Temasek Holdings, the $134-billion Singapore sovereign wealth fund will have a new CEO as Ho Ching, who has been at the helm for seven years, will step down on 1 October 2009, making way for the former CEO of the Australian mining giant, BHP Billiton, Chip Goodyear.
From being a low-key investment fund that mainly invested in Singapore, the Ho Ching years has seen the fund slowly moving first to Asia and later the OECD countries and in the recent past, to China, the US and Europe.
Ho Ching, the wife of Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, joined Temasek in 2002 as a director; moved up as executive director the same year and in 2004 became executive director and CEO.
Her silent but aggressive business strategies in the last six years has yielded immense value for Temasek as it saw its portfolio value surging from approx $60 billion in 2003 to approximately $185 billion as on 31 March 2008.
During her tenure, Temasek ventured into China and invested in two large state-owned banks, China Construction Bank and Bank of China and privately owned Mingsheng Bank.
Following the acquisition of a 5.2-per cent stake in ICICI Bank, the Singapore-based Temasek Holdings, an investment company, has decided to focus on India. (See: Temasek to focus on India)
The company has set up the $100-million Merlion India Fund to investment in mid-to late stage Indian companies and it had invested in ICICI Bank and Tata Consultancy Services apart from buying equity in Tata Teleservices, Bharti Infratel and Punj Lloyd.
It also became the largest shareholder in Merrill Lynch before its takeover by Bank of America when in July it took a 10-per cent stake for $900 million. (See: Temasek takes a 10-per cent stake in Merrill Lynch for $900 million)
Apart from Merrill Lynch, Temasek had also invested in Barclays, where both these investments made large paper losses in wake of the global economic crisis, but the sovereign wealth fund has always maintained that both these investments were for the long-term.
In August last year, despite the global credit crisis, recorded a net profit of S$18.2 billion ($12.82 billion) for 2007-08. Its portfolio value rose 13 per cent to S$185 billion from S$164 billion the previous year. (See: Temasek announces record profit, fears spread of credit crisis)
Ho told reporters that she had not decided on her next move but she would not be on the board of Temasek either.
''I am delighted to have someone of Chip's calibre and experience to join us to take this unique institution forward. I will be working closely with him to ensure a smooth transition,'' Ho said.
''I am very fortunate and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with a remarkable team of colleagues, in the management and staff, as well as the Board. I want to place on record my deep appreciation for their trust and support as we built on the solid platforms of the past to shape and reshape Temasek in order to remain relevant to a fast changing world. I also want to thank the boards, management and staff of our portfolio companies who have contributed so much to Temasek over the years,'' she added.
Goodyear, an American, is a product of Yale and Wharton School of Finance was also an investment banker for Kidder Peabody in the now defamed Wall Street before he joined BHP in 1999 as chief financial officer.
The mining giant posted record profits and its revenue galloped from $15.6 billion to $47.5 billion during his term as CEO of BHP between 2003 and 2007.
Temasek Chairman, Dhanabalan said, ''Ho Ching has been instrumental in bringing Chip on board. We have been working on this appointment for more than a year.''
Speaking on his appointment, Goodyear said, "I look forward to joining the organisation and building on the very strong foundation developed by Ho Ching and her team. Temasek is in a unique position to play a significant role in the development of globally competitive businesses in the years ahead.''