Temasek Holdings on Tuesday announced that Dilhan Pillay will succeed Ho Ching as chief executive of the Singaporean state-backed firm, while also taking over her seat as an executive director on the board.
Pillay, who is keeping his title as CEO of investment arm Temasek International, will assume his new posts on 1 October this year. Ho, the wife of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, will retire from Temasek and step down from its board on the same date, the company said in a release.
Ho has served as an executive director of the firm, which controls CapitaLand, Mapletree and other real estate giants, since 2002 and as CEO since 2004. Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng praised Ho for her role in ensuring a smooth transition.
“Ho Ching has been very much part of this process,” Lim said. “Indeed, she has been very active, working over the years to identify various potential successors both inside and outside of Temasek. She has also played a key role in nurturing a strong leadership bench in Temasek, several of whom have gone on to CEO appointments beyond Temasek.”
Lawyer Turned Investor
Pillay joined Temasek in 2010 and has since held various leadership roles, including head of the investment, portfolio management and enterprise development groups. He has also led market teams for Singapore, the US and the Americas.
During Pillay’s tenure leading the international division, Temasek-controlled companies such as CapitaLand and Mapletree Investments have moved beyond regional ventures to become players in the North American and European markets.
Mapletree has built tech-enhanced portfolios of data centre, logistics and office properties in the US and Europe in recent years, including a reported $420 million purchase of an Oakland, California landmark earlier this month.
Before joining Temasek, Pillay was managing partner of Wong-Partnership LLP, one of the biggest law firms in Singapore. He practised for over 20 years in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and general corporate law.
Pillay graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Laws degree, later earning a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge.
Since his appointment as CEO of Temasek International in 2019, Pillay has managed the firm’s investment activities as it built a portfolio valued at S$306 billion ($231 billion) by the end of March last year.
As CEO of Temasek Holdings, Pillay will assume a stewardship role with a particular focus on safeguarding the existing reserves of the firm, Lim said. Temasek listed equity attributable to shareholders of over S$290 billion in its most recent financial statement.
Engineering a Portfolio Revamp
Ho graduated from the University of Singapore with an engineering degree in 1976, later earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. She began her career with the Defence Engineering Service at the Singapore Ministry of Defence.
Before joining Temasek, Ho served as the founding chairman of Singapore Technologies Engineering from 1997 to 2002.
Lim credited her with Temasek’s evolution from a relatively passive owner of shares in former government-owned companies to a globally recognised and respected investor.
Temasek’s portfolio stood at S$90 billion, mostly from investments in Singapore, when Ho was appointed CEO in 2004 with that value having since tripled.
The firm’s shareholdings in various consumer, agri-business and property companies include a 51 percent stake in developer CapitaLand and full ownership of real estate investor Mapletree.