Tuesday, June 21, 2011

All In The Family

Hear only the good stuff
The Financial Times (FT) newspaper first reported on Wednesday 15 June that daughter-in-law Ho Ching, 58, might leave Temasek (the company, not the website) at a time when the investment firm has turned around from losses from the financial crisis, "during which the value of its portfolio fell from S$185 billion to S$130 billion". In response to rumours that she will likely step down in August (Temasek releases its annual review for the year ended March 31 in early July), Temasek spokesperson Jeffrey Fang told MediaCorp, "We decline to comment on the speculation."

Reuters now report that Ho Ching told her employees that had she had to leave on a high note, she could have done so last year. Last year Temasek's port folio rose 43% year-on-year to $186 billion at the end of March. The same last year, her husband had no inkling that the election results will net a significant dive at the polls.

This is not the first time there has been talk that Ms Ho Ching, wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, might leave Temasek, and probably not the last. In 2009, it was officially announced that former BHP Billiton CEO Charles Goodyear would be her replacement. Chairman Dhanabalan, while trumpeting that "Ho's resignation had nothing to do with her performance", even cited a White Paper that supposedly tabulated the rationale for her stepping down. Nobody saw that piece of documentation. What we witnessed next was the sudden departure of Goodyear 4 months after his appointment on 1 March, with Temasek citing "unresolved strategic differences." The main stream media quoted stuff like Goodyear would not allow Blackberries to be used during meetings.

Ho Ching's first high profiled resignation in 2003, then from the Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engg) board, was when chairman Yeo Ning Hong chastised her for giving a million dollar bonus to one of her managers. She left in a huff and "told my father-in-law to take care of it." Yeo was promptly taken to the woodshed, given a dressing down in parliament, and she was back in charge. Lee Kuan Yew proudly added, "...and in a higher income tax bracket." That parliamentary speech is in the Hansard, you just have to search for it.

Now the more interesting story is why Lee Hsien Yang left Singtel....


  1. This is the 3rd time she's "resigned" and not again, becoming a "pro" in procrastination -what else is new? *facepalm* As one US student who was irked by his Senator's choice of reading materials aptly put it " I was especially dismayed by his three books answer. 'Third World to First' is not the story of the success of conservative principles but of the success of smart economic cronyism."


  2. Cry wolf, cry wolf! When is it going to be true ?

    In Singapore, the lines between meritocracy and nepotism is blurred for all to see.

    In other words, it is OK to say that it's such a coincidence that her husband just happens to be the Prime Minister and she was there by her own merit. There is no such thing as conflict of interests.

  3. @Alan Wong,

    The PM married her because she is of merit. Someone who cannot be Temasek chief is not worthy of him and if you are worried about conflict of interest then it would be a great loss when the best person cannot be there to do the job. If Hsien Yang can do a better job, he would be at the top there now.

  4. The Lee Family never fails to intrigue Singaporeans, some even mesmerized.
    The History Of The Lee Family could very well be the History Of Sin.

  5. To anon 1:15pm, yeah thanks for jogging back some good memories of past shady deals orchestrated by the worthy Temasek Chief, keep up with the Teflon attitude. Not only will Thailand not get any answers, even singaporeans can forget about getting anywhere close to those web-of-deals frequently constructed for a supposedly "singaporeans' interest". Yet we don't know what "interests" we are actually getting apart from the measly 2.5% cpf rate. What constitutes Past/Present/Future reserves and which part of the govt SWF is managing which piece of the every-complexing puzzle that no one seems to know...
    Of course after helping to close the deal via Singtel, HY is now probably busy structuring the sale of Changi airport to Temasek for god knows what/how/why? The transferring of states assets and what know is all just within the familee. The question pple have to ask is whether the new EP to elect is guarding Singaporean's reserves or a certain family trust fund. Because really, if it's the latter, we really don't deserve to know and least interested to bother. If it's the former, then who among the SG elites, privileged and meritocratic society knows the answers to the mother of ALL questions that NOBODY knows conclusively!!??


  6. http://www.smh.com.au/business/avoiding-the-grip-of-singapore-inc-20110406-1d4i8.html

    Says it all!

  7. Can you provide a link to the hansard, it will be interesting to read the parlimentary sppech then.

  8. Where is it in Hansard???

  9. Here's a scary thought ...

    Tony Tan resigns from GIC to become Elected President.

    GIC and Temasek merge to become a single corporate entity to enjoy cost savings, economies of scale and a larger global footprint to project Singapore's soft power overseas.

    And Ho Ching is the new CEO.

  10. Tattler,
    perhaps "famiLee" deserves to become an official word in the English language...
    associated with nepotism, legalised corruption, deception to conceal wrongdoings, underhand means to gain advantage, etc

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