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Vol 38  No 16
June 29, 2006


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Commerce grad on Top 40 list

Flying high

By Wade Kearley

Keith Mullett was recently named to the Globe and Mail Top 40 Under 40 list.(Photo submitted.)

He doesn’t know how to fly, but Keith Mullett is taking an international helicopter corporation to new heights. At 35, this graduate of Memorial’s co-operative business degree program is the managing director of CHC Helicopter’s European operations. And he’s earned that role in just eight years with this New York Stock Exchange-listed corporation. In recognition of his remarkable progress, Mr. Mullet was named as one of Canada’s top 40 under 40 by the Globe and Mail.

For a young man with such impressive stats, Mr. Mullett, BA(Co-op) (Hons.)’93, is quick to share the credit for his success.

“You are only a product of the team around you,” he said in a recent interview by phone from his office in Aberdeen, Scotland. “That’s what’s great about CHC. You tend to be surrounded by very good people and team players.”

Under his leadership the CHC team has saved $20 million for the European division by integrating European operations. They’ve also successfully re-negotiated an international pension plan in a highly unionized environment ­ reducing costs to the company and still satisfying union members with the terms.

Memorial University’s business program gave him a solid foundation on which to build his career, said Mr. Mullett. He feels that the broad areas covered in his undergraduate degree and his co-operative experience ­ although at very junior levels in the companies where he was placed ­ gave him valuable exposure to the working environment of financial accounting.

“As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to move upward with every organization where I was involved,” said Mr. Mullett, “not simply for the sake of moving up, but because I am driven to get involved in diverse and complex situations and to find solutions.”

Looking back on the experience of being named to the top 40 under 40 Mr. Mullett says at first it was surprising. He didn’t expect to win and had forgotten that he’d been nominated. Then came the call from Toronto telling him he’d won and dealing with the surprise.

“Then I started hearing about these other remarkable people who were also named and I started to ask myself ‘How did I wind up in such great company.’”

That awe eventually changed to “quiet satisfaction and pride.”

With three children ranging in age from one-month-old Cameron, to Ewan who’s not yet two years, to five-year-old Moira, Mr. Mullett is also very busy on the home front. But he’s not half as busy as his spouse, Jennifer (Duff ) B.Comm(Hons.)’93, who’s put her successful business career on hold to be home with their children. She, like her husband, is a graduate of Memorial’s Commerce co-op program ­ though they did not date until after graduation.

As far as plans for the future go, it’s steady as she goes. “I’m only in this position one year and there is a lot to learn,” says Mr. Mullett. “Right now we are both satisfied with our life here and if CHC wants me to stay on, then that is fine with us. There are plenty of opportunities here and I’m in no rush to leave.”

This is the 11th year of the Globe’s Top 40 Under 40, an annual awards event organized by executive search firm The Caldwell Partners International. The honorees are drawn annually from an initial list of 1,200 to 1,400 nominations from across Canada.

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