Singapore: Ezra’s Founder and Executive Chairman Steps Down After 20 Years at Helm
Mr Lee Kian Soo, 67, founder and Executive Chairman of Ezra Holdings Limited (Ezra, the Group) stepped down after helming the company for the past 20 years. He leaves with the Group in a strong position, having achieved revenues of nearly US$1 billion in Financial Year 2012.
Succeeding him is corporate veteran Mr Koh Poh Tiong, 66, who assumes the position of Non-Executive Chairman as the Group embarks on its next stage of growth and internationalisation. Mr Koh continues in his role as Senior Advisor, a position he was appointed to on 1 September 2012. He was previously Vice-Chairman and a Non-Executive Director of Ezra.
These changes are in line with the Group’s long-term leadership-renewal plans. Mr Lee remains as Non-Executive, Non-Independent Director, a role that allows him to continue to contribute his perspective from his extensive experience in the industry.
Retiring Chairman Mr Lee Kian Soo
Mr Lee has been in the shipping and offshore support services industry for more than 30 years. In 1992, he founded Ezra.
Under Mr Lee’s stewardship, Ezra has transformed itself from a local subcontractor in shipyards to a global player owning its own shipyards and with offices in 16 locations across five continents spanning Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Mr Lee took Ezra public on the Singapore stock exchange in 2003 and listed its construction and production division on the Oslo stock exchange in 2007. In 2005 – 2007, he led the establishment and development of two shipyards in Vietnam, and with their growing success, the business was ultimately listed as TRIYARDS Holdings Limited on the
Singapore Exchange Mainboard this year. In 2011, he led EMAS in its strategic acquisition of Aker Marine Contractors (AMC), forming the subsea construction and installation division, EMAS AMC.
Today, Ezra occupies a leading position in offshore support and marine services, as well as in the technically-challenging subsea engineering and construction services arena. EMAS AMC trebled its turnover to US$551.6 million in FY12 from US$179.5 million the year before, and the Group’s total revenue has almost reached US$1 billion.
New Chairman Mr Koh Poh Tiong
Mr Koh joined Ezra’s Board on 1 October 2011 as non-executive Vice-Chairman. With over 42 years of corporate experience in diverse sectors, ranging from food and beverage to shipping, he is deeply passionate about building global brands and companies. He served as CEO of the Food & Beverage Division of Fraser and Neave Limited from 2008 to 2011. He was CEO of Asia Pacific Breweries Limited (APB) from 1993 to 2008. In APB, Mr Koh served as General Manager from 1985 to 1991, followed by Deputy Group General Manager from 1991 to 1993. His leadership was instrumental in transforming Asia Pacific Breweries into one of the top brewery groups in Asia Pacific. Mr Koh is also Chairman of the Singapore Kindness Movement and the National Kidney Foundation, as well as a Director of Raffles Medical Group, the Port of Singapore Authority Corporation, the Port of Singapore Authority International, Great Eastern Life Assurance Co. Limited, SATS, United Engineers Limited and Petra Food Limited. He was bestowed the Public Service Medal and the Service to Education Award in 2007, and was the recipient of The Business Times/DHL’s “Outstanding Chief Executive Officer Award” in 1998. Mr Koh holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Singapore.
“I am delighted that Mr Koh has agreed to take on the chairmanship of Ezra’s Board. His vast corporate experience will be key in guiding Ezra through our next phase of growth, and establish us as a global brand,” said Mr Lee.
“It has been a tremendous honour and privilege being with Ezra and seeing this company blossom. In a short span of 20 years, we have grown from ship chandling, to vessel owners, to our current engineering and project management operations. This was only possible due to the hard work of our people striving to make Ezra a stellar company focused on delivering best results for our clients and shareholders.”
Mr Koh said, “Mr Lee’s vision and effective leadership have not only contributed to Ezra’s achievements to date but also positioned the Group to harness futureopportunities in the dynamic subsea, marine and energy sectors. I look forward to working with the Ezra Board and Management to build on the robust foundation that Mr Lee Kian Soo and Mr Lionel Lee have laid out and take Ezra to new heights in the growth of its business.”
Ezra’s Managing Director Lionel Lee said, “I would like to express my deepest appreciation to Mr Lee for his significant contribution to Ezra. His tenacity and foresight have enabled the Group to enter markets and embark on lines of business that few would have imagined the company capable of in its early days.”
He added, “I am also deeply pleased that we have found an individual as experienced and respected as Mr Koh to succeed Mr Lee as Chairman. As Ezra progresses in the execution of its internationalisation strategy, we are continually on the look-out for industry leaders who can fortify the Group through their experience and perspective. Mr Koh, with his management expertise and success in building a regional brand, is eminently qualified to steer Ezra’s journey of expanding our global footprint and pushing technological frontiers to create optimal solutions for our clients.”
Press Release , December 31, 2012