By his own admission Remi Eriksen was handed the top job at classification society DNV GL at a tricky time. Having joined DNV in 1993, Eriksen assumed the role of group president and ceo at the merged DNV GL in August last year, a time when much of the shipping and offshore were (and still are) in turmoil with obvious ramifications for anyone involved in class.
“Times are tough,” Eriksen concedes, especially in oil and gas. Eriksen reckons 2016 is the toughest year in 30 years for the company and, more worryingly, “2017 will be tougher.”
It will not be until 2019 or even 2020 that offshore recovers, Eriksen predicts.
Offshore and shipping account for around 70% of DNV GL’s business.
The group’s headcount came down by 1,000 worldwide last year to 15,000 and by the end of 2016 DNV GL’s workforce will be down to around 13,800.
“It’s tough sailing for the years ahead,” admits the Norwegian.
However, he is adamant that the shocks felt by the downturn are less acute at DNV GL than at other class societies because a recruitment freeze has been in place from the moment the merger between DNV and Germany’s GL was first announced in December 2012. “The merger came at the right time,” he insists, “as it brought a recruitment freeze straight away.”
The merger is 95% complete, Eriksen maintains. “It’s just systems implementation and the consolidation of legal entities that still need to complete,” he says, adding the process will finally be all done by the end of next year.