In the letter to PSA staff he said, “I have enjoyed myself tremendously working with all of you as colleague, friend, counsel; and I have been extremely fortunate to have had the support and dedication of such a talented pool of colleagues and staff. I appreciate and am thankful for the strong bond and team spirit that prevail amongst the management, unions and staff; it is this bond that has enabled us collectively to face down successfully the many challenges and overcome the hurdles and obstacles together over the years.”
“I am fully confident,” Teh continued, “that my successor will be found over the next few months, and until then, I trust I can count on your complete support and commitment to continue to work together to provide the quality services that our customers rightfully demand. Thank you all; and for those of you interested in statistics, today is my two thousand nine hundred and seventy first day, and counting, at the helm of PSA, a global champion in the making!”
Born and bred in Penang, Malaysia, Eddie Teh is UK-qualified as a management accountant and before joining the PSA worked variously for Price Waterhouse and Standard Telephones and Cables among others in the UK, Nigeria and Hong Kong.
From operational review auditor covering all the European companies to ‘looking after’ the accounts of 16 companies and having to deal with joint venture partners in Shanghai, Xiamen and Dalian who were mainly government employees and Japanese shipping lines, he was building up the portfolio of skills that would one day stand him in such good stead in his PSA role.
Interestingly, the fact that he had no ports industry background was to prove beneficial when the Hutchison Group was looking for someone with an accountancy background and qualified in all aspects of business and who could bring ‘fresh ideas’ to the company’s ports and terminals business.
As a result he was given a metaphorical blank sheet of paper and asked to outline how the Group could diversify out of Hong Kong but still stay roughly within same industry boundaries.
In 2000 Teh assumed a line management role as CEO of Hutchison’s Asia and Middle East facilities in eight countries before leaving Hutchison after being appointed Group CEO of PSA.