Torstein Hagen Biography

Chairman of Viking

Torstein Hagen is Chairman of Viking, the leading small ship travel company offering river, ocean and expedition voyages on all seven continents. Viking was established in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia and the vision that travel could be more destination focused and culturally immersive.

The company expanded into the American market in 2000, establishing a sales and marketing office in Los Angeles, California. Since then, Viking has grown to be the world’s #1 River Cruise Line and was voted the Best River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler readers in the publication’s 2020 and 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards. 

Hagen announced the company’s entry into ocean cruising in 2013, and in 2015 Viking introduced its first ocean ship with the naming of the 930-guest all-veranda Viking Star. In its first six years of operation, Viking was consistently named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards and has been voted the Best Ocean Cruise Line in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards. Viking’s award-winning fleet of identical all-veranda sister ships includes Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Orion, Viking Jupiter and Viking Venus. New, identical sister ships Viking Mars and Viking Neptune join the fleet in 2022, followed by Viking Saturn in early 2023.

Viking marks its 25th anniversary in 2022, and the company is also launching two purpose-built expedition ships and new river vessels in Europe, Egypt, Southeast Asia, and for the first time will operate river voyages in the United States. 

A Norway native, Hagen has extensive experience in the shipping and cruise industries and from 1980–1984 held the CEO position at Royal Viking Line, the industry-leading cruise line of its time. He also served as a member of the board of directors for Holland America Line and Kloster Cruise Ltd., and was a partner of the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company in Europe. As the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, he studied computers at Wesleyan University. He holds a degree in physics from the Norwegian Institute of Technology, where he completed his Master’s Thesis related to artificial intelligence and machine learning. Hagen also holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.