$280 Billion Singapore Temasek CEO Ho Ching Retires after 20 Years
1st October 2021 | Singapore
Singapore state-owned investment company Temasek with more than $280 billion assets (SGD 381 billion), has announced the official retirement of CEO Ho Ching with her last day on the 30th of September 2021. Ho Ching who joined Temasek in 2002 and appointed CEO in 2004, grew the net portfolio of Temasek from $66 billion (SGD 90 billion) to $280 billion assets (SGD 381 billion). Ho Ching had been named by Forbes and Fortune in 2020 as one of the most powerful woman in the world, is also the wife of Lee Hsien Loong, who is the 3rd Prime Minister of Singapore (From 2004,1st: Lee Kuan Yew 1959 to 1990, 2nd: Goh Chok Tong 1990 to 2004). Executive Director Lee Theng Kiat is also stepping down, but will remain on the Board of Temasek Holdings and as Chairman of Temasek International. Announced in February 2021, Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara is the new CEO of Temasek with effect from 1st October 2021.
“ $280 Billion Singapore Temasek CEO Ho Ching Retires after 20 Years “
Temasek from $260 Million to $280 Billion
Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, was incorporated in 1974 to commercially manage 35 companies at an initial portfolio valued at $260 million (S$354 million), acquired from the Singapore Minister for Finance. The portfolio comprised of 35 companies including Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), Keppel Shipyard, Neptune Orient Lines, Singapore Airlines and Singapore Zoological Garden. Today, Temasek is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund with $283 billion assets under management.
Globally, Temasek have 13 offices in 9 countries, including regional offices, setting up 2 new offices in 2020: in Brussels, Belgium, and Shenzhen, China. The Brussels office helps to build deeper institutional relations, track socio-economic developments, and gain insights into key policy areas within the European Union while Shenzhen will tap on growth opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, and complement existing presence in Beijing and Shanghai.
About Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara
Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara joined Temasek in 2010, and since then, has held various leadership roles, including Head of our Investment, Portfolio Management, and Enterprise Development Groups. He has also led various market teams including Singapore, the US and Americas. Dilhan is a proactive champion of change and innovation, both in and outside of Temasek. He led the Enterprise Development Group to build new longer term growth engines, and focus on early-stage, innovative opportunities. He played an instrumental role in setting up initiatives such as Heliconia Capital and Clifford Capital. Dilhan also contributes actively to the public domain. He is a member of Future Economy Council, an initiative by the Singapore Government to oversee future skills and innovation efforts to prepare for potential technological and/or economical disruptions and opportunities. He also sits on the Financial Centre Advisory Panel of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the boards of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and Enterprise Singapore. Prior to joining Temasek, Dilhan was the Managing Partner of Wong-Partnership LLP, one of the largest law firms in Singapore with clients in Singapore and the region. He practiced law for over 20 years in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and general corporate law. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Laws degree, and obtained a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge.
About Lee Theng Kiat
Theng Kiat joined Temasek in April 2012 as President and General Counsel. In 2015, he was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Temasek International; a position which he held until 2019, when he was appointed Chairman of Temasek International, and Executive Director of Temasek Holdings. He was instrumental in repositioning Temasek to better address new technology-enabled opportunities; adding Europe and the USA as key investment destinations, as well as adding depth and diversity to Temasek’s Asia-centric portfolio. Prior to joining Temasek, Theng Kiat was the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of ST Telemedia, a post he held between 1995 and 2012. Under his leadership, ST Telemedia expanded its footprint in the Asia Pacific region, the Americas and Europe. Theng Kiat has also held various senior level positions in the Singapore Technologies Group, overseeing its legal and strategic business development functions. Theng Kiat served in the Singapore Legal Service for over eight years before joining the Singapore Technologies Group. Theng Kiat holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honors) degree from the National University of Singapore.
About Ho Ching
Ho Ching joined Temasek in 2002 and was appointed CEO in 2004. She started her career in 1976 with the Defence Engineering Service at the Singapore Ministry of Defence. She subsequently joined the Singapore Technologies group as its Director of Engineering in 1988, and was its President and CEO from 1997 to 2001. She was the founding Chairman of Singapore Technologies Engineering from 1997 till 2002. Ho Ching graduated from the University of Singapore with a BSc Engg (1st class Hons, 1976). She took a Masters in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University in the United States in 1982. She is a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus of the National University of Singapore, and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Singapore. She has served on various public service boards over the years, such as the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research, and the Productivity and Standards Board (forerunners of present day Enterprise Singapore), and the Singapore Economic Development Board. Ho Ching is Patron of the Assisi Hospice and Advisor of the Autism Resource Centre. She is a strong supporter of special needs education and other community causes.
Statement by Lim Boon Heng, Chairman of Temasek Holdings:
We announced in February that Ho Ching would be retiring as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings, and today is, in fact, her last day in this role. We also announced that Lee Theng Kiat would be retiring from his executive role at the same time, but will remain on the Board of Temasek Holdings and as Chairman of Temasek International.
On behalf of the Board, and all Temasek’s people, I wish both Ho Ching and Theng Kiat well in their retirement, and express our thanks for their dedication to the firm over many years.
I know Ho Ching will remain busy on causes that remain important to her, particularly strengthening resilience in local communities and leading a broad partnership of organisations to support our response to COVID-19. And I am glad we still have Theng Kiat’s continued contribution on the Board and to chair Temasek International.
Let me spend a little time reflecting on Ho Ching’s role as CEO.
Temasek is, in every sense, a changed organisation from the one Ho Ching joined in 2002, and also in every sense, for the better. Her near two decades of service, and leadership of the firm since 2004, has totally transformed Temasek’s business and its role within the community. When she was appointed CEO, our net portfolio value was just S$90b. As you know, it has increased more than four times under her leadership, to S$381b as at our last reporting date.
Ho Ching has inspired in all of us the importance of doing well, doing right and doing good. Under her stewardship, with the growth of the portfolio, and its increased resilience, Temasek has clearly done well.
I wanted to take a moment to recognise the extraordinary contribution to Temasek’s doing right and doing good under her leadership.
She has instilled in the organisation a strong sense of values, underpinned at all times by integrity. Her contribution to building lasting structures on foundations of good governance and sustainability will serve Temasek well, long into the future. She has shaped the expectations Temasek has of its relationships with its portfolio companies, and of ourselves, and has applied these consistently. More than being a champion of good governance, she has helped shape what it means by applying it, guarding it and advocating it over time
Across the firm, she built a culture of integrity, backing people to do right, even when it meant going against the tide of the wider market. Thinking like an owner requires a long term mindset and leadership, not followership. She put in place structures and processes that aligned our own outcomes with those of our shareholder, through the cycles.
Ho Ching has always believed we have a stake in the well-being of our communities and the responsibility to exercise good stewardship through our contributions. Under her leadership, alongside that of my predecessor, Mr S Dhanabalan, we set up Temasek Trust and Temasek Foundation as our key philanthropic platforms to support public good and social causes in a sustainable manner over time. Each of these organisations has already formed an indelible impression on the communities they serve, and will continue to do so for years to come because of the governance model upon which they were built.
These organisations have, in many cases quietly, set about identifying unmet needs in our community, then worked with partners to build sustainable programmes to improve people’s lives. The Trust oversees a robust disbursements model, separating the role of funds manager from the delivery of programmes, which is – in turn – executed by Temasek Foundation.
Ho Ching also passionately convinced and committed Temasek to play a leading role as a champion of sustainability. This was the case, long before the word became synonymous with our investment approach, because Temasek eschewed a focus on maximising returns, instead focusing on the need to generate sustainable returns over the long term.
Today, the importance of sustainability to our portfolio is exceeded by the importance of making our planet more sustainable, so we have built on our long term commitment to sustainability to focus on how what we do contributes to a better, more sustainable world.
As ever, Ho Ching threw herself at this challenge, and led passionate conversations with our senior team and the Board about how we would take bold steps to work with our portfolio companies to transition to a low carbon world.
She reminded us all that divesting carbon-producing companies does nothing to solve the problem for our planet, so encouraged all of us to work with our companies on solutions, mitigation and, in hard to abate areas, credible and transparent offsets. It makes achieving our goals of halving our portfolio emissions by 2030 on the way to a net zero portfolio by 2050 a bit harder, but certainly a lot more meaningful for the planet knowing we are not just passing the problem to other owners. We do what Temasek can do well – own the outcomes by catalysing solutions.
In the last eighteen months, Ho Ching has also dedicated herself to leading Temasek’s contribution to support the wider COVID-19 relief efforts, both at home and abroad. In that time, she has forged partnerships built in the face of adversity that will continue as we move to a new phase in combating COVID-19. Ho Ching will continue to lead a lot of those efforts around the partnerships that she has helped build, for which we are incredibly grateful.
I am delighted to once again congratulate Dilhan on his appointment as CEO of Temasek Holdings, and his appointment to the Board as Executive Director. I know how closely he has been working with both Ho Ching and Theng Kiat during the transition. We have a strong team. It has been tested, especially in recent times. The Board is confident that the transition will be a smooth one as Temasek continues the important journey, which Dilhan and his leadership team has begun, toward 2030 and beyond.
In closing, let me thank Ho Ching and Theng Kiat for their enormous, indeed immeasurable, contributions to building Temasek to what it is today. It is a matter of profound regret that we can’t come together in a group to thank them both as we would normally, but I know many of us will find ways to do so personally, and virtually in the coming days.
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