With the takeover of Vale’s aluminium activities in Brazil, Hydro will establish a new business area, Bauxite & Alumina, to be led by Johnny Undeli, who is currently head of the Extruded Products area.
Undeli says he is really looking forward to his new assignment, which combines Hydro’s bauxite and alumina unit from the Primary Metal business area with many of the new assets acquired from Vale.
The new business area will include 2,500 employees, most of them in Brazil.
Hans-Joachim Kock will be executive vice president with responsibility for Extruded Products.
Back to his roots
Johnny Undeli was educated as a mining engineer at the technical university in Trondheim, Norway, and worked for several years with the French oil company Total before joining Hydro’s oil and gas operations in 1983.
He has had many central leadership positions in Hydro’s aluminium business since 1989 and has been a member of corporate management since 2009, a position he will retain in his new role.
Undeli, who has over 30 years of international leadership experience – 16 of them outside Norway – is excited about the opportunities ahead.
“I’m looking forward to returning to my roots. This new assignment is what I’m actually educated for. And not least, I’m looking forward to working with exciting assignments in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies,” Undeli says.
“I have had responsibility for our extrusion activities in South America, including Acro in Brazil, for several years now, so I know a fair bit about the resources and opportunities our Brazilian colleagues have there, and the activities we are taking over from Vale are acknowledged as the best and well-operated in this industry.“Our starting point is very good. And besides, Vale has a set of values and business culture with many similarities to ours.”
Vale’s employees have a lot to contribute
What does he think he and Hydro can bring to the operations we are taking over from Vale?
“I’m thinking more about of everything the our new colleagues can teach us,” he says. “This is an operation that they know better than anyone. At the same time, I’m sure we in Hydro possess competence in processes and project management that can help further strengthen the operations.
“I have been engaged for many years in the relationship between safety, good operations and continuous improvement, and have also seen up close how effective a good safety culture can be as a basis for a successful integration. That is an experience I won’t hesitate to bring with me to Brazil.
“My ambition is for us to increase bauxite production to more than 10 million tonnes per year and alumina production to more than 6 million tonnes per year.”
He says he can’t wait to get started.