Farewell to our Commodore

A special emblem - the Swire Commodore’s Pennant - has been in place at HAECO Group’s headquarters over recent months. As the longest-serving Swire House Staff member, for 38 years, Richard Kendall, Chief Commercial Officer, is currently the proud holder of the title of Swire Commodore. We had a chat with Richard to recap his journey with Swire and HAECO.


After spending his childhood in different countries with his family, Richard was inspired to study at naval college, where he learnt seamanship as well as engineering. He then went on to study engineering science at the University of Oxford.


“After graduating from university, I decided to move on from Navy life to opportunities that could take me to different places around the world and help me gain exposure to different industries. That was what the Swire Group could offer, and I've been with them ever since,” said Richard.


Through his career with Swire, Richard has worked in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, the USA, and Hong Kong - mainly in the Marine Services and Aviation divisions, in various management positions.


Richard first joined the HAECO Group as the Director and General Manager of HAESL in 2004 and returned to lead the Rolls-Royce engine repair and overhaul Centre of Excellence in 2011. He went on to be CEO of HAECO Americas in 2015, overseeing the operations of HAECO Group’s North American subsidiary with airframe and cabin solutions businesses at eight facilities across six states. In 2019, Richard was relocated to Hong Kong, leading the HAECO Group’s airframe business as Group Director Airframe Services. When the Group Commercial function was established in 2021, he was appointed Chief Commercial Officer, responsible for revenue generation and customer advocacy across the HAECO Group, with the support of his four regional sales teams.


When asked which posting he enjoyed the most, Richard said: “I have always had a strong attachment to Marine Services, since I have worked in the industry for a very long time. But I am most impressed by the operational excellence and passion for continuous improvement at HAESL. I also enjoyed my time with HAECO Americas, where I learned a lot about the design and manufacture of aircraft cabin products and passenger seating. Aviation is a broad industry and there is always something new to learn.”


When asked to recall a challenging moment, Richard said it would be COVID, and the pandemic is still something that is continuing to affect us: "Although we are starting to see the end of the tunnel here in the Asia Pacific region and the industry is beginning to rebound, other regions have already resumed business as usual for some time. It will take us time to recover from COVID, but I always believe that there are opportunities and a good side in every challenge,” he explained.


Richard has the following wise words for his colleagues at HAECO:


“Stay optimistic, identify the area of growth, come up with a solid plan for future development, carry on with our commitment to safety, quality and operational excellence and I am sure HAECO will sail through the storm with success!”


After spending more than 11 years with the HAECO Group, Richard will retire at the end of this year. He will pass the Swire Commodore’s Pennant on to another member of the HAECO family, Angus Barclay, our Group Director Components & Engine Services. While remembering his achievements and words of wisdom, let us wish Richard a wonderful next chapter in life!