Norske Skog CEO Resigns

Norwegian newsprint maker said Chief Executive Officer Christian Rynning-Toennesen resigned after being appointed CEO of Norway's state-owned energy concern Statkraft.

OSLO (AP) -- Norwegian newsprint maker Norske Skog said Thursday that Chief Executive Officer Christian Rynning-Toennesen has resigned after being appointed CEO of Norway's state-owned energy concern Statkraft.

Eivind Reiten, chairman of Norske Skog's board of directors said the board will convene "shortly" to begin searching for a successor.

He said Rynning-Toennesen, who became CEO in June 2006, had "made an outstanding effort as CEO in what has been a very demanding period for the group."

Rynning-Toennesen will continue as acting CEO "until further notice," Norske Skog said. He will start his new job at Statkraft on June 1, 2010.

"I have had an exciting period with Norske Skog, working with a competent and tenacious organization that has worked hard to strengthen the company in a difficult market. Key challenges remain, and it will be difficult to leave the company," Rynning-Toennesen said.

The paper manufacturer has fallen on hard times in the past year, as slumping demand has forced the group to shut down mills and lay off a predicted 1,300 employees in 2009.

Norske Skog reported last Thursday that its third-quarter losses narrowed to 438 million kroner ($76.5 million) from 1.2 billion kroner in 2008, but noted that the improvement was due largely to cost-cutting measures and currency gains.

During the same period, the company's revenue dropped to 5 billion kroner ($881.1 million) from 6.3 billion kroner a year earlier.

Norske Skog shares slipped 1 percent, to 9.29 kroner ($1.65), in morning trading in Oslo.

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