Temasek Appoints Top Swedish Industrialist To Board

Singapore‘s Temasek has appointed one of Europe‘s pre-eminent industrialists to its board in a
move that underscores the increasingly global mindset of the world’s leading
sovereign wealth funds.
    Marcus
Wallenberg, a Swedish national and well-connected corporate titan, becomes the
first non-resident of Singapore
to be recruited by the state-backed investment agency as a non-executive
director.
    Mr
Wallenberg, 51, offers Temasek a surname that opens boardroom doors across Europe and vast experience navigating the occasionally
tricky dividing line between business and politics.
    He is a
scion of the Wallenberg family, which controls AB Investor, one of Europe‘s most successful dynastic industrial holding
companies.
    AB
Investor’s interests embrace companies such as Ericsson, the telecommunications
company, where Mr Wallenberg is deputy chairman, and Electrolux, the consumer
goods maker, where he is chairman.
    Mr
Wallenberg also serves on the boards of Astra Zeneca, Stora Enso and Foundation
Asset Management.
    He recently
served as chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, which represents
the interests of the business community in broader policy discussions such as
trade negotiations.
    Mr S
Dhanabalan, Temasek chairman, hailed Mr Wallenberg as a leader with “deep
knowledge and experience across a wide range of major businesses”.
    Temasek’s
portfolio, valued at $108bn at the end of March, is concentrated mainly in Singapore and Asia,
with only a fifth of its investments based in western economies.
    While it
remains focused on Singapore
and Asia‘s emerging economies it has flagged a
greater willingness to make notable investments in the west, where valuations
for some assets have dropped markedly, last year acquiring significant stakes
in Merrill Lynch and Barclays Bank.
    Temasek is
managed independently of government but potential future western investments
risk is becoming affected by the debate in the US
and Europe over whether to limit the influence
of sovereign wealth funds, on the grounds that they could be investing for
political and not economic reasons.
    As such, Mr
Wallenberg will provide Temasek with a dose of European credibility and a deft
touch dealing with any sensitive political issues that might emerge.
    Temasek,
which was founded by the government in 1974, views itself as a global
investment company and about 40 per cent of its senior management positions are
now held by non-Singaporeans.
    Simon
Israel, Temasek executive director, was a New Zealand citizen when he joined
the nine-person board in 2005, but became a Singaporean last year.

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