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SPNL Chairman wins Leadership award

SPNL Chairman wins Leadership award


Name: Claudio Chiste
High School: Sea Point High, Cape Town
Tertiary Education: University of Cape Town, Military Academy faculty of University of Stellenbosch, Cass Business School (City University London)
Qualifications: Master of Science in Shipping, Trade & Finance (Cass); Bachelor of Military Science in Mathematics & Nautical Science (Stellenbosch); B.Comm (Hons) in Financial Analysis & Portfolio Management  (UCT); Chartered Shipbroker (Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers)
Lives in: Wimbledon, London
Company: Investec (and Shipping Professional Network in London – see
Title: Ship Financier, Associate Director (& Chairman)
Duration of time within your company / organisation: 3 years
Directorship / Leadership positions:

  • Chairman of the Shipping Professional Network in London (SPNL), London’s foremost young professional association, having industry backing from the UK Chamber of Shipping.
  • Executive Committee: United Nations Association (Westminster Branch), elected at the last AGM held at House of Lords
  • Advisory Board: London Metropolitan Business School International Trade & Transport (2011/12)
  • UK Representative: As UK representative of Trentini Nel Mondo (UNAIE), invited to European Union ‘think tank’ EZA, consisting of 67 workers’ organisations from 24 European countries ( Findings published and presented to the EU Parliament. The aim is to achieve socio-economical development of society.
  • Mission to Seafarers. Mission To Seafarers cares for victims of trauma as a result of piracy. The Mission is on hand night and day to support the world’s 1.2 million seafarers.

Professional Membership held:

  • Nautical Institute
  • Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
  • International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME)
  • International Association of Energy Economics (2010-2012)
  • United Nations Association (Westminster Branch)
  • South African Chamber of Commerce

Previous positions held:

  • Ship Financier at Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s leading banking group
  • Director of the SPNL
  • Managed a 28m 6 million Euro luxury yacht in the South of France
  • West Coast Boxing regional chairman (district of Western Cape, South Africa)
  • Naval Officer, serving as the designated Officer Commanding. During my service, I was placed in charge of 44 men, including the ship’s weapons and explosives in the official capacity of Executive Officer of the naval warship.

What are your main achievements / successes in the category you are being nominated for:

  • Ranked as one of the World’s Most Influential People in the Maritime Industry’s next generation (aka “Power 100”, see
  • As chairman of the SPNL, representing London’s young shipping community, with a following of 4,000 professionals, during which time taking SPNL international with branches launched in Germany and India.
  • One of my proudest moments was receiving my Deed of Commission from then President Nelson Mandela and Minister of Defence Joe Modise

What makes you most proud about your business:

  • In terms of Ship Finance with Investec, I feel privileged to be involved in the facilitation of global trade. Half of the world’s oil consumption is moved by sea, in fact about 90% of total world trade is carried by sea. Seaborne trade is the lifeblood of the world economy. Without it, half the world would starve and the other half would freeze!
  • In terms of SPNL, adding value to individuals by being able to learn, network and socialise with peers across the traditional backgrounds, promoting competency and forging lasting business contacts. This success of SPNL has spread to Asia where we launched a branch in Mumbai, India last year with plans to launch in Shanghai in the new year.
  • Placing international business on the agenda for London’s young shipping professional community, especially bilateral trade. This year we hosted South African Shadow Minister of Trade & Industry, Dr Wilmot James MP, with the focus being on the importance of bilateral trade between SA-UK on the SA economy.

Community Involvement:

There are a number community projects undertaken, of which the highlight no doubt was an outreach programme project managed whilst serving as an officer in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). The first community outreach programme on the South African West coast in the discipline of boxing was held in December 1998. This took place at the Navy base SAS Saldanha, under the auspices of the South African Military Academy (SANDF) and the University of Stellenbosch, targeting the youth from underprivileged and poverty stricken background from the nearby informal settlement. Up to 100 children participated with various the objectives being: leadership skills, teamwork and interpersonal relations, perseverance and self-discipline. Received a commendation from the Officer Commanding of the Military Academy and the Dean of the Faculty, in “Recognition for Outstanding Service for Sport Development (Boxing)”. This was awarded for contribution in community service for social upliftment, consequently promoting the perception and image of the defence force (SANDF) amongst the local community. Extensive media coverage in the Cape Argus, Sunday Times, Die Burger & Cape Times.

Further community involvement, as follows:

  • Member of the Rotary Club of City & Shoreditch, which is committed to the global eradication of polio.
  • Raised funds towards the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children, by hosting two fundraising events supporting the OSCAR campaign with annual target of £500,000 per year.
  • Guest lecturer in maritime economics at London Metropolitan University and booked for Plymouth University and the International Mermaid Congress, where students from 44 maritime educational institutions from 22 countries of the world will converge.

Recent Awards: n/a

Favourite Business Quote: The difference between ordinary and ‘extraordinary’, is that little ‘extra’… (to stand out, you need to put in that bit extra)



  • My father, Diego, who taught me the simple philosophy of doing “what one must do”, no matter how tempting it is to take the easy path, then the rest takes care of itself (in line with Habit 3 of Stephen Covey’s the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective people, “Put first things first”).
  • My former Officer Commanding in the Navy, Captain SF Petersen (SA Navy), who was an officer of the elite Naval Marines unit. He taught me to act with humility and prepare for the worst, expect the best.

For the official report on the awards ceremony held at the South African High Commission, see:

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