Kevin Lim & Saeed Azhar
Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings said on Friday its chief executive Ho Ching will step down and be replaced by former BHP Billiton CEO Chip Goodyear on Oct. 1.
Ho Ching, wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, joined Temasek as a director in January 2002 and has been CEO since January 2004.
“The team has already embarked on a different stance since mid-2007, and has begun to review its long-term plans under different scenarios prompted by the economic downturn,” Chairman S. Dhanabalan said at a media briefing.
“If we are to bring in new leadership, it would be just as good a time as any to involve a new leader in this review.”
Goodyear, 51, stepped down as CEO of BHP Billiton in January 2007. He joined Temasek’s board on Sunday.
Temasek, which had S$185 billion ($123.2 billion) in assets as at March 2008, has been hit hard due to its 40 percent exposure to banks that have slumped in value due to the global financial crisis.
The sovereign wealth fund’s key investments include 28 percent of DBS Group, just under a fifth of Standard Chartered Bank and about 3.8 percent of Bank of America following BoA’s takeover of Merrill Lynch.
Temasek’s $5 billion plus investment in Merrill alone has resulted in a loss of more than $2 billion.
Temasek CEO Ho Ching to step down
Costas Paris & P.R. Venkat
Dow Jones Newswires
Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. said Friday that Chief Executive Officer Ho Ching will step down in October and will be replaced by former BHP Billiton Ltd. CEO Charles Goodyear. “Ho Ching has been instrumental in bringing ‘Chip’ on board. We have been working on this appointment for more than a year,” Temasek Chairman S. Dhanabalan said in a statement.
“The team has already embarked on a different stance since mid-2007, and has begun to review its long-term plans under various scenarios prompted by the economic downturn. The board is of the view that, if we are to bring in new leadership, it would be just as good a time as any to involve a new leader in this review,” he added.
Ho, who is in her 50s, has been Temasek’s CEO since 2004. She is the wife of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Goodyear joined the Temasek board on Feb. 1. He assumes the position of CEO- designate on March 1 and will succeed Ho on Oct. 1. Goodyear, stepped down from BHP at the end of 2007 after nine years with the Anglo-Australian miner, five of them as CEO. The 51-year old Texan left BHP at the height of a mining boom led by China’s growing appetite for resource materials.
He will now run one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds at a time when Singapore has entered into a sharp recession and Temasek’s stakes in distressed global investment banks have taken a beating.
“Temasek’s portfolio is excellent, with strong and competitive companies,” Goodyear said.
Under Ho’s leadership, Temasek, which began operations in 1974 with controlling stakes in major domestic companies, expanded abroad with investments in real estate, financial institutions, telecoms and infrastructure.
In the past year or so, Temasek, which has a portfolio of around US$134 billion, also bought stakes in distressed western financial firms like Merrill Lynch, Barclays PLC and Standard Chartered PLC.
Temasek currently holds a 19% stake in Standard Chartered and slightly over 2% in Barclays.
The sovereign wealth fund also holds about 189 million Bank of America Corp. shares, or a 3.8% stake, after Merrill Lynch was bought by the U.S. bank and Temasek converted its 13.7% stake in Merrill Lynch into Bank of America shares.
Temasek suffered a paper loss of about US$2.3 billion from its investment in Merrill Lynch, reflecting the investment bank’s declining fortunes, people familiar with the situation have told Dow Jones Newswires.
“We assessed that we are, comparatively, in a good position to weather the downturn and come out stronger as the global economy recovers,” Dhanabalan said.
“Our balance sheet remains strong, and we have every opportunity to strengthen our portfolio over the next couple of years.”