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The Board of Directors

Kolbjørn Almlid

Chairman of the Board

Elected in 2011

Kolbjørn Almlid is a qualified teacher. He ended his career in education as chief municipal education officer of Verran Municipality in 1991. During the period 1996-2005 he was a senior adviser in Innovation Norway and later on Division Director and Chief Executive Officer. Almlid was appointed state secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy during the Syse government (1989–1990). He was deputy Member of Parliament for Nord-Trøndelag county during the period 1989–1993 and chairman of Nord-Trøndelag county council from 1991 to 1995. He has also been the leader of the Norwegian Centre party in Nord-Trøndelag and a member of the party’s central board. Furthermore, he was a member of the municipal council and county council for 12 and 14 years, respectively.

In recent years, Almlid has also served on a number of boards such as Nord-Trøndelag electricity company, ENFO and Mid-Gas. He was elected Chair of the Board in Statnett in June 2011.

Per Hjorth

Deputy Chairman

Elected in 2008

Hjorth is Managing Director of Newsec AS, a commercial real estate brokerage and consultancy firm. Hjorth also serves on a number of boards, and has held a number of senior executive posts in industry, finance and the energy sector. He was President and CEO of Nord Pool ASA until 2000.

Hjorth holds a degree in Economics and Business Administration from BI Norwegian School of Management and has been a member of Statnett’s Board of Directors since 2008. He was elected Deputy Chairman of the Board in Statnett in 2012.


Maria Sandsmark

Board member

Elected in 2013

Maria Sandsmark holds a doctorate in social sciences. She is a researcher for Møreforskning Molde AS where she is responsible for conducting socio-economic analyses. Sandsmark has been a consultant for ECON Analyse where she was responsible for assessing socio-economic issues relating to deregulated power markets for national and international power market players. Sandsmark has been a member of an expert committee appointed by the government to review the framework for socio-economic analyses.

Egil Gjesteland

Board member

Elected in 2012

Egil Gjesteland is currently Project Director for the Gassco Emden project. In addition, he runs his own oil and gas consulting company, Gjesteland Consulting AS.  He holds an MSc in Chemical Engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH) and has worked for Statoil in Abu Dhabi. He has also been IT and Project Manager for a number of Statoil’s oil and gas projects and was Project Director for the Snøhvit development on the Tromsø Patch for four years. Gjesteland has also been a lecturer at the BI MBA programme and UC Berkeley.

Heidi Ekrem

Board member

Elected in 2006

Ekrem is a partner in the law firm Advokatfirmaet Mageli ANS where she is involved in corporate law issues for large companies, including companies in the energy sector.

Kirsten Indgjerd Værdal

Board member

Elected in 2009

Værdal has been Director of Agriculture with the County Governor of Nord- Trøndelag since 2007. She has held several senior executive posts in the food and agriculture industry.  Værdal has served on several boards in the private and public sector. She is an agronomist and also holds degrees in finance and corporate management.

Kjerstin Bakke

Board member, employee representative

Elected in 2010

Kjerstin Bakke has been employed by Statnett since 1994 and is currently Head of the department responsible for operation of substations in Southern Norway, a part of the Operations Divisions. Bakke has extensive experience from different areas in Statnett. She holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Steinar Jøråndstad

Board member, employee representative

Elected in 2004

Jøråndstad is an Energy Technician with Statnett and is leader of the Norwegian Electrician and IT Workers’ Union (EL&IT) and a member of the Working Environment Committee. Jøråndstad, who began his career as an apprentice in 1981, has also served as main safety delegate in Statnett. Jøråndstad is also a Municipal Councillor in Vågå and a member of Vågå Municipal Executive Board.

Pål Erland Opgård

Board member, employee representative

Elected in 2010

Pål Erland Opgård was employed by Statnett in 1995. Since then he has been employed in the Regional Central North in Alta. Opgård holds a degree in engineering from Narvik University College. In 2010, Opgård was elected leader of the Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists (NITO) in Statnett. He has been a member of the Statnett NITO Board of Directors since 1999.