Marius Hermansen, the new chief executive at Norway's Astrup Fearnley, has revealed an ambition to tear down the walls between the group's different companies.
And the former John Fredriksen lieutenant, appointed in July, also said the company has been focusing on youth in what can be seen as an industry for more experienced heads.
Speaking to Norwegian conference company Nor-Shipping as part of a promotion of next year's shipping get-together, the former shipbroker revealed that the office is buzzing now that everyone has returned from working from home.
"There’s so much energy here," Hermansen said. "The atmosphere is electric, with almost all our segments operating in what appears to be super-cycles, in a marketplace firing on full cylinders."
Astrup Fearnley has been recruiting more and more young talent to integrate into its established base, he said.
Experience still necessary
Hermansen admitted youth is perhaps not the first word that springs to mind when shipbroking is mentioned.
"Look, there’s a lot of 50 and 60-year-olds in this industry, on the broking side, the shipping side, and the oil and gas side, and that’s crucial," he said.
"Their experience is invaluable. But we all know that the industry, indeed the world, demands a new approach, with new ideas, technology and solutions."
So he said Astrup Fearnley is looking to bring in emerging talent and energy, not simply tick a box, but to listen to them, be inspired and dare to do things differently.
"This whole industry is a 'turnaround' case, and I mean that in a positive way," Hermansen said. "There is huge opportunity out there."
The group comprises shipbroker Fearnleys, investment bank Fearnley Securities, Fearnley Offshore and Fearnley Offshore Supply.
Hermansen said he is a strong believer in "tearing down silos" to enable closer collaboration between teams, business units and clients.
'One company' approach
He added that he wants to create a "one company" approach to offer customers "even more coordinated efforts and better services" with a culture that is "assertive, young and dynamic".
Hermansen is now back at the company where he previously spent 10 years, following a financial traineeship at AP Moller-Maersk. He rejoined from Fredriksen’s Seatankers Management, where he was chief operating officer.
"It feels great to be back," he said. "This is a time of change for the business, but change that is being built on very firm foundations."
The group has a global presence, with 330 professionals based across nine countries.
"This is still very much a people business, and that's why it's so vital to have a global presence for a global industry," Hermansen said.
No substitute for face-to-face contact
"We've been investing in that principle since our foundation in 1869. Face-to-face meetings matter. Full stop."
Hermansen also said the company wants to stay ahead of the curve on decarbonisation.
The finance side of the business has been involved in more than 30 capital markets and merger-and-acquisition transactions over the past two years with a green focus, raising more than $1bn.