Temasek taps Zoellick for board
TEMASEK Holdings has appointed former World Bank president Robert Zoellick to its board of directors, as the Singapore investment company looks to start its first office in the United States.
Mr Zoellick, 60, who left his position at the World Bank last year, will be the first recruit to the investor's board by its new chairman, Mr Lim Boon Heng.
"Over the years, I have also come to know Temasek well, and have followed its growing reputation as a well-regarded international investor," Mr Zoellick said in a statement released by the investor.
Mr Zoellick was president of the World Bank from July 2007 through June last year, and also served as the US trade representative from 2001 to 2005, during which the US signed a free-trade agreement with Singapore. He starts at Temasek on Aug 15.
"Mr Zoellick is probably the most high-profile person that Temasek has engaged and that says a lot about their global ambitions," said Mr Leong Wai Ho, an economist at Barclays in Singapore. "It's extending their feelers, at the very least, in the US space."
Temasek's investments in North America and Europe make up a bigger part of its holdings, rising to 12 per cent of its S$215-billion portfolio at the end of March, from 11 per cent a year earlier.
Chief executive officer Ho Ching said last month that she saw "increasing opportunities" in the two markets and was setting up offices in New York and London to support its investments.
In the US, Temasek is the biggest investor in Level 3 Communications, which runs a network that helps carry telecommunications traffic, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
It also owns stakes in Facebook, the world's largest social-networking site, and Mosaic, the second-largest North American potash producer, according to the data.
Mr Zoellick's appointment "comes at an opportune time, as Temasek sets out to establish its first US office in the near future", Mr Lim said. "Bob's insights will be especially helpful as we continue to explore opportunities in the US, Europe and also in various growth markets."