Helmut Sohmen

Helmut Sohmen (born 10 December 1939 in Linz, Austria) is an Austrian lawyer and businessman in Hong Kong. He was chairman of BW Group and a former Hong Kong legislator. He was formerly managing director of Dragon Air.[1]

Helmut Sohmen
Born (1939-12-10) 10 December 1939
Alma materUniversity of Vienna, Southern Methodist University, University of Connecticut
OccupationChairman of BW Group
Spouse(s)Anna Pui Hing Pao
RelativesSir Yue-Kong Pao (father-in-law)

In 2010 he was on the Forbes list with an estimated fortune of US$1.4 billion, the fourth-placed Austrian. In 2009 he was listed as the 13th richest person in Hong Kong.[2]

Early life

On 10 December 1939, Sohmen was born in Linz, Austria. Sohmen grew up in Linz.


In 1958, Sohmen graduated from the Linz Realschule (Fadingerschule) with distinction. He then studied law at the University of Vienna and Southern Methodist University, and won a Fulbright scholarship to continue the University of Connecticut in the United States, eventually receiving his doctorate in Vienna.


Sohmen's first job was as a legal adviser to the Royal Bank of Canada in Montreal. Helmut Sohmen later interrupted his professional activity more than once to graduate as Master of Comparative Law (Southern Methodist University) and a Master of Laws.

Sir Yue-Kong Pao, Sohmen's father-in-law, owned World-Wide Shipping Group, one of the largest shipping companies in the world. In 1970 Sohmen moved with his family to Hong Kong in order to join the family business. After periods working in Bermuda (1974) and London (1977), in 1981 he finally settled in Hong Kong. With advancing age Pao gradually stepped back from day-to-day management and in 1986 Sohmen was appointed chairman of the World-Wide Shipping Group and Pao's ownership was passed to Sohmen's wife in 1989. In 2003 World-Wide completed the takeover of Norway's Bergesen fleet to become Bergesen Worldwide Ltd., since then renamed BW Group. The group includes 140 tankers and more than 4500 employees (2010).

In Nov 2014, Sohmen retired as chairman of BW Group. He is replaced by Andreas Sohmen-Pao, one of his sons.[3]

Positions held


In 1967, Sohmen married Anna Pui Hing Pao, whom he had met while studying in Canada. Sohmen has three children [6](two sons and one daughter).

Sohmen's wife Pui Hing Anna Pao Sohmen held several functions in Hong Kong and was also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. In 2005 she was awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star.


  • 1990 Order of the British Empire
  • 1995 nomination in the "Eminent Persons Group" by the European Commission (16-member advisory committee of the two economic blocs in the EU and ASEAN)
  • 1998 Schumpeter Prize of the Schumpeter Society


Sohmen has set up a number of foundations.

In 1987 he established the Egon Sohmen Foundation in memory of his brother Egon Sohmen (1930–1977). The Foundation promotes economic research and aims to get involved in important public policy debates. For this purpose it initiated its own star-studded annual international symposia and lectures at universities where Egon Sohmen formerly worked. It issued a separate publication. Scientific Advisor until 1999 Herbert Giersch, since 2002, Bernd Hans Jurgens.

With the aim of enabling young Austrians to have their first contacts with the Asian region, in 1991 Sohmen set up the Sohmen-Far East Foundation (SFEF). Operational headquarters of the advisory board of the foundation is in his home town of Linz. Qualified scholarship recipients through these grants have the opportunity to expand their horizons and to establish business contacts.

In 1993, Sohmen established the Sohmen-China Foundation for the Promotion of Austria Society (ÖGCF) to promote friendly and cultural relations with the PRC. It supports a variety of cultural and intellectual events and supports aid for visitation programs, educational concerns, activities in Austria and the publication of relevant publications. In 1996 and 2003 in Shanghai and Beijing on Tiananmen Square, it has co-organized exhibitions.

See also


  1. Asia Tatler: The 500 List
  2. Wirtschaftsblatt Online of 12 March 2010: Von Linz in die Welt und in die Milliardärsliga,Helmut Sohmen abgefragt am 12 March 2010
  3. Lim, Lisa (20 November 2014)"Dr Helmut Sohmen Retires As Chairman of BW Group and BW Offshore Boards". BW Group. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  4. List of Chairmen of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, accessed on 12 March 2010
  5. Buch zum 40jährigen Jubiläum der Organisation, S 11 Helmut Sohmen accessed on 12 March 2010
  6. "#916 Helmut Sohmen". Forbes. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.