Logistics And Frieght Forwarding

Helmut Sohmen named 2016 Lloyd’s List Asia Awards lifetime achievement winner

Sohmen: Born in Austria in 1939, he moved to Hong Kong in 1970 and became a director of World-Wide Shipping Agency Ltd.

Sohmen: Born in Austria in 1939, he moved to Hong Kong in 1970 and became a director of World-Wide Shipping Agency Ltd.

Sohmen: Born in Austria in 1939, he moved to Hong Kong in 1970 and became a director of World-Wide Shipping Agency Ltd.

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A recognised influencer, Dr Sohmen, and now his son, have for many years been well placed in the Lloyd’s List annual top 100 people in shipping THE lifetime achievement winner in the Lloyd’s List Asia 2016 Awards is someone whose name is ubiquitous with the growth and power of the industry. Helmut Sohmen is also a man who can be said to define stamina.

It is, as his son Andreas Sohmen-Pao says, somewhat ironic that a man from Austria, a landlocked country, ended up running a shipping company and holding senior industry positions for so many years. As a recognised influencer of the industry Dr Sohmen[1], and now his son[2], have for many years been well placed in the Lloyd’s List annual top 100 people in shipping. Dr Sohmen was born in Austria in 1939 and went on to obtain law degrees in Vienna, Dallas and Chicago before going on to also gain a Fulbright Scholarship in Connecticut.

It was in 1970 that he moved to Hong Kong and took up a position as a director of World-Wide Shipping Agency Ltd, a company owned by his father-in-law, Yue Kong Pao. He became chairman in 1986 as his father-in-law stepped back from the business with advancing age. It was around this time that he stood up to his father-in-law with the unpopular, but ultimately right, decision to reduce the World-Wide Shipping fleet, a move that went contrary to Mr Pao’s instincts as the company founder and an entrepreneur.

It was Dr Sohmen who oversaw the acquisitions of N&T Argonaut in Sweden, and Bergesen in Norway in 2003. This latter acquisition led to the company becoming Bergesen Worldwide, now BW Group[3]. Dr Sohmen spent 21 years on the boards of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, and then HSBC.

He has held a long list of other high-ranking positions. Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. BIMCO president.

ITOPF chairman. CMA Commodore in 1998. Chairman of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and International chairman of the Pacific Basin Economic Council, the forerunner of the APEC.

He has been a member of the Hong Kong legislative council and chairman of the Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association. On behalf of his home country, Austria, he served as honorary chair of the Austro-Chinese Friendship Association, and as a member of an International Advisory Group to the Austrian Chancellor. He was made an Ambassador for Peace by the Chinese government in Beijing.

He was managing director of Dragonair, Hong Kong’s second airline.

In keeping with a good family business, Dr Sohmen has managed succession planning smoothly, with his son and son-in-law both involved in the business.

References

  1. ^ Dr Sohmen (www.lloydslist.com)
  2. ^ his son (www.lloydslist.com)
  3. ^ BW Group (en.wikipedia.org)



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