The former CCO of the Maersk Group's port unit APM Terminals, Martin Gaard Christensen, has joined the senior executive team of Wrist Ship Supply, one of the world's two largest suppliers to the shipping and offshore sectors, headquartered in Denmark.
Since August 1st 2015, Martin Gaard Christensen has served as CEO of Wrist Ship Supply Singapore, working with the aim of expanding the company to cover Asia as whole, and he has now also joined the Executive Board of the global company which supplies everything from provisions to equipment to newbuildings at shipyards in shipping and offshore.
Martin Gaard Christensen's appointment at Wrist Ship Supply forms part of the company's growth strategy in Asia, where the key markets deal with supplies for ships from the main ports in China, Shanghai and Schenzhen, and Singapore.
The other core businesses in Asia include newbuildings in China, Korea and Japan as well as the offshore sector, primarily in Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.
Wrist in Asia offensive
"From being a local setup, Wrist Ship Supply in Singapore is today the headquarters for the region where the business plan aims at possible expansion throughout Asia," Martin Gaard Christensen tells ShippingWatch.
Also in August last year, Troels Larsen, after spending several years with Wrist Ship Supply, was appointed in a new position as Director of Global Clients in a move to strengthen the effort concerning the major global customers in the newbuilding sector.
Wrist Ship Supply is owned by Swedish equity fund Altor, a fund that is currently in the midst of the massive criticism leveled by institutional and private investors following Altor's IPO of OW Bunker, which went bankrupt in November 2014.
In early 2014 and ahead of the controversial OW Bunker IPO, Altor split Wrist Ship Supply into an independent unit, and the supply group remains unaffected by the dramatic collapse of the bunker company.
Robert Kledal, CEO of Wrist Ship Supply, tells ShippingWatch that the company needs to look more in-depth in Asia in terms of acquisition candidates than the company is otherwise used to west of Suez.
"It's an investment in time and energy that we're willing to make, and this is one of the reasons we've hired a high caliber force such as Martin Gaard Christensen."
According to the latest annual report, Wrist Ship Supply had a revenue of around USD 475 million in 2014, while the company suffered a deficit of USD 14.9 million, a 37 percent improvement from the year before.
Martin Gaard Christensen left APM Terminals suddenly in February 2015 alongside two other key executives, CFO Christian Møller Laursen and the head of implementing global projects, Michael Lund Hansen. The three senior executives were dismissed after breaching APM Terminals' internal code of conduct, informed the Maersk Group in a statement. The conglomerate has since then not revealed any details about the process.
But the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the three senior executives was unusually dramatic, as several sources told ShippingWatch last March, following the announcement. The sources also explained that these breach of conduct occurred in relation to the port unit's Indian business, namely in the form of so-called unofficial facilitation payments made in the strategically important Pipavav port north of Mumbai. APM Terminals owns a 43 percent stake in the port.
One of the three executives was allegedly pulled out of a seminar at one of New York's most prestigious business schools before being told to immediately pack his things and step down from his position. According to ShippingWatch's sources, he - like the other two executives, including then-CFO Christian Møller Laursen - was extremely surprised at the news, as the payments, in their view, were business as usual as well as payments that had allegedly been cleared with the company's HQ in The Hague. The compliance Office, the Maersk Group body that works to ensure that the conglomerate operates within the law, had - according to ShippingWatch's sources - approved the deals.
Martin Gaard Christensen declines to comment on the process.
Christian Møller Laursen currently serves as CFO of the Santa Fe Group.