September 14, 2015

New CEO breaking new ground

No stranger to large industrial production facilities, Yara’s new CEO, Svein Tore Holsether, visited his first Yara plant, located at the largest industrial site in Norway – namely on Herøya, Porsgrunn.
Svein Tore Holsether at Porsgrunn
Svein Tore Holsether at Porsgrunn

‘Sharing knowledge’ is a key concept in Yara, and Svein Tore Holsether got a chance to learn the tricks of the trade from our own industry experts. Building on knowledge since the construction in 1928, the fertilizer plant in Porsgrunn is one of the cornerstones in Yara.


Under a crisp September sun, large bulk vessels were mooring at quay, soon to ship fertilizer products all over the world from the port terminal. On these premises, Svein Tore learned about the production processes, ammonia handling and packaging of finished NPK – the name given to the fertilizer mixture containing Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K).

“I look forward to meeting new colleagues and to learn how the company is run, inside-out,” Svein Tore said on his way into his first meeting with among others, Per Knudsen – plant manager in Porsgrunn.

“We are proud and happy to receive Svein Tore on his first stop of what will be an important knowledge journey. Here, we want to show him how the plant in Porsgrunn is operated, with state of the art emission reduction technology. We always seek improvements in safety, quality and reliability,” Per Knudsen said.

Achieving Zero accidents

The Porsgrunn plant exports more than 3,5 million tons of finalized products. In a production environment like this one, safety is the top priority – something that Svein Tore Holsether clearly stressed from day one.

“I keep a close eye on all TRIs and I want to be informed immediately about all accidents and near misses,” Svein Tore told a town hall meeting in Porsgrunn.

“The thought of one of my colleagues being injured at work keeps me up at night, and this is why I fully subscribe to Safe by Choice,“ he added. “I believe the goal of zero accidents is achievable. There is no such thing as being too safe,” he stressed.

The day was packed with meetings, but Svein Tore had also scheduled a plant tour to walk around on the industry premises speaking to, and learning from the plant operators who know all about the complex processes carried out at Herøya.

A visit at the research centre

The last part of the day was dedicated to visiting Yara’s two Core Competency Centers (CCC’s) at the Research Centre. Here it was given extensive presentations of ongoing Innovation and R&D-activities and historical and recent achievements.

Notably, the reductions in emissions of CO2- equivalents both worldwide and at the Porsgrunn plant, are results of the intensive work carried out within Innovation and R&D.

Later on the NPK-pilot plant and the Emission to Air mini plant were visited. The CEO pointed out during the visit in the NPK pilot plant the importance of being able to test out potential new raw materials in order to increase the flexibility.

While Porsgrunn is Svein Tore Holsether’s first stop, it is certainly not his last. The new CEO will travel the world, and with time, cover all regions. This is how Svein Tore takes on the challenge of running a new company, in a new business. With the aim of acquiring knowledge about how Yara operates, produces and sells its products – globally – Svein Tore will meet with as many colleagues as possible, to learn and to acquire new knowledge.