Porsche veteran joins Eurokars as COO, a newly created post

Porsche veteran joins Eurokars as COO, a newly created post

Singapore - The Eurokars group of companies headed by motor magnate Karsono Kwee has created a chief operating officer (COO) position, in what could be a sign of bigger things to come for the regional player.

The post will be filled by Porsche veteran Christer Ekberg, a 61-year-old Swede who was with the German sports car manufacturer for 20 years before joining Eurokars this month.

There has long been talk that the Eurokars group - the largest of only a handful of major privately held authorised distributors here - is eyeing a stock market listing.

Asked whether he was considering this route, Mr Kwee, the group's executive chairman, said: "I never say 'No'. It depends on the timing and opportunity."

He added that Eurokars is keen on further expansion and that Mr Ekberg's extensive experience will enable the group to seek out more business opportunities.

"As COO, Christer will assist me to look after our operations in Singapore, China, Australia and Indonesia. He will report directly to me."

He disclosed that Eurokars has some 1,300 staff across the four countries and that last year's turnover was nearly S$1 billion.

The group also distributes 3M products to the building and auto industries in Indonesia.

Eurokars aside, two other high-end players are Komoco Motors, which distributes Ferrari, Hyundai, Chrysler Jeep and Harley Davidson, as well as Hong Seh Motors, which represents Maserati.

Porsche, Mr Ekberg's previous employer, is one of the six makes represented by Eurokars.

Mr Kwee entered the automotive industry when he began distributing the German brand here in 1985. Along the way, he picked up several more marques; today, the other nameplates in Eurokars' stable in the region are Rolls-Royce, Mini, BMW, McLaren, Mazda and Maserati.

Mr Ekberg's last position in Porsche was as its managing director for the Middle East, India and Africa. He was based in Dubai, but has had a long association with Singapore because, for 13 years before that, he was in Singapore as managing director for Porsche Asia-Pacific.

He had started his career with Saab and General Motors in the Swedish and international markets. He was later managing director for Porsche in Sweden for five years, before moving to Singapore.

He said: "My background in the automotive industry is both within sales and marketing/PR, as well as in after-sales and business development."

He added that his wife and children are all Singaporean.

"I am happy to be back."

This article was first published on January 27, 2016.
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