Head of one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world
Ho Ching is executive director & chief executive officer of Temasek Holdings. One of the top students in her cohort, she did her “A” levels at National Junior College where she was named Student of the Year. She went to the then Singapore University as a President’s Scholar, and graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical, 1st Class Honours). In 1982, she graduated from Stanford University with a Master of Science (Electrical Engineering).
Ho Ching started her career as an engineer with the Ministry of Defence in 1976. In 1983, she became Director, Defence Materiel Organisation, the defence procurement agency of the Ministry, and held the concurrent position of Deputy Director of Defence Science Organisation (DSO).
She joined the Singapore Technologies group in 1987 as Deputy Director of Engineering and took on various senior responsibilities, before becoming its President and CEO in 1997. She is credited with repositioning and growing the group in the five years that she led it. For instance, she was the architect for the formation and listing of Singapore Technologies Engineering as the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia in 1997, and served as its first Chairman.
In 2002, the chairman of Temasek Holdings, former Cabinet minister S Dhanabalan, asked her to head Temasek. He said she was the best person for the job because of “a willingness on her part to take calculated risks”. She joined Temasek as Executive Director, and in 2004 became its CEO. She is widely credited with transforming Temasek, an investment firm wholly owned by the Singapore Government, from a Singapore-focused firm into an active investor in Asia and the world. Today, Temasek is recognized as a model of good governance, transparency and professional competence among state-owned investment players.
As Temasek gained international recognition, Ho Ching appeared in many rankings of the most powerful and influential people in the world. Time Magazine picked her in 2007 as one of the “100 most influential men and women” in the world. The same year, Forbes listed her as the third most powerful woman in business outside the United States. In 2013, she was ranked ninth on the Public Investor 100 ranking compiled by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
Ho Ching is a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus of the National University of Singapore and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Singapore. She has also served as the chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards & Industrial Research (SISIR), and as deputy chairman of the Productivity and Standards Board (PSB), and the Economic Development Board (EDB). She was awarded the Singapore Public Administration Medal, Silver in 1985 and the Public Service Star in 1996 for her contributions to public service.
In her personal capacity, Ho Ching supports various community service and charitable organisations. She has particular interest in special needs education, healthcare and the welfare and development of children. She is the Patron of Assisi Hospice, and the founding Chairman of Trailblazer Foundation Ltd, an IPC charity which provides funding for education, health, sports and community welfare.
"To understand our opportunities, we stood back and asked ourselves what the key ingredients of our success have been since the founding of Temasek. We had two important success factors: first, the people with the passion, commitment and capability to think long term and deliver; and second, the success of Singapore itself."