Choice of next HMM CEO sparks takeover speculation

The creditors of HMM, South Korea’s flagship carrier, have got tongues wagging in Seoul with the choice of the line’s next CEO.

Bae Jae-hoon has decided not to renew his contract with HMM after three years in the job with Kim Kyung-bae designated as his replacement from March 26. Kim was the CEO of another shipping line, Hyundai Glovis, for eight years through to 2017. Hyundai Glovis is owned by Hyundai Motors and the next CEO news has prompted local media to speculate that HMM’s creditors have found a buyer for the line finally.

HMM has been controlled by state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) since it was bailed out in 2016. The bank has said repeatedly it is seeking to find a buyer for HMM.

Officials at both Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Glovis have this week denied any speculation about taking over HMM, a company formerly called Hyundai Merchant Marine.

In related news, another liner boss choosing to stay on rather than leave his post is Rolf Habben Jansen. The supervisory board of Hapag-Lloyd has agreed to an early extension of his contract until March 31 2027. Habben Jansen has been in charge at the Hamburg-based line since 2014.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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