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Wind power giant Orsted appoints CFO, head of operations

FILE PHOTO: A view of the turbines at Orsted's offshore wind farm near Nysted

By Louise Rasmussen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's Orsted announced a new chief financial officer and head of operations on Tuesday as the world's largest offshore wind farm developer looks to bounce back from a string of losses and project cancellations.

Rising inflation, interest rate hikes and supply chain snags have squeezed offshore wind developers facing growing demand.

Orsted appointed Trond Westlie as CFO, a post he held at Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk and Norway's Telenor.

Patrick Harnett, who joined Orsted in 2016, will become head of operations (COO), with effect from April 1.

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Harnett has led development and construction of Hornsea 3, which will become the world's single largest offshore wind farm when completed.

In November, Orsted said its finance and operations chiefs were stepping down with immediate effect after the company was forced to scrap two U.S. offshore wind projects, flagging $5.6 billion in impairments after delays sent costs soaring.

In February, Orsted trimmed its investment and capacity targets and paused dividend payouts as part of a major review.

Tuesday's appointments will help ensure the successful implementation of its strategy, the company said.

"They'll bring strong international financial skills and execution skills to the group executive team," Orsted board Chair Thomas Thune Andersen said in a statement.

Sydbank analyst Jacob Pedersen said Orsted appeared to strike a good balance by appointing one external and one internal candidate.

While Westlie brought outside expertise, Harnett's promotion was proof that the company still had confidence in its own people, he added.

Rasmus Errboe, who has acted as interim CFO since November will return to his position as CEO of Europe region by the end of March, Orsted said.

After plunging to a seven-year low last year, Orsted's shares have risen by 50% since November.

On Tuesday the stock was off 0.9% at 374.3 Danish crowns as of 0944 GMT.

(Reporting by Louise Breusch Rasmussen; editing by Clarence Fernandez and Jason Neely)