Temasek Chief Likely to Step Down in August

Ho Ching, the executive director and chief executive officer of Singapore’s Temasek investment fund, is likely to step down in August, according to people familiar with the matter.

Temasek Holdings
Temasek Holdings

If confirmed, her departure would come at a time when the fund, whose sole shareholder is the Singaporean government, has fully recovered from the financial crisis, during which the value of its portfolio fell from S$185 billion ($150 billion) to S$130 billion. A spokesman for Temasek declined to comment.

Temasek is expected to release its annual review for the year ending March 31 in early July. Temasek is expected to post gains on its portfolio of investments, making it possible for Ms Ho to leave on a high note after eight years in charge.

Temasek has benefited from Asia’s rise and the recovery of the financial markets. About three-quarters of its portfolio is invested in the region, and almost 40 per cent in financial institutions.

This is not the first time there has been talk that Ms Ho, who is married to Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s prime minister, might be leaving Temasek.

In 2009, Temasek named Chip Goodyear, the former head of BHP Billiton, as chief executive-elect, with the intention that he would succeed Ms Ho. Mr Goodyear departed after only a few months, citing differences over strategic issues. Last summer the firm recruited Greg Curl, a former Bank of America executive and China Construction Bank director, to oversee its financial services operations.

Temasek is in the process of consolidating its holdings, according to people familiar with its strategy.

Possible disposals include Temasek’s stake in Indonesia’s Bank Danamon, the proceeds from which could be used to increase its position in Bank of China. BoC may also take over Temasek’s majority stake in NIB, a Pakistani bank.

Separately, on Wednesday the Government of Singapore Investment Corp announced Dr Teh Kok Peng, president of GIC Special Investments, is retiring and will be replaced by Tay Lim Hock, a GIC deputy president.

Dr Teh was in charge of private equity investments at GIC, which is the single largest investor in TPG, and now chairs GIC’s China Business Group. Most recently, he explored investment opportunities in American infrastructure alongside US state pension plans.