Temasek appoints Goldman Sachs’ John Vaske to supervise its operations in North America

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Singapore’s state-owned investment firm, Temasek Holdings has appointed Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s John Vaske to tap North American market and strengthen U.S. portfolio.

Vaske’s retirement as co-chairman of global mergers and acquisitions at Goldman was announced on Tuesday. He will join Temasek as joint head of North America on January 16, the company said in a statement. On the other hand, Dilhan Pillay, the current Americas head, will continue to provide oversight on Temasek’s investment activities in North and Latin America.

Temasek plans to open an office in San Francisco this year in order to focus on more technology investments. It already has an office in the capital city, New York.

Currently managing $242 billion for Singapore’s government, Temasek focuses on technology and financial-services companies, which together constitute around half of its portfolio. Telecoms, media and technology comprise 25 per cent of its portfolio, higher than 24 per cent in the previous financial year.

Temasek had reported a 9 per cent decrease in the value of its stakes this year, its net investments plummeting to the lowest level in seven years. As a result the firm is seen decreasing its exposure to banks, and add stakes in technology groups.  The US accounted for the largest share of new investments by Temasek in its last financial year. It had increased its stakes in US pharmaceutical and health-care firms including Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which develop treatments for serious medical conditions.

North America made up 10 per cent of Temasek’s portfolio, by geography, this year as of March, up from 8 per cent two years earlier. While Asia, excluding Singapore, made up 40 per cent of its investments.

Temasek in the official release announcing the appointment commented,

John will add depth to Temasek’s bench strength, bringing with him considerable experience in global M&A transactions as well as a deep understanding of the North America market.

Vaske joins that group after a 28-year career at Goldman. He had joined Goldman in 1988 as an analyst with the mergers and acquisitions team in New York and subsequently worked in Tokyo and London. He relocated to New York as co-chairman of Goldman’s natural resources group in 2010, and took up his most recent post in 2015.

Based in Singapore, Temasek’s total shareholder return since its inception in 1974 was 15% compounded annually. Supported by 10 offices globally, its portfolio comprise telecom groups like SingTel, Singapore Airlines and banking giant China Construction Bank. It also owns stakes in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, U.S. pharmaceutical Gilead Sciences and high-speed trading firm Virtu Financial.


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