Ho Ching to leave Temasek

The wife of Singapore’s prime minister will in October cease leading Temasek, which has come under fire for financial services over-exposure. The sovereign fund and avid private equity player will be led by ex-BHP Billiton chief executive Chip Goodyear, a succession that has been planned for 'more than a year'.

Ho Ching will step down as chief executive of Singaporean sovereign wealth Temasek Holdings in October. She will be replaced by Chip Goodyear, the former chief executive of mining company BHP Billiton.

“Ho Ching has been instrumental in bringing Chip on board. We have been working on this appointment for more than a year,” S Dhanabalan, the fund’s chairman, said in a statement.

Ho has been an executive director and chief executive of Temasek since January 2004. She joined Temasek as a director in January 2002 and became an executive director in May 2002.

Ho Ching

The wife of Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, Ho was president and chief executive of technology conglomerate Singapore Technologies Group from 1997 to 2001. She began her career in the Ministry of Defence, holding various positions in the Defence Science Organisation and the Defence Material Organisation.

Goodyear joined Temasek’s board this month and will assume the position of chief executive officer-designate in March. He retired as chief executive of BHP Billiton in January 2008.

Temasek has invested 40 percent of its portfolio into the financial services sector which have been badly affected by the global financial crisis. In 2007, it invested $8.3 billion for a stake in Merrill Lynch and $2 billion for shares in Barclays. It also upped its 18 percent stake in Standard Chartered Bank to 19 percent. In September 2008, the fund received US antitrust approval to increase its stake in Merrill Lynch, when the bank merged with Bank of America.

In June 2007, Temasek invested A$401.5 million ($264.1 million) for a 12 percent stake in ABC Learning Centres, an Australian childcare group which entered receivership in November 2008.

Established in 1974, Temasek manages a portfolio of approximately S$185 billion (€96 billion; $124 billion), focused primarily on Asia and the OECD economies.