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FREYR Battery Hires Microsoft SMB, Parallels Software Veteran as CEO

August 10, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Former Microsoft and Parallels executive Birger Steen (pictured above) will join FREYR Battery as CEO on August 21, the battery cell technology company announced.

FREYR Battery Co-founder Tom Einar Jenson will shift to executive chair of the board

Steen most recently was a Thematic Partner at Summa Equity. Earlier, he was CEO of cloud software and virtualization specialist Parallels, and worldwide vice president of distribution and SMB at Microsoft.

Steen succeeds FREYR co-founder Tom Einar Jenson, who shifts to executive chair of the board. Also, co-founder Torstein Dale Sjøtveit is retiring.

FREYR, founded in 2018, develops clean battery cell production technology. The company's mission is to produce clean battery cells to accelerate the decarbonization of energy and transportation systems globally.

FREYR, based in Norway, is losing money amid heavy R&D activities. Still, multiple business milestones have surfaced. For instance, the company recently assembled and charged its first battery unit cells at the firm's Customer Qualification Plant. Moreover, the business is "on schedule to ramp process automation, production, and testing of chargeable cells in H2 2023 and beyond," FREYR said in June 2023. 

FREYR Partnerships, Key Business Priorities

FREYR Battery Co-founder Torstein Dale Sjøtveit plans to retire

FREYR's partner strategy spans supply chain, technology, equipment, production, services and research companies. Big-name partners include Honeywell and Siemens Energy, among many others.

Additional relationships could be imminent. For example, FREYR in March 2023 entered into discussions on a potential strategic coalition with Glencore, Caterpillar, Siemens and Nidec Corporation to "pursue the scale up of sustainable battery solutions across Europe, North America, and beyond," the company said at the time.

Looking ahead, FREYR's key priorities include building the first of its planned factories in Mo i Rana, Norway. The company may also pursue industrial scale battery cell production in the United States and Finland. The business had $383.8 million in cash on hand as of June 30, 2023.

Incoming CEO Birgen Steen's Perspectives

In a lengthy statement about joining FREYR, Steen said: “I have been impressed by the remarkable growth and global development of FREYR, and I am energized to help accelerate that growth together with a leadership team consisting of industry veterans from both sides of the Atlantic and more than 400 other intensely committed battery professionals. As one of the few publicly traded, pure play battery producers in the West, we have an extraordinary opportunity to establish a differentiated competitive position as the industrial partner of choice in the clean battery space. As we ramp up production at our Customer Qualification Plant in Mo i Rana and scale our business globally, I look forward to working with the team to accelerate process automation, production, and testing of chargeable cells and to start shipping them to our growing list of customers. It is becoming more evident by the day that business as usual is not a viable path to Net Zero, and I couldn’t be more excited at the opportunity for us at FREYR, our customers, and partners to make a real difference!”

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