The about turn in Temasek’s appointment of Mr Charles Goodyear as CEO to replace Ms Ho Ching is a sad but accurate reflection of the abysmal leadership seen at the organisation.
Chairman of Temasek, Mr S Dhanabalan, had said in an announcement in February this year when Mr Goodyear was first appointed that the company had been “working on this appointment for more than a year.” He added that Mr Goodyear “shares the vision and values” of Temasek.
Barely four months later, we learn that this appointment has been reversed because of “differences regarding certain strategic issues that could not be resolved.”
Given that Mr Goodyear’s appointment has been deliberated for over a year, is it plausible that strategic issues cropped up only at the last minute? What were these differences and why can’t they be resolved?
As Temasek is fully-owned by the public, Singaporeans have the right to know the answers to these questions as well as the details of the abrupt termination of Mr Goodyear as CEO.
Given the amount of public money that Temasek handles and, worse, the $58 billion that the company lost from March to November 2008 (Temasek has kept mum about losses incurred after November 2008), the non-transparent way with which the matter has been dealt is truly mind-boggling.
Making a nonsensical and completely banal statement like “It is with much regret that both Chip (Goodyear) and the Board have accepted that it is best not to proceed with the leadership transition” is a waste of bandwidth and an insult to the intelligence of the people. (See Temasek news release)
In addition Ms Ho Ching, PM Lee Hsien Loong’s wife who will now carry on as CEO even though she presided over the monumental losses, said that Mr Goodyear had started a number of “initiatives” which she hopes to complete.
What are these initiatives and why are they so important that Ms Ho needs to complete them and make an announcement about it? What’s the point of telling us that there are initiatives and not tell us what they are? Was the comment added just to make the statement look longer and more substantial?
Finally, in Singapore few things happen without Government consent. Did Mr Lee Kuan Yew or Mr Lee Hsien Loong have anything to do with the decision not to go ahead with Mr Goodyear’s appointment?
Given the stakes that we are dealing with and the fact that every cent that Temasek has belongs to Singaporeans, the public has every right to demand the answers from Ms Ho and Mr Dhanabalan.