Ho Ching not only drove portfolio growth, but also instilled strong sense of values: Temasek chairman

(From left) Temasek Holdings chief executive Ho Ching, with Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng and her successor Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, at a media briefing on Feb 9, 2021. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - In her 17 years at the helm of Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings, Ms Ho Ching not just quadrupled its portfolio value, but also instilled in it a strong sense of values, said its chairman Lim Boon Heng.

In a note published on Temasek's website on Thursday (Sept 30), Ms Ho's last day as executive director and chief executive of the company, Mr Lim highlighted her "extraordinary contribution" during her tenure.

"Her contribution to building lasting structures on foundations of good governance and sustainability will serve Temasek well, long into the future," he said.

Under Ms Ho's leadership, the investor's net portfolio value increased more than four times - from $90 billion in 2004 to $381 billion as of the end of March 2021.

She transformed the state investor's business and its role within the community, and also shaped the expectations it has of its portfolio companies, Mr Lim said.

"Across the firm, she built a culture of integrity, backing people to do right, even when it meant going against the tide of the wider market. Thinking like an owner requires a long-term mindset and leadership, not followership.

"She put in place structures and processes that aligned our own outcomes with those of our shareholder, through the cycles," he noted.

Mr Lim also outlined how Temasek Trust and Temasek Foundation were set up as the investment company's key philanthropic platforms to support public good and social causes in a sustainable manner during her tenure.

He said: "Each of these organisations has already formed an indelible impression on the communities they serve, and will continue to do so for years to come because of the governance model upon which they were built."

Ms Ho will be appointed to Temasek Trust's board of directors, with effect from Friday, and take over as chairman from April 1, 2022.

She succeeds Mr S. Dhanabalan, who will remain on the board of Temasek's philanthropic arm and be designated Chairman Emeritus.

Ms Ho also convinced and committed Temasek to play a leading role as a champion of sustainability, long before it became synonymous with the firm's investment approach, said Mr Lim.

She led passionate conversations with Temasek's senior team and board about how it would take bold steps to work with its portfolio companies to transition to a low-carbon world, he added.

Temasek has committed to halving its portfolio emissions by 2030 and to achieve a net-zero portfolio by 2050.

At the same time, Ms Ho also dedicated herself to leading Temasek's contribution to support wider Covid-19 relief efforts locally and abroad in the last 18 months, Mr Lim said.

"Ho Ching will continue to lead a lot of those efforts around the partnerships that she has helped build, for which we are incredibly grateful."

Succeeding Ms Ho as executive director and CEO of Temasek Holdings is Mr Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, who will remain as CEO of Temasek's commercial arm, Temasek International. His new appointment is effective Friday.

At the same time, Mr Lee Theng Kiat is retiring from his role as executive director, but will remain on Temasek's board and as chairman of Temasek International.

In his note, Mr Lim said Temasek's board is confident that the leadership transition will be smooth as the company continues the important journey toward 2030 and beyond.

"On behalf of the board, and all Temasek's people, I wish both Ho Ching and Theng Kiat well in their retirement, and express our thanks for their dedication to the firm over many years."

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