Kjell Inge Røkke

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Kjell Inge Røkke
Born (1958-10-25) 25 October 1958 (age 63)
Molde, Norway
Kari Monsen Røkke
(m. 1980; div. 1992)

Anne Grete Eidsvig
(m. 2004)
Parent(s)Normann Røkke (1926-2016)
Gunnvor Røkke

Kjell Inge Røkke (born 25 October 1958) is a Norwegian billionaire businessman.

Røkke launched his business career with the purchase of a 69-foot (21 m) trawler in the United States in 1982, and gradually built a leading worldwide fisheries business. In 1996, the Røkke controlled company RGI purchased enough shares in Aker ASA to become the company's largest shareholder, and later merged his company RGI with Aker ASA. Røkke serves as chairman of Aker ASA, as well as a director of Aker BP, Kværner, Ocean Yield, Aker BioMarine and Aker Energy. As at 31 December 2018, Røkke holds 68.2 per cent of the shares in Aker ASA through his investment company TRG AS and its subsidiaries.[2]

He was convicted of corruption in 2005 and has served time in prison.[3] In 2018, Røkke was considered to be the richest person in Norway, with a fortune of NOK 20.6 billion,[4] approximately 2.4 billion U.S. dollars.


Røkke started out as a fisherman at the age of 18, and has no secondary or higher education.[5] In 1979, he moved to the U.S. to work on trawlers in Alaska. Saving up enough money to buy his first trawlers, he eventually owned the American Seafoods Company. Røkke was based in Seattle, Washington in the 1980s, owning and operating American Seafoods and Resource Group International (RGI), which included Brooks Sports and Helly Hansen.[6][7] In the mid-1990s, Røkke returned to Norway. In 1996, Røkke become Aker's main shareholder and a driving force in the company's development when RGI purchased enough Aker shares to become Aker's largest shareholder; the two companies subsequently merged. The merger between RGI and Aker was completed in January 1997. Through Aker, Røkke gained an important position within fisheries, and acquired the long-established fishery business J.M. Johansen with roots back to 1876. Real estate and shipyards is also part of the new company portfolio.[8]

Røkke is currently the largest shareholder of the Norwegian-based company Aker ASA, an industrial investment company, which interests are concentrated in the oil and gas, maritime assets and marine biotechnology sectors.[2] The company's industrial holdings include Aker BP, Aker Solutions, Akastor, Kværner, Ocean Yield, Aker Energy, Cognite and Aker BioMarine. Its financial investments comprise cash and liquid assets and real estate development projects.[9]

In an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten (published 1 May 2017) Røkke said he planned to give away most of his fortune. As a further step in this plan, he joined the Giving Pledge in 2017 and founded the REV Ocean initiative. REV Ocean, lead by former WWF Norway CEO, Nina Jensen, is working to improve our understanding of the ocean and foster concrete solutions through three initiatives: the world's largest research and expedition vessel (REV), the World Ocean Headquarters and an open, global data platform.[10] A 183m research and expedition vessel, the REV Ocean, is due for final delivery to Røkke in 2022. The world’s longest super-yacht, it is reported to have three swimming-pools and a 35-seat auditorium.[11]

Røkke suffers from dyslexia, but claims that it has helped him to his success, and states that he would not be where he is today without his dyslexia.[12]

Røkke has been described by Forbes as having "built up a reputation as a ruthless corporate raider".[13]

In 2005, Røkke was selected to the top manager in Norway by Dagens Næringsliv. Among the 18 nominees, Røkke received nearly 1/3 of the votes.[14]

In 2006, Røkke won the “Peer Gynt of the Year” award. The prize is given every year to a person or institution that has distinguished him- or herself within Norway and have improved Norway's international reputation. Members of the Peer Gynt Festival itself, parliamentary representatives and former winners of the year's Peer Gynt prize may propose candidates for the award.


In May 2017, Røkke and his wife joined the Gates-Buffett The Giving Pledge, an elite network of big philanthropic givers. Pledge members promise to devote the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes during their lifetimes or after their death.[15]

In May 2017, Røkke announced that he is funding the purchase of the world's largest and most advanced research vessel (REV). The 182.9-meter-long vessel, which is scheduled to be launched in 2021, will give researchers tools they could not otherwise have dreamed of, reports Aftenposten.[16] Equipment on board the research ship will enable researchers to take measurements from the atmosphere as well as 6,000 meters below the surface of the sea – including up to 20 meters under the seabed. Submarines and both under and overwater drones will be attached to the research vessel, which will also house an auditorium and seven laboratories. The ship will be able to collect and incinerate up to five tonnes of plastic every day without releasing any harmful emissions. Røkke's desire to use his fortune to benefit society lies behind the idea to fund the ship. Røkke also told Aftenposten that he was concerned about both climate change and plastic pollution in the seas, but that his passion for science was one of the key elements in his funding the project. The research expedition vessel (REV) will be available for expeditions and research as well as for hire as a private yacht, according to the report. Income will be used to reduce maintenance costs and help fund research and equipment costs.[17] Kjell Inge Røkke will pay for the construction and operation of a research vessel that will have a crew of 30 and accommodate 60 researchers. The Operator will be the Røkke company Rosellinis Four-10.[18] The boat was built at a Romanian shipyard of Italian yacht builder Fincantieri.[19]

Together with his wife, Anne Grete Eidsvig, Røkke has established the Aker Scholarship in partnership with Aker ASA to support Norwegian students' graduate studies at internationally leading universities. Aker Scholarship's objective is to inspire recipients to make a difference in the development of Norwegian business, industry, and society for the benefit of generations to come. Røkke's family's company, TRG, finances Aker Scholarships through donations to their Foundation of Education; Aker ASA administers the scholarship program.[20] The purpose of the Aker Scholarship is to offer highly qualified candidates, with a strong link to Norway, an opportunity to pursue an advanced degree at one of the world's leading universities, and to support the development of the scholar's social commitment.[21]

In 2018, Røkke and TRG, along with the other Aker companies, founded Stiftelsen VI (The VI Foundation). Røkke's privately owned company, TRG, provided the foundation's starting capital of NOK 25 million.[22] Stiftelsen VI aspires to become a resource and competence centre for disabled people's opportunities and rights, and create equal opportunities to perform. Amongst other things, VI wants to inspire and motivate to physical activity. Aker ASA, Aker-owned companies and Kjell Inge Røkke's private company TRG have committed to a contribution of NOK 125 million over the next five years.[23]

In 2017, Røkke gave a donation to the family's local soccer club, Frisk Asker, to fund new artificial turf and a new clubhouse. Røkke has previously given NOK 10 million (approx US$1.19 million) to fund 20 mini-pitches for local sports teams and housing associations in his home municipality, Asker. When Røkke and his family moved to Asker in 2010, he helped finance a walking and cycling route in the area.[24][25]

Association football[]

Røkke is also known for his involvement in association football, and became involved with Norwegian club Molde FK in 1993. He was also central to the funding of the club's new stadium, which got the nickname "Røkkeløkka" (English: "The Røkke Park"). Some estimates suggest that he has spent about NOK 400 million funding the club.[26]

Røkke, along with his former business partner Bjørn Rune Gjelsten, also bought into Wimbledon Football Club in the late 1990s, becoming a joint owner of the team in 2000. The following year, with the club homeless since leaving their Plough Lane ground in 1991 and playing at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park stadium in Croydon, southeast London, Røkke and Gjelsten, along with chairman Charles Koppel and businessman Pete Winkelman agreed to relocate the team from London to Milton Keynes, a town around 60 miles from their traditional base. The move was controversial and sparked a year of protest at matches from Wimbledon fans, determined not to let their club be 'franchised' like this. Although common in American sport, the relocation of a professional English football club had never been done before. After rejections from the Football League and The FA, the decision was eventually passed on to a three-man arbitration panel, the outcome being two to one in favour of the move. Wimbledon fans, outraged with the decision, agreed to form a new club to support, AFC Wimbledon, and declared a boycott on their former team. The following season, Wimbledon FC would go on to play in front of record low crowds, including just 664 for a League Cup game against Rotherham, before finally completing the move in September 2003. It renamed itself a year later, adopting the name Milton Keynes Dons.

Corruption conviction[]

Røkke was convicted in 2005 for corruption involving the illegal purchase of a boat license,[3] and served 24–25 days of a 120-day prison sentence before released on parole.[3][27]

Personal life[]

Røkke is married, with four children, and lives in Vettre, Norway.[28] He is known for having several exclusive cars, including a Ford GT acquired in August 2016.[29]


  1. ^ /billionaires/profiles/kjell-i-rokke/ "Bloomberg Billionaires Idex: Kjell Inge Rokke" Check |url= value (help). Bloomberg. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b ASA, Aker. "Board - Aker ASA". eng.akerasa.com. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Berglund, Nina (23 April 2007). "Røkke to serve jail time". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 14 June 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2007.
  4. ^ "Røkke er Norges rikeste (Røkke is Norway's richest)". TV2 (major Norwegian free-to-air TV entertainment and news channel). 7 November 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Critics blast state's investment in Røkke firm". Aftenposten. 25 June 2007. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  6. ^ Heberlein, Greg (2 October 1996). "Seattle firms merge into Norway's Aker". Seattle Times. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  7. ^ Wilhelm, Steve (22 November 1998). "Rokke scales back in NW". Puget Sound Business Journal. Seattle. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Aker ASA's history line".
  9. ^ "About Aker ASA".
  10. ^ "REV Ocean".
  11. ^ Paton, Graeme (10 December 2020). "When billionaires go exploring, only a supersize yacht will do". The Times. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  12. ^ Brander, Anna Sandvig (8 December 2007). "Lønnsom dysleksi" (in Norwegian). E24 Næringsliv. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  13. ^ "#468 Kjell Inge Rokke - The World's Billionaires 2009 - Forbes.com". www.forbes.com. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Årets toppsjef 2005 - Kjell Inge Røkke". www.dn.no (in Norwegian). Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Big Philanthropy Gets A Boost: 14 Titans From 7 Countries Join The Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge". Forbes. 30 May 2017. “It is a true privilege for our family to reconfirm our commitment to give back by joining The Giving Pledge.”
  16. ^ Ole Mathismoen Steinar Dyrnes (31 January 2014). "Kjell Inge Røkke: – Jeg vil gi tilbake til samfunnet brorparten av det jeg har tjent. Dette skipet er en del av det. - Aftenposten". Aftenposten.no. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Norwegian billionaire to build giant ship for environment research". 2 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Røkke to build a research vessel together with WWF - Norway Today". Norway Today. 2 May 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Ecco Rev Ocean, lo yacht più grande del mondo nato per salvare il pianeta". September 2019.
  20. ^ ASA, Aker. "Aker Scholarship to sponsor talent". eng.akerasa.com. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Aker Scholarship".
  22. ^ "Røkke cashes millions in dividends from holding company". ShippingWatch. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  23. ^ "The foundation VI aims to improve the quality of life for 605,000 Norwegians with disabilities". 10 September 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Kjell Inge Røkke blar opp for kunstgressbane til lokal fotballklubb". 20 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Røkke gir bort ballbinger". 17 December 2010.
  26. ^ "Disse har brukt 800 mill. på sine lag". Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). 12 March 2009.
  27. ^ Sundberg, Johann D.; Andreas Thorsheim (23 September 2007). "Røkke er ute". E24 Næringsliv (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  28. ^ "Forbes profile: Kjell Inge Rokke". Forbes. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  29. ^ "Røkke slo kloa i monsterbil". VG. Retrieved 31 August 2016.

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