Skou, ceo of flagship container line Maersk Line since 2012, has been with AP Moller Maersk since 1983 and a member of the executive board since 2006.
Andersen, formerly from Danish brewing giant Carlsberg, has been ceo of Maersk since December 2007, and presided over a radical change in the public profile of the once highly publicity shy shipping and energy group.
"On Behalf of the Board of Directors I thank Nils S. Andersen for considerable results in fronting the Group's international growth, strengthening the customer focus and competitiveness of the businesses, as well as simplifying governance and increasing transparency and communication with our stakeholders," said AP Moller - Maersk chairman of the Board of Directors, Michael Pram Rasmussen.
Speaking about Skou he said: "Soren has strong business acumen and thorough knowledge of the Group's various businesses and has successfully restructured the businesses he has led.”
As ceo of Maersk Line Skou saw the container shipping arm slump into the red in Q4 last year, having previously been a star performer, as the sector as whole was hit by falling trade volumes and overcapacity. As a result Skou announced plans to cut 4,000 staff and cancelled Triple-E newbuilding options in November last year.
“The Board of Directors knows Soren as a respected and knowledgeable leader with the ability to adapt quickly to market changes in close collaboration with the Board of Directors, the executive management and his employees," Rasmussen added.
With the new appointment the possibility that Maersk Group could be split up has been raised. Rasmussen told Bloomberg: “We want to review whether the group should stay as it is, or whether it should be split up.”
While the group commented in the statement on Skou’s appointment: “The Board of Directors has tasked the new management to investigate the strategic and structural options to further increase agility and synergies. The Board of Directors will communicate on the progress before end of third quarter 2016,” it said.
Last week Robert Uggla, grandson of late chairman Arnold Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, and seen as heir apparent to the group, moved from the post of ceo of Switzer to ceo of AP Moller Holding.