Lim Boon Heng started his tenure as Temasek’s new chairman on Thursday by appointing former World Bank head Robert Zoellick to the Singapore investment fund’s board of directors.
Zoellick, who will take up the post on August 15, was president of the World Bank for five years, from 2007 until last year, and has held several senior government and diplomatic roles in the US, including a four-year stint as its chief trade negotiator during the administration of George W Bush.
That experience will be put to immediate use. “His appointment to our board ... comes at an opportune time, as Temasek sets out to establish its first US office in the near future,” said Lim. “[Zoellick’s] insights will be especially helpful as we continue to explore opportunities in the US, Europe and also in the various growth markets.”
Most of the fund’s portfolio investments are currently in Asia, primarily in Singapore and China, but it has already increased its exposure to North America and Europe from 8% in March 2011 to 12% this March, according to its latest financial review.
Its recent US investments suggest a focus on the energy industry. Last year, it joined with Richard Ong to invest $468 million in Cheniere Energy, a Houston-based liquefied natural gas company that is building a West Coast export facility, and was also part of a $1.13 billion investment in Venari Resources, a deep water exploration and production company in the Gulf of Mexico.
Zoellick also serves on the international advisory board of Rolls-Royce and is a distinguished visiting fellow of the Peterson Institution for International Economics, as well as a senior fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.