Neptune Orient Lines Limited announced that, by mutual agreement with the Board of Directors, Dr Thomas Held has stepped down from the position of Group President and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of the company and that Mr Ronald Widdows has been appointed as the new Group President and CEO. Dr Held has also resigned from, and Mr Widdows has been appointed a member of, the NOL Board of Directors. The changes have immediate effect. Mr Widdows is currently the CEO of NOL’s container shipping business APL, and has held this position since 2003. Dr Held has been CEO of NOL since November 2006 and brought to the Group extensive experience of global logistics. During his time at the helm of NOL, the company’s strategic direction was thoroughly reviewed and this has affirmed the clear intent to build a future position as a top global player in container shipping. The Group is pursuing a strategy of accelerated profitable growth in its core Container Shipping business. At the same time, it intends to continue investing to grow its capabilities in Logistics and its Terminals portfolio.
NOL Chairman Mr Cheng Wai Keung said: “The Board of Directors feels that this is the right time for a change in the stewardship of the NOL Group, as it positions to grow in container shipping amidst the challenges of a cyclical industry sector, a slowing world economy and a tougher cost environment. Ron Widdows is the right person to lead the company forward at this time.” “On behalf of NOL’s Board of Directors and employees, I wish to express our gratitude to Thomas Held for his contributions towards the success of our Group and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. He leaves the company in excellent shape,” said Mr Cheng. Dr Held said: “I am proud to have led NOL, and of its achievements over the past two years. I wish Ron Widdows and the NOL team continuing success into the future.”
Mr Widdows (55) has been with the APL organisation for 28 years, and has over 37 years’ experience in the shipping industry. An American national, Mr Widdows has held a range of senior executive roles across Asia, the United States and Canada, with a particular focus on operations.
“As a member of NOL’s senior management team, Ron Widdows was the key architect of the successful APL business model, with its strong focus on yield, high asset utilisation and cost management, and has played a significant role in the success of our company over the past six years. In his new role, he will provide continuity as well as a great depth of industry knowledge. The Board is confident that, under his leadership, the NOL Group will continue to build upon its track record of consistent performance and value creation for shareholders and customers,” said Mr Cheng.
Mr Widdows said: “I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to lead a company which is generally recognised as a global industry leader. Above all, it is the dedication and capability of our people which will enable us to continue to perform at the top of the industry.”