Media Recognition · January 20, 2022
Foremost Group Chair and CEO Angela Chao Featured in LEADERS Magazine
NEW YORK, NY – January 20, 2022 – Foremost Group Chair and CEO Angela Chao was recently featured in LEADERS Magazine as part of its coverage of distinguished Women Leaders. In the profile, Ms. Chao discusses Foremost Group’s history, operations and track record as a leading dry bulk shipping company. She also touches on the Company’s culture and values, and what she sees as the hallmarks of effective leadership. Key excerpts from the interview are below, with the full section regarding Ms. Chao available online here.
“I believe the keys to effective leadership are the same elements that underpin most successful business endeavors: subject matter expertise, attention to detail, clear articulation of goals and values, proper long-term planning, effective risk management, openness to innovation, and the cultivation and retention of good people. … My inspiration has always been my father’s leadership which is based on a clear set of values that emphasize service to others and contributing to society.”
“In addition, as a woman executive in a male-dominated industry, I’m something of an outsider which gives me a fairly unique perspective. I’m not afraid to think outside the box, or to look for talent outside traditional models of industry recruitment. Gender diversity has always been a priority. We are proud that approximately half of our onshore staff are women. In my experience, I have found that having more voices representing a diversity of backgrounds and opinions at the table delivers the best outcomes.”
The full LEADERS Magazine issue for January, February & March 2022 is available here: https://issuu.com/leadersmag/docs/le2201
NEW YORK, NY – December 16, 2021 – Foremost Group Chair and CEO Angela Chao was recently recognized by Marine Log as one of the Top Women in the Maritime industry for the year 2021. In addition to Ms. Chao, those also recognized include leaders from across the maritime industry, including, among others, the American Maritime Officers Union, American Bureau of Shipping, Crowley Maritime, Glostens, Ingram Barge Company, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Waterways Council Inc.
The section regarding Ms. Chao is available here and below:
Honoring Marine Log’s Top Women in Maritime 2021
Written by Heather Ervin
December 15, 2021
As the maritime industry continues to increase diversity and bring more women into its ranks, we wrap up 2021 for the second year in a row by bringing to you our list of Top Women in Maritime.
Our editorial team has carefully selected these 20 women of varied backgrounds, ages and locations with nominations given by those in the industry. We asked them to tell us about the successes they’re most proud of in their maritime career—whether it’s in shoreside management, onboard a vessel, or in another field. …
Angela Chao, Chairman and CEO of Foremost Group
Before taking the helm of Foremost Group, Chao worked in the mergers and acquisitions department of Smith Barney, now a part of Morgan Stanley. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard, where she graduated magna cum laude in three years and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She then rejoined Foremost Group, first concentrating on the fundamentals of ship operations and ship management while overseeing the implementation of Foremost’s Safety Management System to comply with the International Safety Management Code and then in later years, the fleet’s Vessel Security Plans in compliance with the IMO’s International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. In 2019, she was named chair and CEO of Foremost Group.
Chao serves on numerous public and nonprofit boards. Previously, she served on the boards of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Lincoln Center Global’s China Advisory Council, Museum of Modern Art PS1, the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and the Executive Committee of the Baltic International Maritime Council (BIMCO).
ML: What successes are you most proud of in terms of your maritime career?
AC: I am very proud of the fact that Foremost Group is internationally recognized for its modern, eco-friendly fleet and for our exceptional service, high integrity, and superior performance.
I am also extremely proud that gender diversity has always been, and will always be, a priority at Foremost. Approximately half of our onshore staff are women, and from that diversity of backgrounds, opinions and perspectives, we are able to deliver the best outcomes for our partners.
Dating back to my first ship visits as a young girl with my parents, Dr. James Chao and Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, I always knew I wanted to work at Foremost. It is deeply humbling and most gratifying to be able to serve as the second generation carrying on my parents’ legacy and life values. …
The full Marine Log article “Honoring Marine Log’s Top Women in Maritime 2021” is available here: https://www.marinelog.com/news/who-made-our-list-for-top-women-in-maritime-2021/
On Saturday, June 22, Foremost Group Chairperson and CEO Angela Chao received an Honorary Doctorate from Webb Institute, a top-ranked institution specializing in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering located in Glen Cove, NY. Ms. Chao received the Honorary Doctorate at Webb’s 123rd Commencement Ceremony, where she also served as keynote speaker. A press release from Webb Institute is available here and below:
21 Graduate with Dual Degrees in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from Webb Institute
On Saturday June 22, 2019, Webb Institute awarded 21 Bachelor of Science degrees at its 123rd Commencement Ceremony. Each graduating student received a dual degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.
Webb’s Commencement Ceremony opened with the singing of the National Anthem by the WooFs (Webb Family Singers) and included inspirational remarks from Webb’s President R. Keith Michel, a Webb graduate from the Class of 1973, and keynote speaker, Angela Chao. Ms. Chao is Chairperson and C.E.O. of Foremost Group, an American shipping company with worldwide operations, who received an Honorary Doctorate during the ceremony.
Ms. Chao’s speech touched on the transformative power of education, drawing upon the inspiration of her parents’ life stories of perseverance, determination and optimism to inspire Webb’s Class of 2019. She exhorted the graduates, “You are our future. Make our industry and our world better!”
Additional remarks were made by the Class of 2019’s student speaker, Andrew Pidduck, who spoke about the invaluable friendships, experiences, and education he gained during his time at Webb. “We appreciate the gift of education and the entire Webb experience that we have received.” said Pidduck. “We will carry it with us always and we will share it with others. This is our responsibility. We promise to remember where we came from and represent Webb well.”
In addition to the awarding of degrees, several students received additional awards and prizes for their outstanding academic achievements in a variety of areas, such as excellence in thesis, excellence in mathematics, highest general average, and exemplary commitment of service to others through volunteerism, community service, and civic outreach.
Following commencement, Webb’s Class of 2019 will spread out across the country and the world to begin graduate work or start their professional careers in the marine industry. Notable employers include: BMT Designers and Planners, Bruce S. Rosenblatt & Associates, Newport News Shipbuilding, NSWC Carderock, Shipwright, and Vigor. Graduate schools include: MIT, University of Michigan, and Delft University of Technology.
On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, Foremost Group Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Angela Chao received the Pinnacle Award from the Asian American Business Development Center. The award, which recognizes those who have reached the acme of their professional career and are widely acknowledged as leaders in their industry, was presented at the AABDC’s Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award Gala held in New York City. A press release issued by AABDC is below:
Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award Highlighted Asian Americans Businesses at its Best
NEW YORK, N.Y., June 26, 2018 – The 17th annual Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award Ceremony showcased Asian American Businesses at its very best.
As in past years, the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award Gala included a wide array of Asian ethnicities that represent a microcosm of elite Asian American business owners, professionals and corporate executives across the United States. The award committee identifies and selects outstanding leaders who have built a successful business or who have distinguished themselves in their community. Of those, the committee also identifies top Pinnacle Award recipients who have reached the acme of their professional career and are widely acknowledged as leaders in their industry. This year the top two Pinnacle Awardees are Angela A. Chao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Foremost Group and Vivek Sankaran, President and Chief Operating Officer of Frito-Lay North America.
Angela A. Chao accepted the Pinnacle Award by thanking AABDC and its committee members for bestowing her with such a great honor of the Pinnacle Award. She gave congratulations to AABDC’s Founder and President, Mr. John Wang and the outstanding Dinner Committee for organizing another wonderful evening and successful event! She said, “My father, Dr. James S.C. Chao, Founder and Honorary Chairman of our family company Foremost Group was honored in 2007. I am the youngest of his six daughters, and I am very honored to follow in his footsteps in receiving this award.
“The Asian American Business Development Center does such important work in promoting Asian American business leadership and drawing attention to the many contributions Asian Americans make to our business world and society at large.”
This year’s event followed a successful two-day multicultural business roundtable in January during which John Wang, president of AABDC, announced plans for a New Majority coalition of key minority business groups and a commitment to CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.
Foremost Group’s Dr. James Chao, Shell, International Seaways, Port of Corpus Christie, Holland America and Others Recognized for Outstanding Achievements
The Four Seasons in Houston was the gathering point for an evening dedicated to celebrating the achievements of the maritime industry at the Lloyd’s List Americas Awards. This fifth anniversary of honoring industry best practices in the Americas was attended by over 250 maritime professionals from all aspects of the industry.
The highlight of the event was the recognition of Dr. James S.C. Chao, founder and Honorary Chairman of Foremost Group and a dedicated philanthropist, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. A moving tribute to her father was delivered by Foremost Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Angela Chao, who shared her father’s unwavering commitment to continual improvement in the shipping industry. “My father, while honored by this recognition, felt that it may be too soon, as he has many things he still wants to do!”
The Lloyd’s List Awards Dinner brings together maritime professionals from the hemisphere to celebrate industry best practices. In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, companies were recognized for the following categories:
- Best Fuel Solution Award- Waterfront Shipping
- Cyber Security Innovation Award- Naval Dome
- Safety Training Initiative- Shell Shipping and Maritime, Americas
- Cruise Safety Innovation Award- Holland America Group
- i-Law Maritime Law Award- Norton Rose Fulbright
- Port Infrastructure Development of the Year- APM Terminals
- Port Operator of the Year- Port Houston
- Lloyd’s List Intelligence Data Innovation Award- Maersk Line
- Best Technology for Cleaner Emissions- General Electric
- Environment Award (dual award)- Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and also CMA CGM
- Deal of the Year- Port Corpus Christi
- Ship Operator of the Year- International Seaways
- Company of the Year- Groupe Desgagnes
“These winners reflect the effort and importance industry places on achieving excellence,” stated Helen Kelly, Executive Editor for Lloyd’s List. “We are intent on celebrating the best practices, and practitioners, in this industry which is the backbone of global trade. It is important to take the time to recognize the major role that maritime plays in our world and the commitment to high standards.”
Watch the Americas Awards 2018 Highlights video here.
For more coverage of the event, please go to Lloyd’s List Americas Awards.
Founder of Foremost Group and recipient of the Lloyd’s List Americas Lifetime Achievement Award explains his philosophy of education, life-time training and a commitment to always being the best
By Lambros Papaeconomou
IT WAS Dr James S.C. Chao who built Foremost Group as one of the most respected dry cargo shipping companies in the world, and who taught his youngest daughter Angela Chao the importance of striving to be the best.
Dr Chao still serves as honorary chairman, having removed himself from the company’s day-to-day operations.
Ms Chao, a Harvard-educated former investment banker, is now steering the helm of Foremost as its chairman and chief executive.
The company’s strategy is not to get big fast, but to organically grow in a “step function fashion”, and a virtuous cycle of knowing and serving all their key constituents.
Investing in people
According to Dr Chao, it all starts with how you treat, train and retain your crew on board.
“We are a shipping company and we value our [relationship with] crew members as very important. Every time a ship comes into a port in the Western Hemisphere, we send staff from our New York ofice to visit the ship.”
“Not only to just say hello. We stay there for one or two nights. We eat with them, live with them, work with them, talk with them, sing with them, plan our future with them.
“Our crew sees working for Foremost as their pride. They have the total privilege and freedom to join others, but once they come here they don’t want to leave.”
Ms Chao recalls that when Foremost celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, her father put in place a special recognition programme for all their crew members and staff that had been with the company for 10, 15 and 20 years.
“We had almost 200 people.”
The second key constituent is the ships themselves. Foremost does not buy secondhand ships, choosing instead to order newbuilding vessels at dedicated shipyards in Japan and China. They are built according to upgraded specifications based on Foremost’s standards.
“Ordering newbuildings is not the cheapest way to go,” says Ms Chao.
“But for us, it is consistent with our corporate philosophy. We have a very small circle of first class charterers (the third key constituent) that we deal with, companies like MOL and Bunge. For us it is important that we maintain a consistent product and a very high level of service. Our charterers do not want to worry about offhire or underperformance.”
The company’s ships are tailor-made and they are also young since the company strives to keep the fleet modern. Foremost has operated a fleet with an average age of five years or less for the past 30 years.
Dr Chao proudly declares that when Foremost sells a ship, prospective buyers will waive the inspection and offer to buy the ship “as is where is”.
Bankers on board
The last but equally important constituent in the value chain is of course the bankers — although getting Financing for vessels that are typically tailor-made to charterers’ requirements is not difficult.
“When we build a ship we already have the business. Because of this we don’t need bank help. The bank will call us and say when you order a new ship don’t forget us,” says Dr Chao.
“They do this because they know we have a reliable business, so they want to join. Money-wise we don’t have to worry.”
Notwithstanding the financial prowess of Foremost Group, we are tempted to ask whether public companies with ambitions to grow bigger can challenge the status quo of privately-owned, family businesses in the industry.
“Although we feel very optimistic about the future, it is dangerous that there is so much public money, private money, hedge fund money coming in, because the numbers get so big,” says Ms Chao.
“It’s no longer companies ordering one or two ships at a time. Now shipyards are doing 10-ship orders and often to players that aren’t necessarily very prudent, and they are not doing in-house management.
“This is just a financial transaction for them, they are asset players and we find that very dangerous because as an industry we have such an incredible responsibility. Some 90% of world trade is carried by ships. We provide a very important service to the world and we always need to remember that we are a service industry. We are not here to just be financial asset players.”
Ms Chao confesses that she wanted to be a shipping entrepreneur ever since her father taught her the word “entrepreneur”. But she wants to make clear that that was her choice.
“I was the last of six daughters and my parents were very progressive and open-minded to encourage each one of us to find our own talents, to find our own interests, and all they told us is to be self-sufficient, not expect anything from them. Our gift and biggest and greatest inheritance from them was our education.”
Dr Chao and his late wife Ruth Mu-Lan Chu Chao always believed in the power of education.
He likes to say: “Regardless of how difficult life was, we never, ever, forgot the importance of education.”
It was the nautical education and training that allowed Dr Chao to become one of the youngest master mariners at the age of 29.
Having seen his six daughters graduating from prestigious universities and launching independent careers, Dr Chao spends much of his time on his substantial charitable work that is focused on helping higher education students in the United States and Asia.
Dr Chao will receive the 2018 Lloyd’s List Americas Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday March 23, 2018 in Houston.
Read the article online here: https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1122653/The-Interview-Dr-James-SC-Chao
Dinner honors Foremost Group’s Dr. James S.C. Chao and Angela Chao, and Turner Construction’s Joseph Byrne ‘89
$800,000 raised for scholarships to support next generation of maritime leaders
THROGGS NECK, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SUNY Maritime College held its 15th annual Admiral’s Scholarship Dinner, which honors industry executives and raises funds to help the next generation of maritime leaders, on Tuesday, May 1. This year’s dinner honored leaders from Foremost Group, an internationally recognized shipping company, and Turner Construction Group, an international construction services company, and raised a record $800,000 for scholarships.
The three dinner honorees were Dr. James S.C. Chao, founder and honorary chairman of Foremost Group, and his daughter, Angela Chao, current chairman and CEO of Foremost Group, the first father-daughter team to be recognized with this honor, and Joseph Byrne ’89, vice president and senior operations manager of Turner Construction. Foremost Group and Turner Construction, both headquartered in the United States, were also recognized at the dinner.
The dinner was attended by more than 650 SUNY Maritime College alumni and friends, with Maritime Administration Administrator Rear Adm. Mark Buzby joining as a distinguished guest.
“We were deeply grateful to have such a distinguished group of honorees, guests and alumni at this year’s event,” said Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, president of Maritime College. “Their support helps demonstrate the vital and deep connections between the college, its faculty and students, and the industry that we serve. Thanks to leaders of industry such as those in the room tonight, our students make a meaningful mark on their chosen fields. At the same time, leaders of the maritime industry get to meet the industry’s future leaders – our students.”
Dr. James S.C. Chao – Founder and Honorary Chairman, Foremost Group
An American of Chinese descent, Dr. James S.C. Chao founded Foremost Group in New York in 1964, and today it is one of the most respected global shipping companies. Foremost has one of the youngest and most environmentally friendly shipping fleets in the world. It is an industry leader recognized for its superior management and performance. Dr. Chao has received numerous awards for his professional accomplishments and philanthropy. For his lifetime contributions, Dr. Chao was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame at the United Nations. Dr. Chao and his late wife Ruth Mulan Chu Chao have dedicated their lives to promoting education and philanthropy. Thousands of students have been awarded scholarships through their generosity. The Chao Foundation’s Mulan Educational Scholarship Fund helps students from the National Taiwan Ocean University pursue graduate degrees at SUNY Maritime College.
Dr. Chao commented, “It has long been my belief that acting with honor, integrity, and professionalism are critical to success and the foundation of any meaningful relationship – whether business or personal. I am proud that Foremost Group has so deeply embodied these principles in our work, which enabled our continued leadership in the global shipping industry. Like the lessons I learned at a young age, SUNY Maritime College plays a vital role in educating the next generation of maritime leaders. It is a true honor to receive this recognition and on behalf of my family, I thank you all for your dedication to this vital industry and look forward to continued partnership in the years ahead.”
Angela Chao – Chairman and CEO, Foremost Group
Before succeeding her father as chairman and CEO of Foremost Group, Ms. Chao was vice president of Foremost Group, concentrating on ship operations and ship management, and then promoted to senior vice president of the company, adding chartering, and sale and purchase to her responsibilities. Prior to that, she was assistant vice president where she implemented Foremost’s Safety Management System to comply with the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, a new regulation mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which came into effect for large bulk carriers in 1997, whose objective was to ensure safety, to prevent human injury or loss of life, and to avoid damage to the environment and property that was a result of various marine accidents. She has since also implemented the fleet’s Vessel Security Plans in compliance with the IMO’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and ports, developed in response to the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
As chairman and CEO of Foremost Group, Ms. Chao is one of just a handful of female executives in the maritime industry. Prior to joining Foremost Group in 1996, Ms. Chao worked in the mergers and acquisitions department of Smith Barney, now Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
Among many industry activities, Ms. Chao serves on the Board of the American Bureau of Shipping Council and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s International Maritime Business Department Advisory Board.
Ms. Chao earned an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School after receiving her undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard College, where she graduated magna cum laude in three years. Born in the United States, Ms. Chao also speaks Mandarin and lives in New York City.
Ms. Chao commented, “This recognition means the world to my family and me. Since founding Foremost Group in 1964 with my mother, the late Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, my father has been an outstanding leader in the shipping industry. He has taught us all the value of hard work and dedication and that doing what is right by our customers and the environment is always what’s right for Foremost Group. The SUNY Maritime community is well known for its excellence in our industry and we are proud to accept this honor as we work with you to help the next generation prepare to lead the maritime industry forward.”
Joseph Byrne – Vice President and Senior Operations Manager, Turner Construction
During his career at Turner, Joseph Byrne ‘89 has worked on construction projects for Madison Square Garden, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hearst Tower and Yankee Stadium. A veteran, he leads Turner Construction’s Veteran GiveBack Network and related volunteer programs at the Bronx VA Medical Center. An active supporter of his alma mater, Byrne has recruited students for full-time and internship positions at Turner for years. Turner Construction employs more than 40 Maritime College graduates.
Joseph Byrne commented, “Turner builds these huge facilities, and these buildings and hospitals are ships that don’t move. These students excel because they have the hands-on experience, Maritime’s leadership training, and the engineering programs. We give to the school and that helps the admiral and the college to get the best and the brightest. Everyone in this industry wants to get these students into our companies.”
ABOUT SUNY MARITIME COLLEGE
Combining classroom and lab learning with summer sea terms aboard the college training ship and industry internships, SUNY Maritime College prepares its 1,800 students to be leaders in the shipping, transportation and power generation industries, as well as in government, military and business. The 55-acre campus is on a peninsula between the Long Island Sound and East River, 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan. Find out more at www.sunymaritime.edu.
ABOUT FOREMOST GROUP
Foremost Group is an American shipping company with offices in the United States and Asia. Founded in New York in 1964 by Dr. James S.C. Chao and his late wife, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, the company today is a global leader in the dry bulk shipping industry and has earned a worldwide reputation for its commitment to exceptional service and performance and the highest ethical standards. Learn more: www.ForemostGroupUSA.com.
ABOUT TURNER CONSTRUCTION
Turner is a North America-based, international construction services company and is a leading builder in diverse market segments. The company has earned recognition for undertaking large, complex projects, fostering innovation, embracing emerging technologies, and making a difference for their clients, employees and community.
With a staff of 8,000 employees, the company completes more than $15 billion of construction on 1,500 projects each year. Turner offers clients the accessibility and support of a local firm with the stability and resources of a multi-national organization. Learn more: www.turnerconstruction.com.
Source: SUNY Maritime College
Houston Event Recognizes a Legacy of Shipping and Philanthropy
The Lloyd’s List 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Dr. James S.C. Chao, Founder and Honorary Chairman of Foremost Group, noted philanthropist and longtime benefactor to the advancement of education. Dr. Chao will be honored on May 23rd at the Lloyd’s List Americas Awards Dinner being held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Chao was unanimously selected by a distinguished panel of judges for his contributions to the maritime industry and support of education. An American of Chinese heritage who resides in New York, Dr. James S. C. Chao has dedicated his life to the maritime industry and philanthropic activities to help others. He is the founder and Honorary Chairman of Foremost Group, a highly respected international shipping and finance company known for its integrity, reliability and service. He grew up in an educated family in a small farming village. Early in his career, he advanced quickly through the ranks to become one of the youngest ocean-going sea captains at the age of 29. Later, he took the National Master Mariner Examination and achieved the highest score ever recorded and was honored as “Number One Captain.” This achievement provided him an opportunity to pursue further studies in the United States.
After earning his MBA in Management from St. John’s University in 1964, Dr. Chao founded Foremost Maritime Corporation, which was later expanded to Foremost Group. As an early adopter of green technology, Foremost Group has incorporated fuel-efficient design and technology in its fleet of ships, which are ranked among the world’s most eco-friendly bulk carriers. For his outstanding contributions to the maritime industry, Dr. Chao was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame at the United Nations.
“Dr. Chao’s story of a person born in a humble farming village who becomes an international maritime industry icon is a powerful example to today’s young people that one’s origins do not determine one’s destiny,” stated Lloyd’s List editor Helen Kelly. “Equally compelling is how he has shared his success to support the education of others with significant contributions to universities in Asia and the United States including the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center at Harvard University.”
The Lloyd’s List Awards Dinner brings together maritime professionals from the hemisphere to celebrate industry best practices. In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, awards recognizing shipping companies, ports, environmental initiatives, training and others will be announced.
Dr. James S. C. Chao and his late wife, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, are parents to six daughters: Elaine, Jeanette, May, Christine, Grace and Angela.
Dr. James S.C. Chao was awarded the Admiral’s Distinguished Service Award at Mass Maritime Academy’s Annual Gala Dinner and also introduced Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s 2017 Maritime Person of the Year – Mr. Christopher J. Wiernicki, Chairman, President and CEO of American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). https://www.maritime.edu/
James S.C. Chao, a Chinese-American merchant mariner, was honored with Silver Bell Award, the high honor from the Seamen’s Church Institute on Thursday, June 15, 2017. The Seamen’s Church Institute is North America’s largest mariners’ service agency.