David Palmer, the chief executive at Hong Kong’s Wah Kwong, one of Hong Kong’s leading dynastic shipowners, has announced he will retire in September, after a 17-month tenure.
Mr Palmer was recruited to help initiate a refocus of the company’s business model. The result has been a new working model, given the snappy title Wah Kwong “Lite”. The addition of a service business focused on asset management as a part of the overall strategy, is fully up and running.
“This is a refocus for Wah Kwong that I have worked hard to facilitate,” Palmer told Splash yesterday.
Commenting on his decision, Mr Palmer said: “Forty-three years is a lifetime in shipping – it’s at least six shipping cycles ago, many trips back home ago, many hairs on my head ago, many inches on my waist ago, many friends and colleagues ago so it’s now become time to decide whether I can run my day or I let the day run me…..
“In just four weeks, I will have reached 65 and am set to retire from full-time work on 1st September. Although I won’t however, disappear entirely as I do find the world’s largest industry a constant fascination and of course, I have a son in the business. At the end of the day, what I will cherish most are the human relationships made along the way which will always be most precious.
“At Wah Kwong the planned transition from Sabrina Chao as chairman to Hing Chao as Executive Chairman and the re-organisation of the company into two divisions – “Ship-Owning” and “Asset Management”, managed by joint managing director’s is now imminent and we have come to an agreement that this would be an appropriate time for me to hand over the reins. My retirement will allow the organisation to tackle the challenges and opportunities that are coming our way with both long- term thinking and, more importantly, with full accountability.
“It has been a privilege to serve Wah Kwong and the shareholders in what we all knew would be a short-term assignment. I’m particularly proud of the business transition that all the staff of Wah Kwong are undertaking and the new business and new projects that we have all recently put in place for the future of Wah Kwong. Under the leadership of Hing Chao and with the newly created positions of joint Managing Directors, Will Fairclough and Capt Zhou, it is set to be a great success.
“I will return to the UK from HK – sometime in the next six months – and intend to work on shorter-term assignments and non- executive positions in shipping and offshore that will allow me to run my own days.”
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.
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