Remembering Torben Karlshoej, Teekay's Founder


Torben Karlshoej, the founder of Teekay Corporation, was a true pioneer and entrepreneur in the shipping industry. To mark the 20th anniversary of his passing, David Glendinning, President of Teekay Gas Services, shares his memories of Torben and what his legacy means to Teekay today.

On this day 20 years ago (October 3, 1992), Torben Karlshoej, the founder of Teekay, passed away at the age of 50. Although I only knew Torben five years, each of those years were packed with lasting experiences and memories.

Torben was obsessed with quality, both in terms of assets and people, and made his mark on the industry by providing quality customer service. Phrases such as “just do the right thing” and “read the book and go by the book” were common messages to the organization, and ones that we still live by today.

In the early days, the chartering of tankers was the hallmark of Torben’s success, but as the quality of available tonnage to charter diminished, Torben turned to ownership to ensure quality vessels for his customers. Between 1985 and 1992, Torben embarked on a vessel acquisition program adding a constant stream of new ships to the fleet, many of the vessels secondhand requiring a lot of attention to bring them up to  the ‘Torben standard’.

Torben was passionate about the sea and ships. He had a special bond with the seafarers. To Torben, Captains and Chief Engineers were his sea-going Vice Presidents. One Chief Engineer that I sailed with on the Golden Gate Sun once told me that he had been at sea for 45 years and had never met a ship owner - until he met Torben.

Torben passed away unexpectedly on October 3rd 1992, with the industry asking whether Teekay could survive without its leader. However, Torben had provided for the eventuality of his early demise; he left the company in the capable hands of a Trust and a strong management team.

We did more than survive.  By upholding Torben’s entrepreneurial spirit for evolving growth, passion for the sea, and dedication for “doing it right”, we have achieved the success we have today. I know Torben is proud of what we have accomplished and he is resting in peace. 

Teekay Group


Teekay LNG Partners L.P. generates stable cash flows from primarily long-term fixed-rate contracts with strong counterparties. LNG demand is expected to increase by more than 50% by 2030.

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Teekay Offshore Partners L.P. generates stable cash flows from fixed-rate contracts and is the world’s largest owner and operator of shuttle contracts

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Teekay Tankers Ltd. has a balanced chartering strategy of fixed-rate and spot market contracts that provide investors with downside protection while maintaining upside to the sport tanker market

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Teekay Corporation is financially strong with a unique business platform and leading positions in promising midstream marine growth sectors



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