Ron Widdows, a prominent leader in the global container industry, is leaving his position as group president and CEO of Neptune Orient Lines as of Oct. 1, the Singapore-based shipping line announced Friday.
Ng Yat Chung, a former senior executive with Temasek Holdings who had been designated as Widdows’ successor since April 20, is taking over the helm of the world’s seventh-largest shipping line three months earlier than originally announced.
With two powerful executives filling the same position, one incoming and the other outgoing, the parent of container shipping giant APL said an increasingly volatile shipping market speeded up the transition schedule. “We have completed the implementation of our executive succession plan and are moving ahead under Yat Chung,” said NOL Chairman Cheng Wai Keung. “There are important decisions to be made that will affect NOL into the future, thus it is a good time to put our new management team in place.”
Widdows will stay on with NOL as a senior advisor to the company for an undesignated period of time.
Widdows has been with NOL for the last three decades, and served as CEO of APL from 2003 to 2008. He has been a very visible spokesman for the global container industry as chairman of the World Shipping Council and former chairman of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement,
The World Shipping Council announced Wednesday Widdows will remain as chairman of its board through September 2012 after he steps down from his post at NOL.
“At the most senior level, we have been since mid-year, in the process of a transition of leadership which was intended to be complete at the end of this year,” Ng and Widdows said in a joint statement.
“It has become clear that the environment has changed, that numerous important decisions need to be taken and that most of those will have an effect on our business and our company well beyond the end of this year. As such, we both feel strongly that it is in the best interest of the company that the new leadership begins to drive the company and shape these important decisions now, and not wait until 2012.”