Ho Ching to retire as Temasek Holdings CEO on 1 Oct

SINGAPORE — Temasek Holdings executive director and chief executive officer (CEO) Ho Ching, 67, will retire and step down from its board with effect from 1 October.

Taking her place will be Temasek International CEO Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, who will concurrently hold his current appointment, the Board of Temasek Holdings said in a media statement on Tuesday (9 February).

“We are very pleased to appoint Dilhan to the role of CEO of Temasek Holdings,” said Temasek Holdings chairman Lim Boon Heng.

“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.

Outgoing Temasek Holdings CEO Ho Ching (left), with Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara taking over her. (PHOTO: Temasek Holdings)
Outgoing Temasek Holdings CEO Ho Ching (left), with Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara taking over her. (PHOTO: Temasek Holdings)

In 2019, following several critical roles in Temasek, Pillay was appointed CEO of Temasek International, which was created a decade ago as the commercial arm of Temasek. This enabled Ho to focus on its stewardship responsibility as CEO of Temasek Holdings.

“In that role, he has been responsible for the investor role of Temasek, managing the investment and portfolio activities of Temasek,” Lim said.

“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.”

Pillay, 57, said he was honoured to take on the new appointment. He added that Temasek is on a continuing journey of transformation across the company, but he is confident that it is in a good position to 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,” he said in the media statement.

Ho Ching involved in the leadership succession process

Lim paid tribute to Ho for her leadership roles in Temasek over nearly two decades, and said that she has been “very much” a part of the leadership succession process.

“She has been very active, working over the years to identify various potential successors both inside and outside of Temasek,” he said in the media statement.

“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.

“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. On behalf of the entire Board, I thank Ho Ching for her unwavering commitment to build a forward looking institution of character and reputation.”

Temasek said in the media statement that its portfolio stood at $90 billion, mostly in Singapore, when Ho Ching was first appointed CEO in 2004. The portfolio has since tripled to over $300 billion, notwithstanding the impact of the Global Financial Crisis and COVID-19.

Ho said in the media statement that she is happy to be passing the leadership baton to Pillay at this juncture, and paid tribute to her “dedicated, hardworking and thoughtful” staff at Temasek Holdings.

“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,” she said of her staff at Temasek.

“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-19.

“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.”

Executive director Lee Theng Kiat to retire as well

Meanwhile, Temasek Holdings also announced that its executive director Lee Theng Kiat will also be retiring from his executive role, as well as his role as chairman of Temasek International, on 1 October.

He will however remain as a non-executive member of the Temasek Board, and continue as non-executive chairman of Temasek Holdings.

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