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Equinor's CFO steps down after 16 months, moves to Carlsberg

FILE PHOTO: Norwegian energy company Equinor's flag flies at its Stavanger headquarters

OSLO (Reuters) - Equinor's chief financial officer (CFO) will step down next week and take up a position from Jan. 1 as CFO of Danish brewer Carlsberg, the two Nordic companies said on Friday.

A former senior executive at telecoms group BT and drinks maker Diageo, Swedish-born Ulrica Fearn is leaving Equinor after just 16 months at Norway's largest oil and gas company.

Fearn was not immediately available for comment on what triggered the move away from Equinor, which is earning record profits this year on the back of soaring natural gas prices in Europe.

The departure opened the door to a comeback on Equinor's executive committee for veteran company insider Torgrim Reitan, who will take up the position of CFO on Oct. 6, a job he also held from 2010 to 2015.


In 2020, Reitan was short-listed among four candidates to become Equinor's CEO, sources told Reuters, but missed out to Anders Opedal.

Reitan, who led Equinor's loss-making U.S. business from 2015 to 2018, most recently worked in the group's small but rapidly growing renewable energy division.

The change of CFO was not a bad sign for Equinor, Carnegie analyst Oddvar Bjorgan said.

"He (Reitan) has been the company's CFO before and he has a lot of experience. If anything, the market would welcome it," Bjorgan said.

"I believe he has probably learned from the past experience in the United States and I don't expect Equinor to be involved in any new acquisitions in the U.S.," the analyst said.

At Carlsberg, Fearn will be tasked with tackling the impact from rising living costs and soaring raw material prices, which is putting a pressure on earnings at the world's third-largest brewer.

"Carlsberg has delivered strong financial results and shown impressive resilience," Fearn said in a statement. "I am looking forward to working together with the team to continue and further strengthen and develop the company."

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Mark Potter)