Temasek would not be what it is today without Ho Ching's courage and conviction: Chairman Lim Boon Heng

(From left) Ms Ho Ching, Mr Lim Boon Heng and Mr Dilhan Pillay. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Temasek would not be what it is today without the courage and conviction of its outgoing chief executive Ho Ching, said chairman Lim Boon Heng on Tuesday (Feb 9).

"She took bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisation, instilled in all of us a sense of the mission and values which defines Temasek's charter today," he said.

Ms Ho is retiring from her position as CEO and executive director of Temasek Holdings, and will be succeeded by Mr Dilhan Pillay, who is CEO of Temasek's corporate arm Temasek International.

State investor Temasek was founded in 1974 and has 11 offices globally in cities such as in New York and London. Besides its corporate arm which focuses on investments and its portfolio, it also has its Temasek Trust philanthropic arm, which supports vulnerable groups such as the elderly and people with disabilities.

A part of Temasek's returns are channelled into the annual Budget through the Net Investment Return Contribution. Along with sovereign wealth fund GIC and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, it is tasked to invest Singapore's reserves.

Over the past year, Temasek has been actively investing in technology and life sciences, with German Covid-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the recent additions to its portfolio.

Mr Tan Chong Meng, group chief executive of PSA International, one of Temasek's portfolio companies, said that the firm has benefited from Ms Ho's leadership.

PSA has evolved into a global leader in ports and logistics ecosystems with Temasek's support, he added.

"On a personal level, I have appreciated the opportunity to work with Ho Ching - learning much from her insights, integrity and hands-on approach to leadership, which has left a lasting legacy.

"I look forward to working with Dilhan and seeing Temasek continue to grow from strength to strength in his sure hands," Mr Tan added.

Associate Professor Lawrence Loh from the National University of Singapore (NUS) said that Temasek, under Ms Ho's leadership, contributed significantly to Singapore's revenues over the years.

"This speaks well for the good governance of its investments, which have indeed grown healthily in great strides," he noted.

Prof Loh, who is also director of the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at NUS, added: "Another notable tribute to Ms Ho is Temasek's role in the sustainability arena - it has demonstrated its social responsibility well, such as in providing much-needed resources to help Singapore tide over the ongoing pandemic."

Temasek was heavily involved in Covid-19 efforts, conducting reusable masks and hand sanitiser distribution drives locally and donating medical supplies to other countries through its Temasek Foundation.

Last April, Ms Ho shared a photo of the community care facility at the Singapore Expo, which several Temasek portfolio companies such as Surbana Jurong, PSA International and ST Engineering were involved in managing.

In a LinkedIn post, politics and public affairs analyst Hasan Jafri, a former director with Temasek, wrote that over his 14 years with the company, he has seen first-hand and up close Ms Ho's focus on "building a world-class, robust and resilient institution" and efforts to make Temasek more than an investment company.

"The incredibly hard stuff that every CEO desires but many fall short of accomplishing," he added.

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