Our board of directors sets exacting standards for our employees, officers and directors, informed by a guiding principle of sound corporate governance.
Seaspan's directors and officers are responsible for the overall direction and management of our company's affairs. They act honestly, and in good faith, with a view to the company's best interests.
David Sokol was appointed as a director and a member of the Compensation Committee and Executive Committee in April 2017, and was appointed as chairman in July 2017. Mr. Sokol has founded three companies in his career to date, taken three companies public, and, as Chairman and CEO of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. in 2000. Mr. Sokol continued with Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., until he retired in March, 2011 in order to manage his family business investments. Mr. Sokol currently sits on two corporate boards and is a member of the executive committee of the board of directors of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. Over Mr. Sokol’s 38 year career, he has chaired five corporate boards and over a dozen charitable or community boards. David Sokol’s business philosophy, based upon vision, strategy and six operating principles is described in a book he authored in 2008, Pleased But Not Satisfied. It is a simple business model with a definite focus on developing future leaders. Teton Capital, LLC is headquartered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and is a family holding company which oversees investments in the banking, manufacturing, consumer products, energy, real estate and technology businesses.
KYLE R. WASHINGTONDirector & Co-Founder
Kyle R. Washington was appointed as chairman of the board in May 2005, became co-chairman in February 2011, and in July 2017 was appointed chairman emeritus. From 2005 to 2011 he served as chairman of our Manager, Seaspan Marine Services Ltd. and certain of our Manager’s operating subsidiaries. From 1998 to 2006, Mr. Washington was a director and executive chairman of the Seaspan ULC (formerly Washington Marine Group), a marine transportation company that is involved in shipdocking, barging and shipyard enterprises. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Washington was a general partner in CopperLion Capital, a private equity fund. In 2009, Mr. Washington returned as a director and executive chairman of Seaspan ULC and was appointed as a director of Envirocon, Inc., Modern Machinery Co., Inc., Montana Rail Link, Inc., Montana Resources, Inc. and Southern Railway of British Columbia, Ltd., all of which are within the Washington Companies. Mr. Washington was an ambassador to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and is an active supporter of many charitable organizations. He is a graduate of the University of Montana with a degree in business administration.
Peter S. ShaerfDeputy Chair
Peter S. Shaerf was elected as a director in August 2005 and is chair of the governance and conflicts committee. He is also a member of the audit committee and the compensation committee. Mr. Shaerf resigned as chair of the compensation committee upon his appointment as Deputy Chair of our board of directors in February 2011. Since 2002, Mr. Shaerf has been a Managing Director and partner at AMA Capital Partners, an investment bank and private equity firm specializing in the maritime industry. From 1998 until April 2002, Mr. Shaerf was a managing director of Poseidon Capital Corp., an independent maritime consulting and investment company that works extensively in the investment community. From 1980 to 2002, he was a partner of The Commonwealth Group, a brokerage and consulting company that specialized in the dry cargo and container markets. From 1977 to 1980, he was a director of Common Brothers U.S.A. Ltd., a shipbroking subsidiary of a British shipowner of dry cargo and tanker tonnage. He has served as a director of four publicly listed shipping companies. Currently Mr. Shaerf is a director of Interlink Maritime Corp., a Bermuda based owner of handysize bulkcarriers, and of Ocean Protection Services, a U.K based maritime security company. He is the Chairman Emeritus and past Chairman of New York Maritime Inc.(NYMAR), a leading global trade association that promotes New York as a maritime center, he is a member of the American Bureau of Shipping and a member of the finance subcommittee of the U.S. Government sponsored Marine National Advisory Council. Mr. Shaerf holds a B.A. degree in international business law from the London Metropolitan University.
John C. HsuDirector
John Hsu was appointed director in April 2008 and is chair of the compensation committee. He also is a member of the audit committee. Mr. Hsu’s family has been in the business of owning and operating bulkers, tankers, and specialized ships for generations through entities such as Sincere Navigation Corp. (Taiwan-listed), and Oak Maritime, Inc., for which he is currently director of. Since 1993, Mr. Hsu has been responsible for managing the Hsu family’s investment portfolio with their family office, OSS Capital. Also, he is currently director of Isola Capital, a multi-family-office based in Hong Kong which manages direct investments in Asian private equity. From 2008 to 2012, he was chairman of a Taiwanese private company, TSSI Inc. (a surveillance IC solutions provider). From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Hsu was partner of Ajia Partners, one of Asia’s largest privately-owned alternative investment firms. From 1998 to 2002, he was chief investment officer of Matrix Global Investments, a hedge fund in US-listed technology companies. Mr. Hsu received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University and his Masters of Business Administration degree from Columbia University, and is fluent in Japanese and Mandarin.
Nicholas Pitts-Tucker was appointed as a director in April 2010 and was appointed chair of the audit committee in April 2015. He is also a member of the compensation committee as well as the governance and conflicts committee. Mr. Pitts-Tucker joined Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in 1997, following 14 years at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell and over 10 years at Grindlays Bank Limited in Asia. At Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mr. Pitts-Tucker served for 13 years with particular emphasis on project shipping and aviation finance in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He also served on the Board as an executive director of SMBC Europe and of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Japan, or SMBC Japan. He retired from SMBC Europe and SMBC Japan in April 2010, and also retired as a non executive director and as a member of the audit committee of SMBC Europe in April 2011. In December 2010, Mr. Pitts-Tucker was appointed as a director of Black Rock Frontier Investment Trust PLC, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a member of the audit committee. Mr. Pitts-Tucker is a member of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, which was founded in 1901 to promote greater knowledge and understanding of Central Asia and countries from the Middle East to Japan. In August 2013, Mr Pitts-Tucker was appointed as Governor of the University of Northampton, UK's No 1 University for Social Enterprise. Mr. Pitts Tucker has a Master of Arts degree from Christchurch, Oxford University and a Master of Business Administration from Cranfield University.
David Lyall was appointed as a director in May 2012 and is a member of the governance and conflicts committee. Mr. Lyall graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia in 1977. Mr. Lyall has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry and is head of institutional sales as well as being Vice Chairman and Director at Haywood Securities Inc. Mr. Lyall began his career in 1979 as an investment advisor in Vancouver, British Columbia. From 1983 to 1998, he was vice-president and director in the institutional sales department at First Marathon Securities in Vancouver and was part of a team that developed First Marathon’s institutional sales department for Canada and the United States. In 1998, Mr. Lyall joined Haywood Securities Inc., a 100 percent employee-owned investment dealer with more than 300 employees in its Canadian offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, Canada. Haywood Securities Inc. is a member of the Toronto Stock Exchange, the TSX Venture Exchange, the Montreal Exchange, the Canadian National Stock Exchange, the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Haywood Securities has over $5 billion in assets under administration.
Harald Ludwig has served as a director of the Company since August 2012 and is a member of the governance and conflicts committee. Mr. Ludwig has over 30 years of extensive business and investment experience, including as president of Macluan Capital Corporation (a diversified private equity investment company), as former co-chairman and director of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., and as a director of West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. Mr. Ludwig is also a founding partner or private equity investor in a number of North American and international private equity firms, hedge funds, mezzanine lenders, growth capital providers, distressed investment firms and real estate investment vehicles. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Tennenbaum Capital Partners, LLC. Mr. Ludwig graduated from Simon Fraser University and holds an L.L.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School.
Larry Simkins was appointed as a director in April 2017. Mr. Simkins has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and director of The Washington Companies (“WashCo”), providing leadership and direction to the companies by serving as a member of the Board of Directors for each individual company. WashCo is an international group of privately-owned companies transacting business in the areas of rail transportation, marine transportation, mining, environmental construction, heavy equipment sales, and aviation products. Mr. Simkins previously served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 2010 to 2016. Larry currently serves on the Boards of Trustees of Gonzaga University and the Boy Scouts of America-Montana Council, and as co-chair of Governor Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project.
Bing ChenPresident & Chief Executive Officer
Bing Chen was appointed as a director and our president and chief executive officer in January 2018. Over his twenty-five-year career, Mr. Chen has held executive positions in China, Europe and the United States. Most recently, he served as chief executive officer of BNP Paribas (China) Ltd. leading the bank’s growth strategy in China. From 2011 to 2014, Mr. Chen was the general manager for Trafigura’s Chinese business operations, where he maintained full P&L responsibility for domestic and international commodities trading in the country. Between 2009 and 2011, he was responsible for building the greater China investment banking practice of Houlihan Lokey, Inc. as the managing director and head of Asia financial advisory. Between 2001 and 2009, Mr. Chen held various leadership roles in Europe, including as chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and managing director of leasing and aircraft chartering businesses. Between 1999 and 2001, he worked as a director, business strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. Mr. Chen is a certified public accountant (inactive), and received a B.S., Accountancy (Magna Cum Laude) (Honours) from Bernard Baruch College, and an MBA (Honours) from Columbia Business School.
Peter CurtisExecutive Vice President, Chief Commercial & Technical Officer
Peter Curtis was appointed as an executive vice president in July 2017 and as chief commercial and technical officer in March 2018, and served as our chief operating officer from February 2012 to February 2018. He is responsible for ship building programs and commercial management of our owned and managed vessels. From 2001 to 2012, Mr. Curtis was vice president of Seaspan Ship Management Limited. Prior to joining the company in 2001, he was based in Cyprus for two years with Columbia Ship Management as technical director. From 1991 to 1999, Mr. Curtis was with Safmarine, where he was responsible for the operations of a mixed fleet of containerships, handysize and capesize bulkcarriers and also oversaw a number of new building programs. From 1989 to 1991, he was an associate with a firm of engineering consultants in Cape Town, working on offshore and naval architectural projects, such as offshore oil and gas, as well as other marine projects. From 1981 to 1989, Mr. Curtis served in the South African Navy, where he attained the rank of Lt. Commander in charge of the submarine maintenance facility and design office. In 1981, he obtained a B.Sc. Mechanical Engineering degree at Natal University in Durban, South Africa. Mr. Curtis also obtained his Master’s degree in Naval Architecture from University College in London, England and his B.Sc. in business from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.
Mark ChuExecutive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel
Mark Chu was appointed as our general counsel in March 2012, secretary in July 2013, and as an executive vice president and our chief operating officer in March 2018. Mr. Chu served as our director, corporate finance from March 2012 to August 2015, vice president, corporate development and chief development officer from September 2015 to September 2017, and chief administrative officer from September 2017 to February 2018. He also served as our interim chief financial officer from November 2015 to May 2016. From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Chu was a partner in the law firm Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP. From 2004 to 2009, he was a tax partner at KPMG LLP. His practice encompassed all areas of Canadian taxation, including mergers and acquisitions, financings, initial public offerings, corporate reorganizations and dispute resolution. Mr. Chu is both a chartered professional accountant, chartered accountant, admitted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1993, and a barrister and solicitor, called to the British Columbia bar in 1997. Mr. Chu obtained his business and law degrees from the University of British Columbia.
David SpivakChief Financial Officer
David Spivak was appointed as our chief financial officer in May 2016. From 2013 to 2016, Mr. Spivak was president and founder of Brockstreet Consulting, where he advised companies on corporate finance matters. From 1995 to 2012, Mr. Spivak worked at Citigroup as an investment banker where he held a variety of positions, including serving as a managing director in the investment banking and equity capital markets groups and the Canadian head of global capital structuring. From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Spivak was based in New York and led Citigroup’s equity capital markets business in the aircraft leasing, maritime and SPAC sectors. Prior to joining Citigroup, he worked at Coopers & Lybrand in their financial advisory services group. Mr. Spivak is a certified public accountant (inactive) and currently serves as a director of Höegh LNG Partners LP. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree with Distinction from the University of Manitoba and an MBA with High Honors from the University of Chicago.
Erik NielsenSenior Vice President, Operations
Erik Merkes Nielsen was appointed as our vice president, strategic planning in August 2015, and as senior vice president in Operations in September 2017. Mr. Nielsen is also Seaspan’s designated person ashore. Before joining Seaspan, he worked at Maersk Line, from 1993 to July 2015, in various fleet management, marine, strategic procurement, capacity management, network and asset management functions. There, his direct line responsibilities included asset deployment, vessel operation, emergency management, network scheduling, asset efficiencies, cooperation with owners, budgeting, company media spokesperson, and the 2M alliance phase-in. From Maersk Line’s head office in Copenhagen, Mr. Nielsen also chaired the casualty committees of numerous loss events and was thus heavily involved in risk prevention and mitigation strategies for various incidents. Notably, he chaired the response to the hijacking of Maersk Alabama, as depicted in the film Captain Phillips. His history with Maersk includes various management and operational positions, but also extends to sea life as an officer. Mr. Nielsen sailed primarily on container vessels with the Maersk Group from the time he joined in 1993 until taking up a shore position in 2000. He holds Master Mariner accreditation, and has further supplemented his education with internal leadership training at Maersk, a Bachelor of Science (Business Administration) from Copenhagen Business School (CBS), and an Executive MBA from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland.