Per Grieg Jr. leads Bergen family business

With an eye on innovation and sustainability

Per Grieg Jr.

Photo: Bård Gudim
Per Grieg Jr. was named Norway’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018.

Rasmus Falck

He was named Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in Norway in 2018. This is a prestigious program with nominations in over 60 countries. The program is a tribute to those who contribute new ideas and invest their own time and money to create lasting value and jobs. According to the jury, Per Grieg Jr. had developed the family business, which previously focused on shipping and shipbroking, to further investment in the seafood market. Today, Grieg Seafood is the eighth biggest farming company in the world. But the chairman of the board is tired of people asking if he is related to the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.

Grieg Seafood is one of the world’s leading salmon farming operations, specializing in Atlantic salmon. They have an annual production target of 100,000 tons in 2020. The farming facilities are in Norway’s Finnmark and Rogaland counties, British Columbia in Canada, and Shetland in the United Kingdom. The focus is on profitable growth, sustainable use of resources, and being the preferred supplier to selected customers.

It all started in 1884, when Joachim Grieg founded his ship brokerage company in Bergen. His son, Per, developed the company into one of Norway’s largest maritime operators. He left the company in 1999, and his four children, Per Jr., Elisabeth, Camilla, and Elna-Kathrine, took over the company. The four children decided to run the family business together.

Per has been involved since the foundation of Grieg Seafood in 1992 and has played a major role in building the company. He holds an MSc from NTNU in Norway from the Department of Marine Technology and an MBA from INSEAD in France. 

Grieg Seafood has long since gone beyond shipbroking and shipping, earlier the company’s core business. There are approximately 800 employees. Headquartered in Bergen. Grieg Seafood was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2007. 

The company applies strict quality control, focusing on sustainability, fish welfare, and environmental concerns. Their production standards and quality management provide the predictability the customers demand. Grieg Seafood controls the complete value chain, from shipping brood eggs, growing smolt at their hatcheries, and harvesting. They have developed standards that exceed government requirements. The company has established best management practices and continues programs to reduce their impact on the environment and its inhabitants.

In addition to the commitment to sustainability, the company is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, gender equity and equality. There are strict ethical guidelines for all employees, a strong core set of principles and values.

Grieg Seafood underlines its values under “Ethical Guidelines” on the company website: “We demand honesty and integrity in all business relations.” Under competence: “Employees … must not participate in or seek to influence a decision when circumstances which may reduce the confidence in a colleague’s competence are present.” As for gifts: “Employees should generally be very careful about giving and accepting gifts or other services…that may question one’s integrity….” Regarding personal interests: “An employee cannot have personal interests that conflict with the interests of the Grieg Group, and thereby may harm the Group’s reputation.” As to information: “Information regarding business affairs must be correct and truthful. Employees must not intentionally give out ambiguous information.”

Grieg Seafood

Photo: Guttorm Raknes / Wikipedia
The headquarters of Grieg Seafood, located next to the Hotel Admiral in Bergen.

Grieg Seafood’s core principles  (to further quote their website):

• We are open and honest

• Today we shall do better than yesterday

• We do what we say

• We are positive and enthusiastic

• We care

And the values are:

• Open

• Ambitious

• Caring

A family with strong values and a company with strong values—values that have translated into success.

And finally, to answer the familial question, Per Grieg Jr.’s great-grandfather was indeed a second cousin to the famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg!

This article originally appeared in the December 27, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.