Temasek Americas Chief Sim Leaves as New Presidents Named

  • Chia Song Hwee, Dilhan Pillay appointed presidents of firm
  • Singapore company will create portfolio strategy, risk group

Temasek Holdings Pte said that its Americas President Boon Sim is leaving as the Singapore state investment firm appointed two new presidents in the latest management shuffle to help it navigate "challenging global times."

Chia Song Hwee and Dilhan Pillay have been named presidents and the firm will reallocate some functions across groups to strengthen the focus and improve collaboration, it said in a statement Tuesday. It will bring together its sector and market investment teams under a single Investment Group, create a new Portfolio Strategy and Risk Group, as well as a new Sustainability and Stewardship Group.

Dilhan Pillay, left, and Chia Song Hwee

Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg

Temasek, together with the city-state’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte, have been adjusting their management structures at a time of market volatility and faltering global growth. GIC said last week it gave its group chief investment officer, Lim Chow Kiat, the extra title of deputy group president as part of a leadership shuffle appointing seven managers to new roles. Temasek on Oct. 1 named Lee Theng Kiat as chief executive officer of Temasek International, the management arm in charge of all staff other than the CEO and chief financial officer.

“It’s been a very tough time in the investment world, it’s more about hanging on to a very rocky boat than trying to be a hero and sticking your neck out," said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking in Singapore. “At the end of the day, you want people who are more clever to run the shop.”

Lee’s appointment as head of the management arm last year was seen as a first step in the succession planning after Temasek Chief Executive Officer Ho Ching took a six-month sabbatical in 2015. Lee was also made director of the investment firm’s board from April 1 this year.

New Presidents

Chia joined Temasek in 2011, and was previously chief operating officer at Globalfoundries. He is joint head for Singapore as well as the investment group and portfolio management group, according to Temasek’s website.

Pillay joined Temasek in 2010, and was previously managing partner of Singapore law firm WongPartnership LLP. He is now head of Americas, and is also joint head of Singapore as well as the firm’s enterprise development group and investment group.

“The changes we’re making position the organization to protect and work the Temasek portfolio, and continue to build capabilities as we grow,” Lee said in the statement Tuesday. “In the future, we may continue to add additional capabilities to the business, as Temasek grows its investment portfolio and global footprint. We are always looking to create new opportunities to attract talented people to Temasek.”

Advisory Role

Sim, who was also head of Temasek’s markets group and head of its credit portfolio, according to the company’s 2015 annual review, is leaving May 1. He will become advisory senior director and continue helping the company strengthen its network in the U.S., serve on some boards and advise on projects, the company said in an e-mailed statement in response to Bloomberg queries.

Boon Sim

Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg

Sim indicated a desire to relinquish his executive positions since the end of last year for personal and family reasons, Temasek said. He was hired in 2012 and was previously global head of mergers and acquisitions at Credit Suisse Group AG. He didn’t answer a call to his U.S. mobile phone seeking comment.

North America and Europe made up 17 percent of Temasek’s country exposure in the 12 months to March 31, 2015, an increase from 14 percent the previous year, as the value of its holdings rose 19 percent to a record S$266 billion ($197 billion). Singapore accounted for 28 percent and Asia ex-Singapore made up 42 percent of its geographic exposure.

Temasek will also appoint Fidah Alsagoff, Michael Buchanan, Png Chin Yee and Juliet Teo as senior managing directors, it said. The appointments take effect on May 1.

There will be some changes in responsibilities among senior members of the team, the company said.

Temasek is “reinforcing the message that we have talents in Singapore,” said CIMB’s Song. ‘While we want the best out there, what has been proven is that there are also talents here and now they are being given a chance.”

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