Ron Widdows, a prominent leader of the global container industry, will retire as group president and chief executive officer of Neptune Orient Lines, NOL Group announced Monday.
He will be succeeded at the end of the year by Ng Yat Chung, a senior executive with Temasek Holdings, the Singapore government's sovereign wealth fund, which owns a majority of NOL. Ng is a former career military officer in Singapore.
Widdows, chairman of the World Shipping Council and former chairman of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, will remain as a senior adviser to the Singapore-based parent of container line APL.
Ron Widdows at TPM video from JOC:
NOL's Ron Widdows on Trans-Pacific Supply/Demand (Video)
Ng will become an executive director on NOL's board of directors as of May 1 and will work closely with Widdows before assuming full responsibility as head of the world's sixth largest container shipping line on Jan. 1, 2012.
Ng has been a senior executive with Temasek Holdings since 2007. Before that he spent 28 years with Singapore's Armed Forces, where he was Chief of Defense Force from 2003 to 2007. NOL said in a statement he was instrumental in advancing technology in Singapore's military, transforming the armed forces into a networked, knowledge-based force and driving close integration among the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Ng, who graduated from Cambridge University and holds an MBA from Stanford University, most recently headed Temasek's Energy & Resources portfolio and was co-head of Australia & New Zealand and co-head of Strategy.
Widdows will step aside after serving as group CEO at NOL since 2008. "I've devoted most of my professional life to this company and am proud of the team that we have built up over the years and what we have achieved," he said in a statement. "I will work closely with Yat Chung in the transition period to ensure that NOL is strongly positioned for long-term success. In my role as senior adviser, I will be able to contribute to the company in other ways."
Widdows has been with NOL for the last three decades, and served as CEO of APL from 2003 to 2008.
Under Widdows' leadership NOL recovered from the $741 million loss it suffered in 2009 during the industry downturn and recorded a $461 million profit in 2010, a $1.2 billion turnaround.
Widdows also has been a major voice for the container shipping industry, speaking out on issues around the world. He has been especially forceful on the need for greater infrastructure investment and in 2008 led delegations of large U.S. retail importers to Washington to voice concerns about U.S. port and transportation infrastructure at meetings with U.S. government officials.