Torstein Hagen

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Torstein Hagen
Hagen in 1988
Born1943 (age 79–80)
Alma materNorwegian Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Occupation(s)Founder & chairman,
Viking Cruises
Years active1974–present
SpouseEllen-Karine Hagen (div. 2017)

Torstein Hagen (born 1943)[1][2] is a Norwegian billionaire businessman, and the founder and chairman of Viking cruise line.

Early life and education[edit]

Hagen was born and raised in Norway.[2][3] He earned a degree in physics at the Norwegian Institute of Technology,[3] where he completed his master thesis on artificial intelligence and machine learning,[4] won a Fulbright grant to study in the United States, and received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1968.[2]


Early years in cruise industry (1974-96)[edit]

Hagen was a consultant, and later partner, for McKinsey & Company in Europe, helping to bring Holland America Line back from near-bankruptcy in 1974.[5] In 1976, he became CEO of Bergen Steamship Company (Bergenske Dampskibsselskab), and then became CEO of Royal Viking Line from 1980 to 1984.[1][5] After a failed take-over bid, he had to resign in 1984.[6] He joined the board of Holland America Line in 1985, and later served on the board of Kloster Cruise.[5] In the early 1990s, he acquired a 27% stake in Nedlloyd, a Rotterdam-based shipping company, becoming the biggest shareholder. He sold his shares several years later at a loss.[2][5][7]

Viking Cruises (1997-present)[edit]

In 1997, Hagen founded Viking River Cruises with the purchase of four river ships, launching the company with four Russian river cruises.[3][5] Viking focuses on English language speakers over 55, especially Americans, and has more than 70 river cruise ships, which mainly navigate the major European waterways.[6] In May 2013, the company announced plans to start an ocean cruise division, and changed its name to Viking Cruises.[8][9] Its first ocean cruise was launched in 2015.[10] As of 2016, Hagen has disposed of 23% of Viking Cruises to TPG Capital and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for total of $672 million.[6] As of 2017, the company has a fleet of over 60 vessels,[11][12] and four ocean going ships.[8] At the beginning of 2020, Hagen announced that Viking would begin offering expedition tours. The first tour would be exploring Antarctica and the Great Lakes of North America in January 2022 with a second tour to begin in August 2022 sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic. The inauguration for the company’s first custom vessel is planned for August 2022.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Hagen is divorced[13] with two children, and lives in Lucerne, Switzerland.[3] His daughter Karine Hagen works for Viking River Cruises.[14]


  1. ^ a b "The Second Coming Of Torstein Hagen: Full Circle In Bergen". 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  2. ^ a b c d "When Holland Inc. Goes Shopping, Belgium Always Gets Bought Out -". Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  3. ^ a b c d Fran Golden, "Perfect Examples," Porthole Cruise Magazine, August 21, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Torstein Hagen Biography". Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  5. ^ a b c d e Arnie Weissmann, "Rolling on the rivers," Travel Weekly, April 2, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Torstein Hagen". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  7. ^ Schwammenthal, Daniel. "Dutch Discount -". Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  8. ^ a b Erica Silverstein, "Viking Ocean Cruises Takes Delivery of New Cruise Ship," Cruise Critic, September 26, 2017.
  9. ^ Tom Stieghorst, "Viking Cruises' Torstein Hagen," Travel Weekly, October 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Christian L. Wright, "Cruise Vacations for the Anti-Cruise Crowd," Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2017.
  11. ^ O'Bannon, Isaac M. (1 March 2017). "Viking Launches Third Luxury Ocean Liner". CPA Practice Advisor. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  12. ^ Anne Kalosh, "Pair of Viking Longships are named in Koblenz," Seatrade Cruise, March 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "Divorcing Norwegian couple spend £10m in legal fees," Financial Times, June 28, 2017.
  14. ^ Hamburg Messe (2015-06-26). "Karine Hagen is Viking Sea's godmother". Retrieved 2017-03-20.

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