Senior Advisor to the Board
By the time he steps down as Keppel Corp CEO in January this year, Choo Chiau Beng would have been with the world's largest builder of offshore oil rigs for 42 of its 45 years. As the newly appointed Senior Advisor to the Board, he will help ensure a smooth handover and provide continued counsel to the group. Former CFO Loh Chin Hua takes over from Choo a sprawling conglomerate that is performing well, despite the challenging global environment. For the three months ended September, Keppel Corp posted a 20 percent rise in net profit to $403 million. The group's offshore and marine arm clinched $5 billion in new orders during the period to take its net order book to a record $13.6 billion. The future for this profitable Keppel unit looks bright as discoveries in the North Sea, Mexico and Africa continue to fuel optimism and investment for further exploration work. The son of a vehicle repair man, Choo won a Commonwealth-funded scholarship in 1966, which saw him studying naval architecture in Newcastle. Five years later, he began his career with Keppel Corp at Keppel Shipyard, as a ship repair management trainee. His first break came in 1975 when he was sent to the Philippines to build Keppel's first overseas shipyard on a strip of rice paddies. The skills he gained negotiating the project were critical when the company began expanding into new markets. Choo rose through the ranks and in 2009, was appointed group chairman. In 2013, Choo took steps to ensure that other gifted students would also receive the opportunity to pursue the success he has enjoyed. Beginning from the 2013-2014 academic year, the Choo Chiau Beng Outstanding Student Award in Naval Architecture will be given annually to the most outstanding graduating student of the Singapore Institute of Technology pursuing a full-time degree Bachelor of Engineering with Honours degree in Naval Architecture.