MISC president and group chief executive Yee Yang Chien surprised many in the industry when he announced he was retiring at the age of 54.

Early retirement, he said, has always been his goal.

“I’ve always told myself I will want to retire from a full-time executive role by 2023, mainly because I want to spend at least 10 years of my life with the family, just enjoying life, and hopefully being a bit more carefree,” he said.

Yee has mixed emotions about leaving MISC, where has worked for most of his adult life, but says the time is right to hand over to his successor, AET’s chief executive, Captain Rajalingam Subramaniam.

“Leaving MISC is like leaving home,” Yee said, “but I couldn’t ask for a better pinnacle for ending my professional career. I think I realised my professional ambition. I’m happy that I got to do what I was given, the privilege and honour to try and realise this vision for the group, so zero regrets at all.”

He said he will need to take time off to “get bored” before deciding what to do next.

“I’m giving myself six months, he told TradeWinds. “Then I’m going to switch on my brain and say, ‘Okay, I need to do something else’.”

He stresses that he has no interest in taking on another full-time executive role.

“I might look for certain professional engagements in which I think I feel I can contribute,” he said. “I have always believed in not just talking, but making things work.”

In the meantime, he intends to work on his golfing skills, which he claims leave a lot to be desired.

With Rajalingam taking the MISC helm, the search is on for a new chief executive at AET.

The post will be filled by a candidate from within the group.

“We focus a lot on internal talent,” said Yee, who describes Rajalingam as the perfect example of an internal talent who started as a graduate from MISC’s Alam Maritime Academy and is now set to lead the company into the future.