Commercial Director reflects on leadership journey from trainee to head of commercial operations in Southeast Asia

Ryan Yip Chuen Keat, Tenaris Commercial Director for Southeast Asia & Oceania Tenaris

Having grown up in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, Ryan Yip Chuen Keat had always dreamed of joining a multinational company in the oil and gas industry and living in another country. With a major in Chemical Engineering, graduated from University of Malaya - the top 1 university in Malaysia- he was determined to find a job that would allow him to work and study overseas and was on the lookout for management training programs.

So, his story with Tenaris began in April 2011 at Kuala Lumpur, when he was hired as a Global Trainee, and jumped right into a five-month international stint nearly 10k miles away in Campana, Argentina.“What I liked most was that the company culture is seamlessly integrated. Regardless of our backgrounds, we all approach our work with the same high level of professionalism and style,” he says.

Then, with the company’s support, he moved to Singapore, marking the next chapter of his Tenaris journey, as a senior sales representative. Early in his career, Chuen Keat viewed sales as a simple, universal skill. However, as he delved deeper into corporate B2B sales, he recognized its complexity. “Sales doesn’t mean how we talk to our customers only,” he said, “It’s also about how we prepare all our due diligence, conduct the essential analysis to optimize the value for our company and customers, and deliver the premium proposals.”

After two years in Singapore, Chuen Keat’s journey took him to Vietnam, where he played a pivotal role in expanding Tenaris’s presence. His responsibilities included securing projects and exploring joint ventures. This experience marked his transition into leadership, as he had to build a team from scratch. “I always tried to strive for the best as a junior manager at that time, and I really pushed the team. I greatly appreciate the team’s resilience and hard work; this assignment certainly helped me grow as a leader.”

Ryan and his family. Tenaris

Chuen Keat encountered a demanding phase in his career when he transitioned to business coordination arm of the company in April 2022, made more challenging by Russian invasion of Ukraine, requiring a lot of analysis and preparation of materials to support business negotiation with different customers in the region. “It wasn’t easy, but we overcame the situation and I take great pride in both contributing and witnessing the growth and development of my team members. Then, I began to delve into more structural aspects, including how I could guide my team more efficiently, make decisions faster, and communicate the information to the leaders more effectively. I did a lot of self-reflections, which I still do till today.”

Today, Chuen Keat leads all commercial activities for Southeast Asia & Oceania as its commercial director, transitioning from managing juniors to leading senior managers. “I would say the role calls for giving more space, doing more listening, and encouraging my team to take the lead. The empowerment part has to be stronger, giving some macro directions, and enhancing mutual respect.”

Chuen Keat balances life outside of work by playing and watching basketball,  playing chess, watching documentaries and traveling with the family.

The 38 year old says Tenaris is a company filled with opportunities. He advises young professionals to “think about how to equip yourselves with the skill sets and values you can contribute. Sooner or later, the opportunity will come—nothing to rush.”

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Our brand name is derived from the word tenacity, representing our determination to serve our customers wherever they are and pursue and achieve the goals that we set ourselves. It is about striving for excellence in everything we do. The colors in our multi-bar represent the diversity of the people that make up Tenaris around the world.


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