Asia

Covid-19 did not affect Temasek's succession plan, Ho Ching says

SINGAPORE – Temasek Holdings chief executive Ho Ching said she feels “relaxed” at having announced her retirement, while noting that Covid-19 did not disrupt her intention to step down this year.

“The pandemic did not derail our long-term plans,” she said at a briefing on Tuesday (Feb 9) helmed by Temasek Holdings chairman Lim Boon Heng at its Dhoby Ghaut office. “I am actually very happy and very comforted to have a team in Temasek under Dilhan, who have spent some years thinking about the future.”

Her successor Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, 57, will take over on Oct 1. He is the chief executive of Temasek International, the commercial arm of Temasek driving its investments.

Mr Pillay, a Cambridge-educated lawyer, will retain his position at Temasek International.

He told the briefing: “I don’t feel any additional burden as yet,” adding that he feels excited about Temasek’s future, having taken a lead role in formulating its 2030 strategy, which has a strong focus on sustainability.

Ms Ho, 67, who is also the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said she has not thought about her post-Temasek future, and will continue to be focused on her current job until October.

She revealed that it took her around three years to finally convince Mr Pillay to leave his senior legal position at law firm WongPartnership 10 years ago and join Temasek.

They would meet on weekends while the final get-together before he agreed to take on the job was over lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel in May 2010, recalled Mr Pillay, who has over 20 years of legal experience in areas such as mergers and acquisitions, as well as corporate governance.

Their conversations included Ms Ho outlining Temasek’s roles and mission, such as being a trusted steward to safeguard the nation’s reserves.

Ms Ho said: “I remember that it was a hard sell. But if you want to have the best people, it will always be a hard sell.”

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