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Maersk’s former COO asked to “pack his office and leave immediately”

PortandTerminal.com, November 12, 2019

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – In a surprise move yesterday, Maersk announced that its COO, Søren Toft, was leaving the company to “pursue other opportunities”. The Maersk statement was short on specifics except to say that Mr Toft’s departure was “effective immediately”.

Earlier today, maritime industry publication ShippingWatch announced that during an interview they conducted with Mr. Toft he confirmed that he “has left Maersk to take on a new position as CEO at another company.”

Mr Toft, the article noted, was asked to “pack his office and leave immediately”, which in all likelihood indicates that Toft is headed to a competing company.

Which company he is headed to is now obviously the question.

If Toft is indeed heading to a competitive container shipping company then the most likely candidates according to ShippingWatch are Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGM and MSC. Some have also mentioned DP World as a potential dark horse, as the Arab-owned port terminal company is in the midst of expanding its business areas, but this is probably a long shot.

ShippingWatch concluded their article by saying that MSC may just be the most likely destination for Søren Toft:

For Geneva-based MSC, it would be a completely new era if the Aponte family alone no longer constitutes the top executive team. In addition to being Maersk’s competitor, the company is a partner in the 2M alliance. But as most people one speaks to at the two companies say, they are mainly competitors, and as such one could say that the hiring of Toft would be close to the best catch MSC could make, as it would gain insight into the business processes at the shipping company it has been striving to topple since its creation in 1973.

Many thought that someone like Toft, who is just 45 years old, would see his position as Chief Operating Officer of the world’s biggest container shipping company end with a promotion to CEO of Maersk. Ultimately replacing Søren Skou. It seems that they were only partly right. Yes, Søren Toft looks set to become CEO of what will probably turn out to be a major container shipping company, but no, it won’t be with Maersk.

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