Temasek appoints former World Bank president Zoellick to board of directors

World Bank President Robert Zoellick speaks at the Development Committee news conference during the annual IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington on Oct 9, 2010. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
World Bank President Robert Zoellick speaks at the Development Committee news conference during the annual IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington on Oct 9, 2010. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings has appointed Mr Robert B Zoellick, the former president of the World Bank, to its board of directors.

He will join the board on Aug 15, as the first new face under incoming Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng, who takes the helm on Thursday.

Mr Zoellick, 60, was World Bank president from July 2007 until June last year. He has also served as United States deputy secretary of state from 2005 to 2006 under President George W Bush, and was US trade representative before that.

During his tenure as US trade representative, the US signed its free trade agreement with Singapore and with 11 other countries, Temasek said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr Lim said Mr Zoellick would bring "a wealth of experience in international business, diplomacy and finance that will be both welcome and valuable on our board".

"His appointment to our board also comes at an opportune time, as Temasek sets out to establish its first US office in the near future," he added.

"Bob's insights will be especially helpful as we continue to explore opportunities in USA, Europe and also in the various growth markets."

For his part, Mr Zoellick said he has "a high regard for Singapore, and [welcomes] its contribution to international business, finance and trade."

"Over the years, I have also come to know Temasek well, and have followed its growing reputation as a well-regarded international investor," he said.

"Its commitment to strong corporate governance principles is very important to set the tone in international investing. I look forward to being part of a very strong team as I join the Temasek board."

Last week, outgoing Temasek chairman S Dhanabalan said the investment company had plans to add more non-Singaporeans to its 10-member board, as Temasek and its portfolio companies become more global.