Søren Skou has been appointed chief executive officer of A.P. Møller-Mærsk, one of the world’s largest carriers of ocean freight, including for the textile and apparel industry, replacing Nils S. Andersen, who is leaving the Maersk Group. The changes are effective July 1.

The company’s board said since 2008 the Maersk Group has successfully gone through a phase of operational optimization in each of its businesses to the point of top quartile performance in most units, and in order to leverage this position, it initiated a process to further develop the strategic options for the Maersk Group, leading to the change in leadership.

Skou has been with A.P. Møller-Mærsk since 1983 and has been a member of its executive board since 2006. In 2012, he was appointed ceo of Maersk Line, a post he will retain.

“Søren has strong business acumen and thorough knowledge of the group’s various businesses and has successfully restructured the businesses he has led. The board of directors knows Søren as a respected and knowledgeable leader with the ability to adapt quickly to market changes in close collaboration with the board of directors, the executive management and his employees,” said chairman Michael Pram Rasmussen.

The board has tasked the new management “to investigate the strategic and structural options to further increase agility and synergies.”

Skou said he was looking forward to the opportunity of leading the company into the next phase of strategic development.

“The fast-paced changes of this world demand that we can adapt quickly, easily and at a minimal cost while retaining the focus on each business unit,” he said. “Our future setup must effectively respond to these challenges.”

Andersen has been with the company since 2005, first as a board member and subsequently as ceo since December 2007.

In the first quarter ended March 31, Copenhagen-based Maersk reported profits for fell 86 percent to $224 million from $1.57 billion in the year-ago period. Revenue decreased 19 percent to $8.54 billion from $10.55 billion in the first quarter of 2015, predominantly due to a 37 percent drop in oil prices and 26 percent lower average container freight rates. This was partly offset by 7 percent higher container volumes and 15 percent higher oil entitlement production.