Temasek International gets a CEO

He will report to Temasek Holdings chief Ho Ching, who is returning from sabbatical

Mr Lee Theng Kiat

Temasek Holdings chief executive Ho Ching is set to return from a six-month sabbatical at the end of this month, while one of the Singapore investment firm's three presidents will take on a larger role.

Mr Lee Theng Kiat, 62, today assumes the role of chief executive of Temasek International (TI), the management arm of the investment firm, and will take charge of day-to-day investment operations.

He will in turn relinquish his role as president of Temasek International (see correction note).

Mr Lee will report to Ms Ho, who remains executive director and chief executive of Temasek Holdings, when she returns from her part-time sabbatical leave, a statement posted on Temasek's website yesterday said.

It added that TI was formed in 2011 to manage its "growing and increasingly global portfolio".

All staff of Temasek Holdings, except Ms Ho and chief financial officer Leong Wai Leng, were transferred to TI.

"As CEO of TI, Mr Lee will be responsible for Temasek's role as an active investor and shareholder. He will oversee Temasek's commercial strategies and portfolio, and build up the management and operational capabilities at TI to support the next phase of Temasek's development and deliver sustainable long-term returns," said Temasek.

Ms Ho, who will chair TI, will continue to have oversight of Temasek's portfolio.

"She continues to oversee our stewardship role, including the constitutional responsibility to protect Temasek's past reserves," the company added.

She will also remain on Temasek's board, chaired by former Cabinet minister Lim Boon Heng, as an executive director.

The move is one in a series of organisational changes that the investment firm has made over the past few years, including appointing Mr Lim as chairman after Mr S. Dhanabalan stepped down in 2013.

Mr Lee, the former president and chief executive of Temasek unit ST Telemedia, joined Temasek in 2012.

He set up infocommunications firm ST Telemedia as a new business area, overseeing its investments into the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

He has been chairing various senior management committees in Temasek for over a year and has been overseeing its daily operations since Ms Ho went on sabbatical leave in April.

Mr Enrico Soddu, head of data and research at the Sovereign Wealth Centre, said the move indicates that "they want to transition to a fully-fledged international asset owner and manager". It was also probably a second attempt at leadership transition, he added.

In 2009, Temasek appointed former BHP Billiton boss Charles "Chip" Goodyear as chief executive but he stepped down within four months.

Temasek's portfolio grew by 19 per cent to $266 billion for the year ended March 31.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Mr Lee Theng Kiat will relinquish his role as a Temasek Holdings president. It should be as a Temasek International president. Ms Ho Ching will also continue to have oversight of the overall performance of Temasek's portfolio, not "overseeing investment decisions" as reported. We are sorry for the errors.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2015, with the headline Temasek International gets a CEO. Subscribe