Ask Rizwan Soomar about the number of days he travels in a year, and there's an uneasy pause. "About 180 days," he says. A week in every fifth is spent in Singapore attending classes for his executive MBA from Chicago Booth School of Business. Then, there are visits to all Maersk offices in India—the big ones every quarter, the small ones once a year. Not to forget Sri Lanka. As a Maersk Line lifer, Soomar is no stranger to a peripatetic lifestyle or change.
He joined in 1995 as a Management Trainee of the Maersk International Shipping Education (MISE) programme. A stint in Hong Kong in 1998 followed. A year later, Soomar was back in India as the Executive Assistant of Tomas Drybye, then India Managing Director. In 2001, he was off to Ludhiana to set up offices there.
The big jump happened in 2007, when Soomar was named MD for Egypt. A few months later, Soomar was put in charge of Libya, Lebanon and Syria. Recalls Soomar: "I was a part of the strategy team that reported to the CEO. Today, when I see some of those ideas being implemented, it's a great feeling."
Rizwan Soomar, 39, MD, India & Sri Lanka, Maersk Line