“I am pleased that John Thuestad has accepted the position as new head of Bauxite & Alumina. Brazil has been of major strategic importance for Hydro since the acquisition of Vale’s aluminum assets in 2011,” says Hydro President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg.
“Pará has a unique position in the global aluminium industry with activities across the entire aluminium value chain, from bauxite and alumina to finished products,” says Brandtzæg.
Thuestad is currently holding the position as head of Extrusion Europe in the business area Extruded Solutions and joined Hydro as part of the acquisition of Sapa in 2017.
“Thuestad has broad operational and leadership experience across the aluminium value chain. Combined with his experience across geographies and cultures and strong understanding of how to operate together with a range of internal and external stakeholders, I am confident he is a good fit and that he will complement the Bauxite & Alumina management team and organization in a good way,” says Brandtzæg.
The alumina refinery Alunorte in Pará is currently running at 50 percent capacity, following Brazilian authorities’ orders late February to cut production of calcinated alumina by 50 percent.
“Internal and external reviews confirm that there was no overflow from the bauxite residue deposits and no contamination of local communities. We are currently working hard to restore full operations at the Alunorte refinery and have ongoing, constructive dialogues with Brazilian stakeholders,” says Brandtzæg.
Hydro plays an important role as an employer and is seeking to re-establish itself as a partner for the local communities of Pará, through initiatives to further contribute to sustainable growth, including technical, environmental and social measures.
“Priority number one for Thuestad as head of Bauxite & Alumina is to reposition Alunorte as the best alumina refinery in the world, from a safety, technical, environmental and social perspective. I have full confidence that he will do this, together with a strong Brazilian organization, by cooperating closely with all relevant parties in the Pará society, unions and local communities,” says Brandtzæg.
Thuestad replaces interim head of Bauxite & Alumina, Eivind Kallevik, who will fully resume his position as CFO in Hydro June 1.