Women in shipping - Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal, chief executive officer, Golden Ocean Group

Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal

Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal. Credit: Golden Ocean

Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal has held the position of chief executive officer at Golden Ocean Group Limited, the listed dry bulk shipping company in John Fredriksen’s business empire, since 2016.

She joined the company six years previously and first worked as chief financial officer. This period saw the dry bulk shipping sector face extremely difficult times as spot freight rates plummeted to an all-time low in early 2016.

Golden Ocean Group, like many dry bulk shipping companies, had to restructure its finances. This process was completed in February 2016 and Vartdal assumed her current position two months later.

At the time, shipping analysts described her appointment as focusing more tightly on the company’s risk management – Vartdal has a degree in financial mathematics, whereas Herman Billung, her predecessor, was a graduate from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy.

Prior to joining Golden Ocean Group, Vartdal held several positions within the Torvald Klaveness Group, including that of vice-president, head of commercial controlling, risk manager and financial analyst. Before this she was a structuring analyst in Hydro Energy.

Vartdal holds a Master’s degree in physics and mathematics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and an MSc in financial mathematics from Heriot-Watt University, Scotland.

Vartdal has preferred to maintain a low profile as far as publicity is concerned and, under her stewardship, Golden Ocean Group has taken a series of steps to maximise its market leverage by focusing its commercial efforts on the vessel segments the company believed provided the greatest exposure to lead to a recovery in the dry bulk shipping market.