Vianode, a Norwegian producer of advanced battery materials with a greener footprint, announced the appointment of Burkhard Straube as Chief Executive Officer, and Hans Erik Vatne as new Chief Operating Officer. Both leaders bring extensive experience to Vianode, as the company is delivering on its growth plan. 

Burkhard Straube is currently the President of the Graphite Solutions Business Unit at SGL Carbon, a position he has held since 2015. Straube, who has extensive international leadership experience from SGL Carbon, BASF and DyStar, will begin as Vianode CEO on 1 October 2023.

We are thrilled that Burkhard has accepted the position and look forward to welcoming him on the team to help industrialise the production of sustainable anode materials that matter for the world and the green transition,” says Asbjørn Søvik, chair of the board and interim CEO of Vianode. “Burkhard will add deep battery competence with a global perspective on strategy and commercialisation to Vianode. He has experience in preparing and positioning organisations for rapid growth and a background in building businesses for future markets, like e-mobility and energy storage”.

The sustainable electrification and green transition of our society and industry require responsible, low carbon and domestic European and North American material production. This must be achieved on a large scale and short term. I am inspired by Vianode’s substantial investment plans and goals to contribute to increased range, faster charging, longer service life, better recyclability and safety in electric vehicles. Backed by three strong owners, Elkem, Norsk Hydro and Altor, I am impressed with what Vianode has done so far and really looking forward to becoming a part of the Vianode team,” says Burkhard Straube.

Hans Erik Vatne will join Vianode effective 15 May and replaces Asbjørn Søvik as interim CEO, till Straube joins as permanent CEO and Vatne continues as COO. Søvik remains as chair of the board of Vianode.

Vatne comes from the position as Chief Technology Officer and Head of Corporate Technology Office at Hydro, where he has held various senior management positions for the last 25 years, including plant manager at Hydro Holmestrand, managing director for Hydro Rolled Products and head of Hydro’s recycling plants. Vatne, who has a PhD in metallurgy, has contributed to the technological verification process following Hydro acquiring 30 percent of Vianode in April 2022. 

We are pleased to bring in Hans Erik, as one of the most accomplished technology-leaders in Europe, with significant operational and management experience. His expertise will be important for the successful development of Vianode. Hans Erik also brings valuable learnings from his involvement in Hydro’s Batteries unit,” says Søvik. 

Vianode builds on a strong legacy in advanced material production at an industrial scale that goes back over 100 years, based on renewable hydropower. Vianode represents a new and exciting opportunity to refine renewable energy into products that are essential in our everyday lives. I have become familiar with Vianode in my role at Hydro in recent years and look forward to making the most out of this opportunity, both as interim CEO and later as Chief Operating Officer,” says Vatne.


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