A statement issued by the shipping giant said Mr Toft 'has decided to pursue an opportunity outside of the company and will leave effective today'.
Mr Toft arrived at Maersk in the mid-1990s and rose quickly through the ranks. He was promoted to the post of CEO and vice president of Maersk Germany in 2008, then vice president of centre operations in 2010. He was appointed COO of Maersk Line in 2014, reports The Maritime Executive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
From a 2017 profile, Maersk colleagues told Danish outlet ShippingWatch that Mr Toft had the potential to one day succeed current CEO Soren Skou. In a reversal, Mr Skou will now take over Mr Toft's role (in addition to his own) while Maersk searches for a replacement.
'I have worked with Soren for many years, and I appreciate Soren's many contributions to AP Moller-Maersk. He leaves an agile and strong operating organisation and we all wish Soren the very best in the future,' said Mr Soren Skou in a statement.
MrToft has been credited with playing a key role in the number-one container carrier's acquisition of competitor Hamburg Sud in 2017. He handled sensitive negotiations with the German line's owners, the Oetker family, in order to broker the arrangement. The deal preserved Hamburg Sud's identity and structure while giving the AP Moller-Maersk group a market-leading combined fleet capacity of 4.15 million TEU.
Mr Toft was also the public face for Maersk's liner operations. He delivered the carrier's condolences to the families of the deceased after the Maersk Honam disaster and also advertised the line's sustainability initiatives, like its goal to trial zero-carbon shipping by 2030.