Ho Ching to retire as Temasek CEO on Oct 1; Dilhan Pillay named successor

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Temasek Holdings chief executive officer Ho Ching (left) will be succeeded by Temasek International CEO Dilhan Pillay.

Ho Ching to retire as Temasek CEO on Oct 1; Dilhan Pillay named successor

Ann Williams

SINGAPORE – Temasek Holdings chief executive Ho Ching will retire from the state investment firm on Oct 1.

She will be succeeded by Mr Dilhan Pillay, CEO of Temasek International (TI), the commercial arm of Temasek driving its investments.

Mr Pillay, a Cambridge-educated lawyer, will keep his position as TI chief.

Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng said on Tuesday (Feb 9): “Leadership succession is a strategic responsibility of the board. We have had in place an annual review since the early 2000s. This is to enable the board to be prepared for all eventualities, with various succession options over different time horizons.

“Ho Ching has been very much part of this process. Indeed, she has been very active, working over the years to identify various potential successors both inside and outside of Temasek.”

Mr Lim also paid tribute to Ms Ho, 67, for her leadership roles in Temasek over nearly two decades.

While there are some months to go before Ms Ho retires, Mr Lim said the board wishes to recognise that she has led Temasek through a remarkable period of transformation.

“We have evolved from a relatively passive owner of the shares in former government-owned companies in Singapore to a globally recognised and respected investor, forward-looking institution and trusted steward.”

He noted that Temasek’s portfolio stood at $90 billion, mostly invested in Singapore, when Ms Ho was appointed CEO in 2004. The portfolio has since tripled to over $300 billion, notwithstanding the impact of the global financial crisis and now Covid-19, he said.

Mr Lim said: “Perhaps above all else, Ho Ching will be recognised for her unwavering commitment to build Temasek as a trusted steward, committed to the highest standards of integrity and governance. “

Mr Lee Theng Kiat, Temasek executive director and TI chairman, will retire from his executive role at the same time but will remain a non-executive member of Temasek’s board and continue as non-executive chairman of TI.

Mr Pillay, 57, joined Temasek in 2010 from law firm WongPartnership, where he was managing partner. He has more than 20 years of legal experience, mainly focusing on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and corporate law.

He has since played several key roles in Temasek, including a two-year stint as head of Americas, based in New York.

He became TI CEO in 2019, in charge of the group’s investor role in Temasek and managing its investment and portfolio activities.

As CEO, Mr Pillay will be responsible for Temasek’s stewardship role, particularly its constitutional responsibilities to safeguard its past reserves, said Mr Lim.

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“The board looks forward to working with him, as the owner of those responsibilities, and will support him and his team in whatever ways needed,” he added.

Mr Pillay noted: “In continuing our mission to generate long term sustainable returns beyond our current generation, core to our success will be our commitment to build a better, more sustainable world.”

Ms Ho said she was happy to be passing the baton to Mr Pillay: “Temasek is a remarkable institution with deep roots in the ethos and founding values of Singapore. I have been privileged to be part of an incredible journey over these two decades at Temasek.”

Each generation of people at Temasek “was willing to make bold moves, try new ideas, push their boundaries”, added Ms Ho. Every generation was also “willing to lead by example, willing to sacrifice the short term for the long term and to demonstrate solidarity during times of crises and need”.

“I know Dilhan will take Temasek to the next level. He brings solid values, a decade of experience in the firm, on top of a wealth of experience prior to joining Temasek. More importantly, he has also brought fresh ideas that are essential to sustaining any organisation.”

 

 

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