Lunching with Asia-Pacific CEO of Trafigura (12th Feb 2020)

I had lunch with Tan Chin Hwee, Asia-Pacific CEO of Trafigura, yesterday. The commodities trading company is Singapore’s largest firm by revenue, racking up US$180 billion last year. Sales doubled in the past 5 years that Chin Hwee was at the helm. It is quite a feat, especially given that he had no operational experience before that. He was previously an award-winning fund manager and founding partner for Apollo Global Management’s Asia outfit.

Chin Hwee is also known to give back extensively to the society. He sits on boards of schools (NTU, our alma mater Hwa Chong), VWOs (Lien Aid, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital) and private companies (SPH, Grab), as well as holds numerous public sector appointments (MAS, MCYS, MOE). He is the most prolific mentor I know.

A big-time Liverpool fan, Chin Hwee really scores in being a dad. Despite his professional commitments, he has never missed his 3 kids’ birthdays. Many years back, he rejected a meeting with his biggest client in the US as it fell on his daughter’s birthday. There are, however, times when this devoted dad mixes work with family. His family whatsapp chatgroup is not your normal. It’s peppered with him challenging his 15-yo son and 2 preteen daughters to analyse companies he plans to invest in for his family office. How’s that for some tough (financial) love!

Pic: Chin Hwee and principal Pang Choon How (centre) at Hwa Chong’s 100th anniversary last year

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