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Temasek appoints Goodyear as its CEO

SINGAPORE state investment company Temasek, sitting on large paper losses from its Merrill Lynch investment, said yesterday that Chief Executive Ho Ching will be replaced by Charles W. Goodyear, the former boss of mining giant BHP Billiton.

Temasek Holdings, which has a S$185-billion (US$123 billion) investment portfolio, said Chip Goodyear, as the 51-year-old is usually known, will be CEO-designate from March and replace Ho on October 1.

Although Temasek doubled net profit to S$18.2 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008, the fund made a number of missteps under Ho, including a US$5-billion investment in brokerage Merrill Lynch in late 2007.

Merrill's shares fell 78 percent in 2008 amid the global financial turmoil and the storied Wall Street firm was ultimately bought by Bank of America Corp on January 1 in a lifesaving deal.

Ho's resignation has "got nothing to do with performance," Temasek Chairman S. Dhanabalan said at a news conference.

Temasek has also bet big on other financial companies, owning large stakes in Standard Chartered Plc, DBS Group Holdings Ltd and Barclays Plc.

Ho, the wife of the city-state's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, was appointed to Temasek's board in early 2002 and became chief executive in January 2004.

She was hired "purely on the basis of merit and not on her relationship with anyone," Dhanabalan said.

Ho, 55, said she has not decided what she will do after vacating the CEO's office on October 1. She will also resign from the board of directors.


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