Allseas founder and president Edward Heerema will step down after nearly four decades, leaving his eldest son Pieter to assume the role of president of the marine services group.
Mr Heerema officially announced the milestone at a special ceremony in Rotterdam on Thursday.
He will remain as company chairman and concentrate on developing and integrating new technological developments, Allseas confirmed.
Together with his four brothers, Mr Heerema previously helped oversee another major marine business – Heerema Marine Contractors – founded by his father Pieter in 1948.
However, he reportedly left the firm after a falling out with his siblings and launched Allseas in 1985. In that time he has built the business into a major player on the offshore service and construction sector.
Under his direction the company pioneered a series of new innovations, developing the concept of dynamically positioned subsea pipelay with the introduction of its first vessel, Lorelay.
Another – Solitaire – launched in 1998 furthered pipeline installation by enabling operators to develop previously inaccessible ultra-deepwater assets.
In 2016, Edward realised a “lifetime vision” with the launch of the world’s largest construction vessel.
Originally named Pieter Schelte in honour of his father, who died in 1981, the association drew condemnation from Jewish groups owing to the senior Heerema’s role in the Waffen-SS and his conviction for war crimes.
Later renamed the Pioneering Spirit – though retaining his father’s initials – the vessel has become a linchpin asset in North Sea decommissioning and installation, thanks to its motion-compensated and single-lift technology which has revolutionised the offshore heavy lift industry.
Deployments have seen the vessel remove structures from the Ninian Northern and Tyra fields and install a platform at the Johan Sverdrup field, among other jobs, during this year alone.
In a statement accompanying his announcement this week, Edward said: “Founding and building Allseas took an enormous amount of creativity, energy and perseverance. My ideas were sometimes doubted, but I was always determined to succeed. Over these many years, we established Allseas as a reliable contractor, with a reputation of changing the industry through innovation and pioneering spirit.”
The junior Pieter Heerema joined the company in 2011, and has served as vice president overseeing the successful implementation and execution of major offshore infrastructure projects around the world.
Speaking this week he said: “My father’s vision, daring and skill has been instrumental in Allseas’ success and growth. He made Allseas great by pioneering ideas and making them work. That is the DNA of Allseas.”
“The work we do, day in day out, is my ultimate passion. Allseas’ hallmarks, pipelay and heavy lift, will remain. Positioning ourselves in new markets will help secure our future. I look forward to building on my father’s many successes as we move forward into new, exciting times.”