Capt. Gianluigi Aponte

Capt. Gianluigi Aponte

Group Chairman

Capt. Gianluigi Aponte

Group Chairman

“Our staff are the lifeblood of the company, they have commitment, passion and loyalty, which, alongside unrivalled expertise makes MSC a shipping line of the people.”

Capt. Gianluigi Aponte, Group Chairman

Captain Gianluigi Aponte is the Founder and Group Chairman of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA.

Born in Sorrento, Italy, Mr Aponte started his career as a captain operating passenger ferries in the Mediterranean for his family’s business after graduating from the Italian Maritime Academy.

In 1970, following a break from the world of maritime transport to work as a banker for a number of years, Mr Aponte returned to the industry to start his own business, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company.  Starting out with a single general cargo vessel, the MSC Patricia, Mr Aponte has developed and led the company with true entrepreneurial spirit for over four decades.  In the early days of MSC, Mr Aponte used the expression ‘where the customer goes, MSC goes’. This vision brought exponential growth in terms of both volume and fleet capacity which now serve customers all over the world. Over the past 45 years, Mr Aponte has led MSC from a one vessel operation to become the second-largest container shipping line in the world.

MSC has been built around its core family values of caring for people.  Although the company has grown rapidly over the past forty years, Mr Aponte still remains focussed on cultivating our own special ingredient which is MSC’s family spirit.

As winner of many industry awards for his contribution to the maritime industry, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the UK trade publication Containerisation International, Captain Aponte is an esteemed industry leader known for his dynamic approach and wealth of knowledge and experience in container shipping.  It is not just the maritime industry that acknowledges Mr Aponte’s achievements. In 2009, at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, he was one of the top leading Neapolitan businessmen to receive the "Neapolitan Excellence in the World" award from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.  In 2013, Mr Aponte was awarded the “Ordine Al Merito del Lavoro” (Order of Merit for Labour) by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.  Mr Aponte’s reputation as a successful businessman and industry contributor also earned him the prestigious “Legion d’Honneur” (Legion of Honour) accolade in March 2010 and a significant vote of confidence from French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the part he played in creating 6,000 jobs at the STX France shipyard at St Nazaire, France by placing a new vessel order.

Diego Aponte

Diego Aponte

Group President

Diego Aponte

Group President

MSC inspires passion, dedication and entrepreneurism wherever you look.

Diego Aponte, Group President

Diego Aponte is Group President of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA.

Son to Gianluigi Aponte and his wife Rafaela, Diego was raised sharing his family’s passion for the sea. After school Diego took his first steps towards his ultimate career by furthering his education in London, becoming a post graduate of Maritime Studies with a particular focus on shipping.

In 1997 Diego joined MSC, training on-board vessels as a junior engineer to gain first-hand technical experience. To increase his breadth of maritime knowledge Diego also worked in MSC Ship Management in Sorrento, gaining valuable experience of MSC’s operations.

Upon joining MSC Headquarters in Geneva, Diego worked in all departments including Latin American and USA trades, immersing himself in the day-to-day challenges and successes of the business.

In the late nineties, Diego identified an opportunity for MSC to invest in a terminal infrastructure which he believed would help to facilitate the long-term growth of the container industry.  In 2000, Diego created Terminal Investment Limited S.A. (TIL), which, under his careful management and direction has become one of the largest terminal operators in the world.  Today, Diego is the Chairman of TIL.

From 2006 Diego worked closely with his father as Vice President of the business, before being announced in 2014 as Group President and CEO of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA.

Soren Toft

Soren Toft

CEO

Soren Toft

CEO

I am very excited and humbled by the opportunity given to me by the Aponte family. Helping to preserve the MSC DNA and lead such a successful company into the future is a great honour and a privilege for me

Soren Toft, CEO

Soren Toft joined MSC as Chief Executive Officer in December 2020, reporting to Group President Diego Aponte.

He oversees MSC’s global cargo businesses, including all ocean liner and logistics businesses. He will also be a member of the Board of Directors of Terminal Investment Ltd (TiL), the terminals business which is majority-owned by MSC.

Soren has over 25 years of experience in the shipping industry. Before joining MSC, he was Chief Operating Officer and a Member of the Executive Board at Maersk. Since joining Maersk in 1994, he held various leadership positions in Europe and Asia. Soren was also Chairman of Hamburg Süd, Maersk Oil Trading, Maersk Container Industry and A.P. Moller Singapore and Board Member at Maersk Line Limited.

In addition, he has served as a member of the board of World Shipping Council, the international liner shipping industry trade group, Deputy Chairman of Danish Shipping and Chairman of the Board of Young Presidents Organisation (YPO), Denmark Chapter.

Soren holds an executive MBA from IMD (International Institute for Management Development) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Masahide Kai

Masahide Kai

Country Manager

Masahide Kai

Country Manager

Masahide Kai joined MSC in 1999 when MSC Japan was established, following a one year experience in the shipping industry working for another shipping line. He started his MSC career in sales and in 2001 he was promoted to Trade Manager.

In 2010, he took over his current position of Managing Director of MSC Japan. He makes MSC Japan’s role as an agent very clear. The role of the agency focuses on Client Service. In order to achieve one of the best client services in the industry, he changed the organization entirely and made it transparent to everybody to ensure the reporting lines and responsibilities are clear. 

Itsuko Takehara

Itsuko Takehara

Chief Commercial Officer

Itsuko Takehara

Chief Commercial Officer

Itsuko Takehara joined MSC in 2000 immediately after she graduated from University. She started her career at MSC as well as in the shipping industry in the Customer Service team. In 2003, she took a position of Trade Coordinator and since new management was installed in MSC Japan in 2010 she has been holding the position of Chief Commercial Officer. She established good reputation of MSC in Japan market with talented accountability.

At the same time, she is also playing a key role in management together with the Country Manager.

She is good at listening to people. Her responsibility includes all the commercial functions such as but not limited to sales, customer service and documentation. She has made her team very strong and very disciplined. Under her supervision, each and every team is quite unique and one of the most characteristic functions is the Quotation Desk who does its best effort to do a 3-minute quotation and another is Support Desk who offers value-added customer services.

Koji Kayahara

Koji Kayahara

Chief Financial Officer

Koji Kayahara

Chief Financial Officer

Koji Kayahara joined MSC Japan in 2019 as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Koji started his career working in the hospitality industry in Tokyo after graduating with an Economics degree from the Waseda University.

Koji has more than 30 years of working experience in various functions in multiple industries. Besides hospitality, he has also worked in the IT, healthcare, transportation and energy sectors. Prior to joining MSC, he was the head of finance at an international freight forwarder.

As the CFO, he is in charge of leading the teams of Accounting and Cost Control. His responsibility is to clearly state the financial position and performance of MSC Japan so that local and global management can determine the best direction for MSC Japan to move ahead. He is a good communicator and facilitator who is consistently available to help his team mates achieve their maximum potential.

Haruki Niwa

Haruki Niwa

Human Resources Manager

Haruki Niwa

Human Resources Manager

Haruki Niwa joined MSC in 2001 after one year experience as Freight Forwarder. He started his MSC career as Operation Planner. In 2005, he was appointed MIS Manager and he achieved the migration of various systems to MSC Japan. When the new management team was established in 2010, he was promoted Manager of General Administration in charge of Human Resources, General Affairs and IT.

At MSC, he has proved to have various skills and to be able to multitask. With his current appointment as Human Resources Manager, he reviewed the Corporate Regulations as well as Salary tariff. Now he is trying to improve the working conditions of our valued staff. At the same time, under his initiative, MSC Japan is now very much aware of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Katsu Takehara

Katsu Takehara

Sales Manager

Katsu Takehara

Sales Manager

Katsu Takehara joined MSC in 1999. He started his MSC career in Import Sales. In 2000, he was transferred to Export Sales, then, in 2003 he was appointed Transpac Sales Manager. He achieved great improvement in that trade lane. When the new management team was established in 2010, he was appointed Sales Manager who looks after all the sales activities for Import, Export, Corporate Account and Cross Trade.

He started his career in the shipping industry in 1990 in Okinawa. Then he moved to Kobe where he took care of terminal operation. He has gained a valuable experience and his background benefited his role in Sales. He is very quiet and tolerant. These traits are very important for a Sales Manager.

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