OSLO- The CEO and co-founder of Norwegian industrial software firm Cognite, John Markus Lervik, will step down from the top post and instead take on a position as chief strategy and development officer, the company said on Monday.

He is replaced by Girish Rishi, the former head of U.S. supply-chain software group Blue Yonder, which was bought last year by Japan's Panasonic in a $7.1 billion deal.

Founded in 2016, Cognite makes software that helps read, connect and analyse large amounts of data, allowing customers companies to improve the operations and safety of industrial installations, such as oil and gas platforms.

"Today we are excited to have Girish Rishi join the company, who brings with him proven software and technology experience," Cognite's Chairman Oeyvind Eriksen said.

Controlled by Aker ASA, the investment firm of Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke, Cognite counts Saudi Aramco among its shareholders as well as private equity firms TCV and Accel.

Aramco in February bought a 7.4% stake from oil firm Aker BP in a deal that valued Cognite at just over $1.5 billion.

Lervik, who has run Cognite since its inception, will in his new position focus on "high-impact business opportunities", while retaining his 7.2% stake in the company, an Aker spokesperson said.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik)