The about turn in Temasek’s appointment of Mr Charles Goodyear as CEO to replace Ms Ho Ching is a sad but accurate reflection of the abysmal leadership seen at the organisation.
Chairman of Temasek, Mr S Dhanabalan, had said in an announcement in February this year when Mr Goodyear was first appointed that the company had been “working on this appointment for more than a year.” He added that Mr Goodyear “shares the vision and values” of Temasek.
Barely four months later, we learn that this appointment has been reversed because of “differences regarding certain strategic issues that could not be resolved.”
Given that Mr Goodyear’s appointment has been deliberated for over a year, is it plausible that strategic issues cropped up only at the last minute? What were these differences and why can’t they be resolved?
As Temasek is fully-owned by the public, Singaporeans have the right to know the answers to these questions as well as the details of the abrupt termination of Mr Goodyear as CEO.
Given the amount of public money that Temasek handles and, worse, the $58 billion that the company lost from March to November 2008 (Temasek has kept mum about losses incurred after November 2008), the non-transparent way with which the matter has been dealt is truly mind-boggling.
Making a nonsensical and completely banal statement like “It is with much regret that both Chip (Goodyear) and the Board have accepted that it is best not to proceed with the leadership transition” is a waste of bandwidth and an insult to the intelligence of the people. (See Temasek news release below.)
In addition Ms Ho Ching, PM Lee Hsien Loong’s wife who will now carry on as CEO even though she presided over the monumental losses, said that Mr Goodyear had started a number of “initiatives” which she hopes to complete.
What are these initiatives and why are they so important that Ms Ho needs to complete them and make an announcement about it? What’s the point of telling us that there are initiatives and not tell us what they are? Was the comment added just to make the statement look longer and more substantial?
Finally, in Singapore few things happen without Government consent. Did Mr Lee Kuan Yew or Mr Lee Hsien Loong have anything to do with the decision not to go ahead with Mr Goodyear’s appointment?
Given the stakes that we are dealing with and the fact that every cent that Temasek has belongs to Singaporeans, the public has every right to demand the answers from Ms Ho and Mr Dhanabalan.
Temasek’s News Release
Temasek Holdings and Charles W. Goodyear mutually agree not to proceed with CEO appointment
21 July 2009, Singapore
The Board of Directors of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited (“Temasek”) today announced an agreement with Mr Charles (“Chip”) W. Goodyear not to proceed with his CEO appointment.
Mr Goodyear was appointed a Member of the Board on 1 February and CEO-Designate on 1 March. He was to succeed Ms Ho Ching as CEO on 1 October 2009.
Four months into the leadership transition, the Temasek Board and Mr Goodyear have concluded and accepted that there are differences regarding certain strategic issues that could not be resolved. In light of the differences, both parties decided that it is in their mutual interests to terminate the leadership transition process and hence the executive relationship with effect from 15 August 2009. Mr Goodyear will also step down from the Temasek Board effective the same date.
Mr Dhanabalan, Chairman of Temasek Holdings, said, “It is with much regret that both Chip and the Board have accepted that it is best not to proceed with the leadership transition. We wish Chip all the best in his future endeavours, and are happy that Ho Ching has agreed to continue as Executive Director and CEO.”
Added Mr Chip Goodyear, “I’m sorry that we are unable to continue with the leadership transition. Temasek has a fantastic platform and I wish the Board, Ho Ching and the team all the best.”
Ms Ho Ching elaborated, “In the short time with us, Chip has started a number of initiatives which I believe will help strengthen the Temasek platform. I am sorry he is unable to continue with the leadership transition, and hope to complete the initiatives that he has started.”