As announced last night by Tallink, CEO Enn Pant (49) is stepping down on January 1st to be replaced by current finance chief Janek Stalmeister. Baltic Sea’s largest shipping company also declared extraordinary shareholder meeting where it will be proposed to elect Mr pant into its council.
Tallink never replied a question why the decision by Mr Pant. Possibly, this is related to majority owners’ decision to acquire the national airline Estonian Air.
Mr Pant did actually promise to step down as early as the start of 2010, linking it to the company turning profitable during the financial year. It did, but Mr Pant remained at the helm.
Mr Pant went into shipping in 1996. From being chancellor at finance ministry, he was asked to lead Hansatee – a shipping firm owned by Ühispank (Union Bank, now SEB – edit) subsidiary Ühisinvesteeringud. The next seven years saw complex deals take place, resulting in the company going into the hands of Infortar i.e. essentially majority owned by the trio of Kalev Järvelill, Ain Hanschmidt and Enn Pant.
Meanwhile, the firm vastly expanded. The first brand-new ship Romantika was completed in 2002, to be followed by Victoria I (in 2004) and Galaxy – a year after that.
While the Finnish competitors were losing out, Tallink kept grabbing market share – mainly thanks to the newness of its vessels – and essentially rose to rule the Baltic Sea by 2004. «Officially», the title was secured in 2006 by takeover of Silja Line who just turned 50 years of age.
Till 2012, Tallink managed to keep growing in travellers. Only last year, the passengers did a slight 1.3 percent drop.
Even before swallowing of Silja, in December 2005 Tallink shares got listed on Tallinn stock exchange, grabbed by the «masses». At the IPO 17,000 small investors did a buy – close to 1.5 percent of Estonia’s population.