Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, will be retiring from her role as Temasek Holdings chief executive officer with effect from 1 Oct this year.
This is after around 17 years since Ms Ho was first appointed Temasek Holdings CEO in 2004.
In a statement on Tuesday (9 Feb), Temasek Holdings said that Temasek International chief executive officer Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara will succeed Ms Ho on the same date.
Ms Ho will also be stepping down from the Board of Temasek Holdings on 1 Oct.
Back in 2009, the intended leadership transition of the Temasek CEO between former BHP Billiton chief Charles ‘Chip’ Goodyear and Mdm Ho came to an abrupt stop when the private investment company announced the departure of Goodyear due to differences between him and the board of directors regarding certain strategic issues that could not be resolved.
The following is Temasek Holdings’ press release on the matter in full:
The Board of Temasek Holdings has announced that Mr Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara will succeed Ms Ho Ching as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings with effect from 1 October 2021. He will concurrently hold his current appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Temasek International (TI).
Ho Ching will retire from Temasek Holdings and step down from its Board on the same date.
Announcing the change today, Mr Lim Boon Heng, Chairman of Temasek Holdings, noted: “Leadership succession is a strategic responsibility of the Board. We have had in place an annual review since the early 2000s. This is to enable the Board to be prepared for all eventualities, with various succession options over different time horizons.
“We are very pleased to appoint Dilhan to the role of CEO of Temasek Holdings. This will take place on 1 October this year.
“Ho Ching has been very much part of this process. Indeed, she has been very active, working over the years to identify various potential successors both inside and outside of Temasek. She has also played a key role in nurturing a strong leadership bench in Temasek, several of whom have gone on to CEO appointments beyond Temasek.
“Already established as one of the leading corporate lawyers heading a major law firm, Dilhan joined Temasek 10 years ago with a sense of mission and purpose. He brought with him a wealth of experience, a rich network across the region, a keen sense of markets and commercial discipline, and above all, a commitment to build and transform people and organisations for the longer term, as well as to embed culture and values for a greater purpose.
“Since then, he has played several critical roles in Temasek, including a two year stint as Head, Americas, based out of New York. He was appointed CEO of Temasek International in 2019. In that role, he has been responsible for the Investor role of Temasek, managing the investment and portfolio activities of Temasek.
“As CEO of Temasek Holdings, Dilhan will have the responsibility for the Stewardship role of Temasek, particularly in respect of Temasek’s Constitutional responsibilities to safeguard its own past reserves, as a Fifth Schedule entity. The Board looks forward to working with him, as the owner of those responsibilities, and will support him and his team in whatever ways needed.” Mr Lim said.
Temasek International was created a decade ago as the commercial arm of Temasek to drive the investor role of Temasek as a long term owner and active investor. This enables the CEO of Temasek Holdings to focus on its Stewardship responsibility both as an intergenerational investor, and a Fifth Schedule entity under the Singapore Constitution charged with protection of its own past reserves.
Mr Lim, announcing the transition to staff today, paid tribute to Ho Ching for her leadership roles in Temasek over nearly two decades.
“While there are some months to go before Ho Ching retires, the Board wishes to recognise that she has led Temasek through a remarkable period of transformation. We have evolved from a relatively passive owner of the shares in former Government-owned companies in Singapore to a globally-recognised and respected investor, forward looking institution and trusted steward.
“It is hard to call out Ho Ching’s many achievements, and there will be more time to do so before she retires later in the year. Perhaps above all else, Ho Ching will be recognised for her unwavering commitment to build Temasek as a trusted steward, committed to the highest standards of integrity and governance. She has laid out and consistently applied the standards we expect of companies, and of ourselves as an owner.
“Ho Ching believes we have a stake in the well-being of our communities and the responsibility to exercise good stewardship through our contributions. Under her leadership, we set up Temasek Trust and Temasek Foundation as our philanthropic platforms to support public good and social causes in a sustainable manner over time. She also passionately convinced and committed Temasek to play a leading role as a champion of sustainability.
“On behalf of the entire Board, I thank Ho Ching for her unwavering commitment to build a forward looking institution of character and reputation,” he said.
Temasek’s portfolio stood at S$90 billion mostly in Singapore when Ho Ching was first appointed CEO in 2004. The portfolio has since tripled to over S$300 billion, notwithstanding the impact of the Global Financial Crisis and now Covid-19.
Mr Lim also thanked Mr Lee Theng Kiat for his commitment and service as he retires from his executive role at the same time.
“We are delighted that Theng Kiat will remain as a non-executive member of the Temasek Board, and continue as non-executive Chairman of TI. This will provide continuity during this leadership renewal, as well as allow us to continue to tap on his experience as a business builder, as well as his commercial network,” Mr Lim concluded.
Mr Lee responded: “I am very pleased about Dilhan’s appointment. I have worked closely with him for some years now, and know he brings the right values and commitment to the role. My last eight years as an executive with Temasek have been truly an inspiring part of my career, and while the nature of my role changes, I am pleased to remain involved and support this leadership transition as both Chairman of TI and a Board Member of Temasek Holdings.”
Mr Pillay said he was honoured to take on the new appointment.
“I thank the Board for its confidence in me and our senior management team. I am especially grateful to Ho Ching and Theng Kiat for laying down a strong foundation for Temasek as it navigates a world of continuous change, increasing complexity and ambiguity. In continuing our mission to generate long term sustainable returns beyond our current generation, core to our success will be our commitment to build a better, more sustainable world.
“We are on a continuing journey of transformation across the company. This is not unusual for Temasek. Our relentless focus on human potential and capacity development will continue unabated. We have a strong leadership team, with diverse capabilities, strengths and experiences. Leveraging our Temasek ecosystem and our global network of relationships, I am confident that we are in a good position to embrace the opportunities, and face the challenges, of today and the future.
“Our collective focus will be on doing right and doing good, even as we strive to do well, with conviction and purpose, as we continue to do things today with tomorrow clearly on our minds.”
Ho Ching said she is happy to be passing the leadership baton to Mr Pillay at this time.
“Temasek is a remarkable institution with deep roots in the ethos and founding values of Singapore. I have been privileged to be part of an incredible journey over these two decades at Temasek.
“The one thing I am most proud of is the people of Temasek. They are highly dedicated and driven, methodical and passionate, but always with a heart for the larger good, always trying to make a difference, especially for the less fortunate and those in need.
“They are an incredible team: not just today’s team but through the many generations. I am amazed by the collection of dedicated, hardworking and thoughtful folks who have been part of the journey since the founding of Temasek.
“Each generation was willing to make bold moves, try new ideas, push their boundaries, and asking what they can do for a better, more sustainable future. And every generation willing to lead by example, willing to sacrifice the short term for the long term, and to demonstrate solidarity during times of crises and need.
“Dilhan and his current team have that same character and sense of purpose. They have already been making a huge difference in embracing a future that brings both threats and opportunities: threats that have been accentuated by this pandemic, but also opportunities which are greatly expanded and even accelerated by Covid.
“I know Dilhan will take Temasek to the next level. He brings solid values, a decade of experience in the firm, on top of a wealth of experience prior to joining Temasek. More importantly, he has also brought fresh ideas that are essential to sustaining any organisation. I have full confidence in Dilhan and his team to transform Temasek once again, to be more than it is today.
“I am also happy that Theng Kiat has agreed to stay on the Board of Temasek Holdings as a non-executive director. He has been an invaluable guide for the investor role of Temasek as chair of Temasek International, so it is good that he will continue to provide continuity and mentorship.
“The companies in our portfolio have also been key to helping us tread a path for which there was no map. Like Temasek, their boards, their leadership teams and the many men and women have helped their companies grow through the generations. They added strength, depth and breadth to Temasek. Today, many of them are also going through their own transformation too.” Ho Ching concluded.