Seaspan Corporation has announced that co-founder, co-chairman and CEO Gerry Wang will be retiring.
Seaspan said that Wang is retiring “to focus on family business investments and his ongoing charitable efforts” and will stay with the company as CEO until a replacement CEO is found or until the end of the year.
David Sokol, a member of the board of directors and executive committee, has been appointed as chairman of the board while both Kyle Washington and Wang have both been recognised as chairman emeritus.
Wang, commenting on his retirement, said: “I am extremely proud of Seaspan’s accomplishments and its unsurpassed industry position. It has been a fun and challenging journey for the past 20 years. I am choosing this timing because the Company’s financial and operational position is strong and industry fundamentals have improved.”
Earlier in there month, Seaspan had said it was in continued discussions with Wang in regards to his employment agreement and expected to conclude a deal before the end of July. Last year, Wang and Seaspan sealed a new five-year employment agreement and negotiations to modify Wang’s employment and overall compensation package had been ongoing since.
Wang’s exit come in the wake of another key Seaspan executive, Graham Porter, quitting earlier this year.
Born in China’s Anhui province in 1962, Wang has been one of shipping’s most celebrated dealmakers of the past 20 years. His career started out with China Merchants Group in Hong Kong.
He moved to Vancouver in 1990 where he met Dennis Washington, the billionaire industrialist who owned Seaspan. Wang shot to prominence in the late 1990s, sealing many long-term charters for a fast emerging new entity out of Shanghai, China Shipping Group. Wang took Seaspan public in August 2005, raising a record $700m on the New York Stock Exchange.
Today, Seaspan’s giant box fleet is chartered out to many of the largest names in shipping, including Cosco, MOL, Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd.