Israel, who turns 58 in May, assumed the role of president last year and has been a member of the board since August 2005. He will continue to serve in his own individual capacity on the boards on some companies owned by Temasek, the company said in an e-mailed statement today.
Israel’s departure comes almost two years after the company parted ways with former BHP Billiton Ltd. head Charles “Chip” Goodyear, who was going to replace Ho Ching as chief executive officer, because of differences in strategy. Temasek, which manages S$186 billion ($145 billion), last year named Israel as president, along with Gregory Curl, once a candidate for CEO of Bank of America Corp., and former Singapore Exchange Ltd. head Hsieh Fu Hua.
“As I have shared with Ho Ching periodically, it has been my wish for some time to retire from a full-time executive role,” Israel said in the statement. “Now that we have a good team of very capable and committed people in place in Temasek, I feel it is as good a time as any for me to move on to a non- executive role.”
‘Evolution of Temasek’
Before Temasek, Israel joined Paris-based Danone (BN) in 1996 and was the Asia Pacific chairman of the world’s largest yogurt maker. Prior to Danone, he had a 22-year career at Sara Lee Corp. (SLE) in Asia.
Israel contributed to the “evolution of Temasek as an international investor,” the company said. Temasek has transformed itself from a passive holder of stakes in government-controlled firms to an investor with more than two- thirds of underlying assets abroad.
“Simon has contributed significantly to the deepening of Temasek’s capability and discipline as an active investor,” Ho said in the statement. “He has played an invaluable role in the evolution and reshaping of Temasek as an active international investor and value-adding shareholder.”
Israel is on the board of Temasek-linked companies including CapitaLand Ltd. (CAPL), Southeast Asia’s biggest developer, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., the region’s largest phone operator, and Neptune Orient Lines Ltd., Asia’s second-largest container shipping company.
Israel, who’s from New Zealand, was appointed executive director at Temasek starting July 1, 2006. He was first named a non-executive director in 2005 as part of the company’s “board rejuvenation,” Temasek said at the time.
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