countries. The company also said that Hilde Merete Aasheim, currently head of Aluminium Metal, will continue as executive vice president for primary metal. The head of metal markets will be announced at a later date.

As part of the reorganization, the current business areas aluminium metal and aluminium products will both be divided into two, enlarging the number of business areas in the company from four to six: energy, primary metal, metal markets, rolled products, extruded products and projects.

All business areas will be represented on the corporate management board.

“The renewal of our organizational model is an important move towards a flatter and more market and operations led organization. The move will also achieve greater coordination throughout Hydro’s integrated value chain,” says Eivind Reiten.

“A flatter structure, combined with a streamlined corporate center tailored to our integrated business model, will boost efficiency throughout the entire value chain,” says newly Brandtzaeg.

“Today’s tough market situation makes these coming changes even more necessary, not least in connection with our efforts to reduce internal costs,” Brandtzaeg added.

Primary Metal, Metal Markets

Aluminium metal will be split into primary metal, with responsibility for all of Hydro’s aluminium metal plants, primary casthouses as well as for bauxite and alumina, and Metal Markets, which will be responsible for metal sales, recycling, remelting and trading.

Rolled Products, Extruded Products

Aluminium products will be split into rolled products, responsible for Hydro’s rolling mills, and extruded products, which will include profiles and building systems.

Rolled Products, which has the major part of its operations in Germany, will continue to be led by Oliver Bell, who has now been appointed executive vice president and becomes a member of Hydro’s corporate management board.

Bell is German and Hydro’s first non-Norwegian corporate management board member.

Extruded products will be headed by Johnny Undeli, who also becomes a member of the corporate management board. Undeli currently heads Extruded Products Eurasia.

All changes will be effective as from March 30, 2009.