Temasek Grooms New Leadership as Ho to Return in October

  • Lee to be CEO of Temasek International, in charge of assets
  • Ho Ching will continue to oversee Temasek's stewardship role

Ho Ching, chief executive officer of Temasek Holdings Pte, will return from a six-month sabbatical at the end of October as one of three presidents takes on a bigger role seen as a first step in the succession planning of Singapore’s state-owned investment company.

Lee Theng Kiat, the Temasek president who was in charge while Ho was away, will become CEO of Temasek International, the management arm in charge of all staff other than the CEO and chief financial officer, according to a statement on its website.

“The leadership transition has started,” said Melvyn Teo, professor of finance at Singapore Management University. “It is unlikely that they will change their asset allocation and investment policy any time soon.”

This would be the newest attempt to hand over the reins at Temasek, which oversaw S$266 billion ($187 billion) as of March 31. The investment company had tapped former BHP Billiton Ltd. head Charles “Chip” Goodyear to replace Ho in 2009, a handover that was aborted because of differences in strategy.

Ho, who will remain as CEO and executive director at Temasek, will take on the role of chairman for Temasek International. The changes take effect from Oct. 1. She continues to oversee the investment firm’s stewardship role, including the constitutional responsibility to protect Temasek’s past reserves, according to the statement.

“As CEO of TI, Mr. Lee will be responsible for Temasek’s role as an active investor and shareholder,” Temasek said in the statement. “He will oversee Temasek’s commercial strategies and portfolio, and build up the management and operational capabilities at TI to support the next phase of Temasek’s development.”

Ho began her sabbatical in April following the surgery in February of her husband, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Lee’s father, Lee Kuan Yew, who was Singapore’s first premier, died on March 23.

Lee Theng Kiat joined Temasek in 2012. Before that, he was CEO of Singapore Technologies Telemedia, a telecommunications company owned by Temasek, and held other senior positions.

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