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TheStarOnline (Biz): New Shell chairman shares his potent success formula

New Shell chairman shares his potent success formula

SHELL Malaysia chairman Saw Choo Boon's recipe for success is honour, integrity and “heart”. 

It is a potent recipe, and one that propelled Saw to the height of his career as “head honcho” of Shell Malaysia two months ago. 

“It was my father's influence. He told me to be honourable in everything I did and to be true to the company, the people around me and myself.  

“For example, when working for the company, you must do a good job and earn your keep.  

“You must also live up to your obligations to family and friends. It has become my guiding philosophy in life,” Saw said. 

As chairman, Saw will lead Shell Malaysia's Business Council in shaping the company for further growth in Malaysia and in maintaining and strengthening its relationships with various stakeholders. 

Saw's career with Shell Malaysia started in 1970, when he joined Shell Refining Co (FOM) Bhd in Port Dickson as a refinery technologist. 

He has remained in Shell since, holding various positions including managing director of Shell MDS (M) Sdn Bhd in 1996, managing director of oil products (downstream) in 1998, vice-president of the commercial business in the Asia-Pacific in 1999 and president of Shell Oil Products East in 2004. 

Saw was managing Shell's Global Marine business before his appointment as chairman. 

Saw Choo Boon

Shell Malaysia has Saw's father to thank for encouraging his son to join the company. 

Reminiscing, Saw said he had two other job offers besides Shell when he graduated from Universiti Malaya – an airline and a beverage company. 

Saw talked to his father who advised him to join Shell, as the company had a good reputation and the rest, as they say, is history. 

And what made Saw stay with Shell for 36 years? 

“The jobs were exciting and I liked the culture and people at Shell. I have a lot of respect and care for the people in the company. I made many good friends here and had loads of fun. There was no reason to leave,” he said. 

Hailing from Perak, Saw was an only child – very independent and accustomed to doing things himself. He was both Chinese and English educated, having to attend two sessions of school every day in primary school. 

He also used to play piano. 

Saw is married to well-known food writer and chef Betty Saw and they have two grown-up daughters. One is already a doctor while the other is in medical school.  

A doting husband, Saw tries to spend as much time as possible with his wife despite having to work long hours and travel a lot. 

Shell Malaysia believes that fossil energy will remain a major source of energy for quite a long time.

“I watch TV with her – the Oprah Winfrey Show and Desperate Housewives are her favourite programmes. I also taste her food when she tries different recipes for her many cookbooks,” he said. 

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