Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2009 13:22:11 GMT
Local: Fri, Jul 24 2009 9:22 pm
Subject: Temasek is a DANGER to Singaporean future
Same Old Temasek Again
An article from Today:
Did somebody forget this thing called culture?
by PN Balji
AS THE buzz about Mr Charles Goodyear's sudden departure from Temasek
Holdings continues to dominate discussions, one can't help but ask this
question: Could a no-nonsense CEO who bulldozed his way through a traumatic
merger to form mining giant BHP Billiton, retrenching thousands in the
process, have fitted into a Singapore culture, which for all its outward
glow of modernity, is essentially conservative?
Temasek is no ordinary company. To run it, having good business acumen is
not enough. You need to understand not just the dynamics of the company, but
that of its associate companies, the Ministry of Finance, the Cabinet and
the people of Singapore. It is a jewel in Singapore's crown and the person
protecting and growing it must have the clout to push through his
initiatives. If not the clout, then at least the savvy to win over its
Pity Mr Goodyear. It looks like he did not even have the time to go on a
charm offensive, assuming that plan was in his briefcase at all.
Just four months after he was appointed to the Temasek board and just
two-and-a-half months before becoming the CEO of the sovereign wealth fund,
the 51-year-old American businessman is leaving with questions being asked
about not only his style but about Temasek's ability to pick the right
person and about whether a foreigner can ever run an outfit like Temasek.
His credentials are impeccable, they have been talking to him for two
years, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew described him as one who had an affinity
for Temasek's values, yet Temasek and Mr Goodyear are parting ways.
Strategic differences was given as the official reason. How could that be?
PN Balji, you'll never know. You can speculate, and make your guesses. Maybe
from somewhere within your personal network, you might even hear some
rumours of the "inside" story. But you'll never know for sure.
Why? Because this is Temasek. You know their style. Through all these years,
it has not changed. Basically, Temasek will never tell you anything, except
perhaps the reasons why it will never tell you anything. And even those
reasons will be vague and obscure.
Take Goodyear's departure, for instance. It is revealed that he left because
there were "strategic differences". No further details. This kind of answer
could mean anything and everything, and therefore means nothing.
Except one thing. It means - Temasek doesn't want to tell you, lah.
Perhaps one day, Singaporeans will understand - how risky it is, for so much
of the nation's money to be managed in this way.
Posted by Mr Wang Says S