Steve Kunzer to become CEO at GMS shipping arm Lila Global

04 Jan 2023

Lila Global, the rapidly expanding shipowning company of cash-buying giant GMS, has appointed a seasoned manager to become its chief executive officer.

Steve Kunzer, a former managing director at Tanker Pacific Management (Singapore) and chief executive at Idan Ofer’s Eastern Pacific, will become CEO of Lila Global from 31 January.

The announcement was made by London-listed Braemar Plc, where Kunzer has been serving as a non-executive director since February 2019.

“Steve has been a great asset to Braemar over the past four years and… played a supportive role in developing the Group’s new growth strategy,” Braemar chairman Nigel Payne said in a statement.

Alongside Braemar, Kunzer has been over the past four years also a non-executive, part-time director at Danish shipping giant DS Norden.

Lila Global began as a small sideline business of GMS. Over the past two years, however, it has grown into a large, diversified shipping company under the leadership of GMS president Anil Sharma and chief operating officer Nitin Mehta — a former chief executive at Tomini Shipping.

Lila Global has fuelled its expansion through prolific purchases of older tonnage in the dry bulk and tanker sectors. According to VesselsValue, the company has bought 17 such ships of various types last year.

Kunzer has experience in running such large, mixed fleets consisting of tankers, bulkers, container ships and car carriers, out of Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

His service as managing director of Tanker Pacific Management (Singapore) lasted from 2008 to 2013, after which he served as CEO of Eastern Pacific Shipping through to 2018.

When he stepped down from Eastern Pacific for the non-executive position at Braemar, TradeWinds reported that the move was prompted by a desire to spend more time with his family and to pursue new opportunities.