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.
Lawrence Chin has over 19 years of experience in global capital markets, and has served as managing director of Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel (Fairfax Financial) since 2016, overseeing Asian and North American investments. Previous to this, he spent 17 years in leadership positions at Mackenzie Cundill Investments. From 2010 to 2016, as senior vice president and co-team lead, Mr. Chin co-led the Cundill brand, overseeing approximately $10 billion in global assets. From 2008 to 2010, in his role as vice president, portfolio manager and head of research, he managed the company’s research department and was the lead portfolio manager of over $3 billion in assets. From 1999 to 2008, he held the position of partner, analyst, at Cundill Investments prior to its sale to Mackenzie Investments in 2006. Mr. Chin is a chartered financial analyst, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.
John C. HsuDirector
John Hsu was appointed a director in April 2008 and is a member of the audit committee. For generations, Mr. Hsu’s family have owned and operated bulkers, tankers and specialized ships through entities such as Sincere Navigation Corp. (Taiwan-listed) and Oak Maritime Group. Currently, Mr. Hsu is a director of the family’s single family office, OSS Capital, as well as a director of Isola Capital, a multifamily office based in Hong Kong that manages direct investments in private equity. From 2008 to 2012, he was the chairman of TSSI Inc. (a Taiwan-based surveillance IC solutions provider). From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Hsu was a partner of Ajia Partners, a prominent privately-owned alternative asset investment firm. From 1998 to 2002, he was chief investment officer of Matrix Global Investments, a hedge fund of US listed technology companies. Mr. Hsu received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University and his Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia University, and is also 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. 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.
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.
Stephen Wallace has worked for over 30 years in global affairs and public administration. A Deputy Minister in Canada’s federal government until December 31, 2017, he has worked extensively with emerging economies and large-scale enterprises, was responsible for core government operations at the Treasury Board, led civil reconstruction programs in some of the world’s major conflict zones, and was most recently the Secretary to the Governor General of Canada. He is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors with an academic background in international trade and extensive experience in international negotiation. As of Spring 2018, he will sit on three private sector boards (including energy and large-scale facilities management services), as well as several charitable organizations. Mr. Wallace grew up in an Atlantic Coast naval family and is currently an advisor to government, corporations and academic institutions.
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.
Ryan CoursonChief Financial Officer
Mr. Courson was appointed as our Chief Financial Officer in April 2018. He joined Seaspan in March 2018 as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. Mr. Courson played a significant role in Seaspan’s acquisition of GCI, working closely with senior executives at Seaspan on all aspects of the transaction. Prior to joining Seaspan, Mr. Courson spent three years at Falcon Edge Capital, a diversified investment firm with over $3 billion in assets under management, where he focused on researching and investing in capital-intensive industrial companies in North America and Asia. Before that, Mr. Courson worked at Teton Capital, a private family office, as an investment professional and as acting CFO of Teton’s Davos Brands. While serving as acting CFO of Davos, Mr. Courson managed all aspects of financial planning and analysis, and worked closely with the company’s executive team and Board of Directors to help guide strategy, organizational structure, strategic partnerships and other matters. Mr. Courson began his career working at Berkshire Hathaway, where he performed financial analysis and helped structure joint ventures with certain Berkshire portfolio companies and Asian counterparties. Mr. Courson, who is fluent in Mandarin, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Washington University in St. Louis, where he currently serves as a visiting professor.
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.
Torsten Holst PedersenExecutive Vice President, Ship Management
Torsten Holst Pedersen was appointed as our executive vice president, ship management in November 2018. Mr. Pedersen has over 20 years of experience in shipping, logistics and infrastructure, during which he held senior leadership roles and board positions across Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. He started his career with the Maersk Group in 1996 and worked in several of the group’s business entities, holding C-level positions in Finance and HR. In 2016, Mr. Pedersen joined Inchcape Shipping Service as regional CEO for Middle East, Africa and South Asia. He then worked as head of Operations for V Group, leading the transformation of the global operations organization of more than 45,000 employees. Prior to joining Seaspan, Mr. Pedersen worked as a strategy consultant, assisting companies with strategy execution and M&A due diligence in the Middle East and South Asia. He holds a Master of Economics from Aalborg University, Denmark, and a Master of International Economics (with Distinction) from University of Essex, U.K. These have been complemented by executive programs at Wharton and London Business School.
Tina LaiChief Human Resources Officer
Tina Lai was appointed as our chief human resources officer in July 2018. This newly-created position provides leadership in all aspects of Seaspan’s functions relating to human capital, including talent acquisition, communications, training & development, and total performance rewards. Prior to joining Seaspan, Ms. Lai spent five years at Metrie, the largest supplier and manufacturer of solid wood and composite molding in North America, with five manufacturing facilities and 26 distribution centers in the United States and Canada. As Vice President, Human Resources, she was part of the senior leadership team there, playing a key role in building out the human resources function, which focused on bringing talent to the forefront of the company’s business strategy. Ms. Lai has 20 years of experience as a results-oriented human resources professional within a number of industries, serving in leadership positions with broad oversight responsibilities, including sales and customer service, channel marketing, corporate communications, culture transformation, and organizational effectiveness. Ms. Lai is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Certificate in Human Resources Management from the British Columbia Institute of Technology ("BCIT").
Ted ChangGeneral Counsel
Ted Chang was appointed as our general counsel in November 2018. Mr. Chang brings more than 20 years of experience in the legal, global finance and corporate development worlds to this role. Prior to joining Seaspan, he was the senior legal counsel for Seekers, a hedge and private equity fund based in Hong Kong with global investment portfolios. Mr. Chang began his career in New York City and Hong Kong as an associate with the law firms of Mudge Rose and Baker & McKenzie, before becoming Asia regional counsel for one of Motorola’s divisions and then joining a series of start-up companies. Prior to that, he was a vice president in the legal/compliance group at Goldman Sachs in New York, heading the Goldman Sachs Group position reporting group as liaison to the SEC and all state and federal regulatory agencies on various securities reporting issues. Fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, German and English, Mr. Chang holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College, New York and a Master of International Economics from Columbia University, New York. He studied law at Boston College Law School and Columbia University School of Law, where he was also awarded a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. Mr. Chang is a member of the New York State Bar Association in good standing.
Erik NielsenSenior Vice President
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.