Tan Kay Zhuin of T7 Global Believes it’s Time for Him to Make A Difference.
It is no surprise that today, businesses are faced with multiple challenges in a fast-moving economy. And for this reason, brands that wish to remain profitable and relevant over time need to embrace evolution and change because if they don’t, there’s a risk of losing their competitive edge when they fail to keep up with the market, competition and client base!
Staying On Top Of The Game
This is certainly what T7 Global Berhad – a company with roots in the Oil & Gas (O&G) service industry since 1990 – wants to avoid. So, since the middle of the past decade, the company has been busy expanding its footprint into the growing aerospace sector. And best of all, it is piercing new horizons with a new leader at the helm to boot!
This is why since being appointed as Group Chief Executive Officer in 2022, Tan Kay Zhuin (Jim) has certainly been in the thick of things. Incidentally, the 34-year-old is the son of Tan Sri Tan Kean Soon, the Executive Deputy Chairman and major shareholder of T7 Global, and brother of Tan Kay Vin – the company’s Executive Director.
At the time of his appointment, the company had just posted RM5.37 million in nett profit on the back of RM114.94 million in revenue for the first six months ending June 30, 2022. For the full 2022 financial year, it posted a net profit of RM20.24 million with a turnover of RM362.97 million. Now, Jim has been mandated to further enhance T7 Global’s synergies, business efficiencies and corporate governance to boost its position as a highly respected and professionally managed organization.
“Yes, T7 Global Berhad is aiming to expand its footprint in the growing aerospace sector, and the Group has invested a substantial sum for land acquisition, construction of facility and purchase of machinery,” reveals Jim. He goes on to say that the company began the transformation programme back in 2015 – an especially tough time as crude oil prices hit a particularly low point then.
The Future in Aerospace
“Initially, this was a bit of a shock but we’re lucky to have been able to see things differently,” he goes on. “Instead of despairing, we focused on business diversification into aerospace and construction sectors. We also revisited the business model for our O&G business, we started to leverage on long-term contracts for various O&G operations such as production services, facility maintenance and offshore decommissioning works. This is how we began transforming T7 Global from strictly an O&G company, into a total industrial solution provider.”
Jim, who holds a degree in petroleum engineering from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, is certainly no newcomer when it comes to the business of O&G exploration. “My whole career has been in oil and gas industry,” he proudly points out. He also reveals that one of his first postings as an engineer after graduation was at Singapore’s Kris Energy Limited – an O&G exploration and production company.
“Then, a few years later I went to Japan and worked with Toyo Engineering, an O&G services company before finally joining T7 Global in 2016. Since I was trained as a petroleum engineer, at this point I was more involved on the technical side of the industry.”
Now in the top management role, Jim initially thought that he was in for quite a challenge! “But fortunately, coming from where I did, the experience being on site at O&G production facilities has given me a lot of added perspective in terms of how a business like T7 Global can operate effectively as I actually have first-hand experience of what actually happens on the ground.”
Leading a Team
“But when you’re elevated to a management level like I have been, suddenly there’s a host of other things to consider as well as you’re no longer just responsible for the engineering and production departments only. Now, there is also the company’s management, human resource and finance departments, among others! So, you must consider the responsibility of different departments and respective objectives, and make correct decisions to ensure everything is in proper synergy for the company.”
Jim believes, more than anything else, that he is responsible for making the right decisions. “The choices I make now needs to be spot on, especially when it comes to judging if a particular opportunity is worth pursuing for the company, or if we have the capability to execute the work.”
So that’s why, after starting the day with an Americano every morning, Jim launches into a flurry of internal meetings with various department heads so that he can gather all the necessary feedback to make the right calls. “The evenings are reserved for meetings with stakeholders so that I can brief them on the day’s business proceedings, in turn.”
Expanding T7 Global
“This is different from what I used to do before, which was mostly technical. Sure, it was another level of ‘interesting’ but I can’t say that I’m complaining as management duties brings with it its own set of satisfaction.” Jim admits in taking some time to dive into his present level but he truly believes that his journey from manager to group chief operating officer, to group chief executive officer in these past seven years with T7 Global has afforded him all the knowledge and experience necessary to be an effective leader.
“Now, the company is entering into other areas of business,” he goes on excitedly. “Sure, our main business is still supporting the oil and gas industry, but we’re also diversifying into aerospace and aviation support.” Tan reveals that his company is now involved in the upgrading of the baggage handling system at Terminal 1 of the KL International Airport (KLIA), as well as the construction of infrastructure facilities.
Achieving Bigger and Better
“We’re also becoming a player in the aviation industry as well. This has obviously required a huge initial investment as well on the company’s part because of the need to first set up a metal surface treatment plant in Serendah, Selangor.” According to Jim, this process is crucial to manufacturers of all metallic components that will eventually find its way into key airframe components like wings and fuselage sections.
“Our company was previously known as Tanjung Offshore Berhad, prior to our rechristening to T7 Global Berhad back in 2016,” recall Jim fondly. “This change in name is very significant to the company as it marked the beginning of a new journey for us to achieve bigger, braver things. And yes, looks like we’re not quite done with making a difference in the things we do!”
Digital Director: Lira Jamaluddin, Content Producer: Janice Teh, Photographer: Edmund Lee, Hair and Makeup: Clara Siew, Videographer: Jackie Mah.