Swedish HVAC&R wholesaler Beijer Ref has appointed Christopher Norbye as its new CEO and President, with Norbye expected to take up his new post towards the end of 2021, according to a statement on Beijer’s website.

Norbye is currently Executive Vice President and Head of Entrance Systems Division at access solutions specialist Assa Abloy. He succeeds Per Bertland, who announced his decision to step down in January 2021.

Beijer Ref is primarily a global HVAC&R wholesaler and distributor of components for commercial refrigeration, industrial refrigeration, air conditioning and heating.

It also does some of its own manufacturing, and owns Italian CO2 systems manufacturer  SCM Frigo, which produces subcritical packs, cascade systems, transcritical chillers and booster systems. In November 2020, Beijer invested in Danish startup Fenagy, a producer of CO2 heat pumps and industrial refrigeration racks.

“With Christopher Norbye, we have a highly commercial and business-oriented leader with a strong track record,” said Kate Swann, Chair of Beijer’s board of directors. “He combines global scale and focused execution orientation with an engaging leadership style.”

“Beijer Ref has had a fantastic journey during Per’s tenure with several years of strong growth in both sales and earnings,” Swann said about the departing Bertland. “I look forward to supporting Christopher as he continues to develop Beijer Ref, both organically and through acquisitions.”

Bertland will join Beijer Ref’s board of directors. “I have much enjoyed being part of the journey to make our company a world-leading distributor with a strong sustainability focus,” he said. “The company is stronger than ever, and this is the right time to initiate an orderly transition of leadership. I am very pleased to hand over the CEO role to Christopher and will continue to fully support Beijer Ref and Christopher through the board of directors.”

The new CEO is ready to go. “I have followed Beijer Ref’s journey for a long time and I am impressed with their strong long-term track record,” Norbye said. “I am also honored and very excited to join the Beijer Ref team and to continue the successful journey. I look forward to supporting Beijer Ref in its mission to provide the market with global expertise in sustainable refrigeration and air conditioning.”

Beijer Ref has some 70 subsidiaries in Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa. Annual sales are approximately SEK 14 billion (US$1.7 billion) with sales across 37 countries.

The company has consolidated its growth over the last 20 years with strategic investments and acquisitions, such as in SCM Frigo and Fenagy. In February 2020, the company acquired Australian ACD Trade, a HVAC&R component distributor.

I look forward to supporting Beijer Ref in its mission to provide the market with global expertise in sustainable refrigeration and air conditioning.”

Christopher Norbye, Beijer Ref