Ardmore’s Global Corporate Services Manager & Executive Assistant, Jackie Kelly, and Administrative Assistant and PR Co-ordinator, Kate Kelly, recently sat down with Ardmore board member, Mats Berglund, to discuss his career highlights and industry experience to date.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional career to date?
Once I’d completed my studies in Gothenburg, I worked as Business Controller at Stena Line. Fortunately, this gave me the opportunity to work in many different countries and gain experience spanning several different shipping segments within the Stena Group. My time at Stena Group lasted 20 years, and during my last five years at Stena, I was the Managing Director of Stena Rederi – the parent company for all shipping activities within the group. When I left Stena in 2005, my wife and I moved back to the U.S.A. and I joined OSG, responsible for its International Crude Tanker Business Unit. After five years at OSG, I then joined publicly listed Chemoil, in Singapore, as CFO & COO. In 2012 I was offered the job as CEO of Hong Kong listed dry bulk company, Pacific Basin Shipping, where I stayed for nine years until last July. I have been on the Ardmore board since September 2018.
What was the highlight of your career so far?
Firstly, moving to the U.S.A. to work for StenTex, based in Texaco’s headquarters in New York, gave our family a taste for life abroad and I learned shipping from the charterers and traders side. In addition, listing Arlington Tankers on the NYSE in 2004 was a great success and I learned a lot about the US Capital markets.
It was having the privilege to work with the fantastic team at Pacific Basin, with what I consider to be the world’s best cargo focused business model in Handy size and Supramax bulkers. During my nine years with the company, we grew the owned fleet from 34 to 119, bringing the total number of ships on the water, including chartered ships, to 260. The dry bulk market is now strong, and it was very satisfying to hand over the company in a robust and financially strong position.
What are some of the biggest life lessons you have learned over the course of your career?
- It’s important to always choose good counterparts in everything you do – be that a shipyard, charterer or even a spouse
- Always think long term, backing your decisions up with strategy
- Don’t leverage too high – but if you do borrow, borrow when you can, not when you need to (then you can’t)
- Be respectful in all your interactions and show care towards the people around you
- Be a good example
- Work hard, but don’t worry too much; be patient, and good things will come
- Cash and cargo are king but nothing is more important than good people.
What was it that attracted you to the board of Ardmore?
Ardmore is a very well-managed company and enjoys a good reputation resulting from the quality of its people, its ships and from a governance perspective. It is a truly public company, so is not dominated by a larger owner – meaning that the board has an important and impactful role to play.
If there is one piece of advice you could give to teenage you, what would that be?
My advice to myself would be to work hard, do your best and good things will come. Get a good education, but also take any work you can get on the side – you can’t learn everything in school. Try to find the role you are good at, because then you will like your job. Do what you like, and like what you do!