* 2nd high profile foreigner departure after BHP’s Goodyear
* Michael Dee to remain temporary adviser
* Temasek has seen reshuffling in its management ranks (Updates with details)
By Saeed Azhar
SINGAPORE, March 16 (Reuters) - Singapore state investor Temasek’s senior managing director Michael Dee will step down from his current role on April 30, the second high-profile foreigner to leave the sovereign wealth fund in less than a year.
Temasek said on Tuesday that Dee, who was part of a drive to internationalise the fund, will remain in an advisory role as senior director until the year-end, but declined to give reasons for his departure. “It seems like the company is focusing its efforts on locally grown talent,” said Melvyn Teo, associate professor at Singapore Management University.
“The investment strategy in the recent past has been to focus more on this region, so it would be in sync with this strategy.”
Temasek has said it plans to cut exposure to developed markets and sees potential in Asia, Latin America and Africa, as sovereign funds around the world cautiously emerge from the financial crisis. [ID:nL236030]
Dee’s departure comes after last year’s failed experiment to bring in former BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) head Chip Goodyear as Temasek chief executive.
Goodyear, who would have replaced Ho Ching, wife of Singapore’s prime minister, decided to leave after strategic differences with Temasek [ID:nSIN157599]. Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said last year that Temasek’s next chief would “ideally” be a Singaporean.
Temasek’s sole shareholder is the Ministry of Finance, but its website describes it as an Asia investment house headquartered in Singapore, with multinational staff.
Dee’s departure will leave Temasek’s senior management team as mostly Singaporean.
Temasek has seen a number of changes in its management ranks in the last few months. It moved Charles Ong, another senior MD and chief strategist, to start a new investment company that could eventually draw funds from Singaporeans. [ID:nSGE61902N]
It brought former Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGXL.SI) CEO Hsieh Fu Hua on to its board as a special adviser to Ho, while another Singaporean, Michael Lien, the head of a Singapore-based family office, joined as non-executive director.
Dee had Southeast Asian investment banking experience as CEO for the region at Morgan Stanley (MS.N), where he worked for more than two decades.
Dee, an engaging and interactive speaker, often stood up to explain his point of view, according to people who have seen him working, in contrast to the more conservative style of many executives at Singapore’s state companies.
One Temasek insider told Reuters that Dee was “outspoken”.
“Michael Dee’s decision to relinquish the role of senior managing director is part of executive movements,” Temasek spokeswoman Myrna Thomas said in a statement.
Dee was not available to comment.
According to a Wharton alumni magazine, Dee was a “top amateur pairs skater” and in 1989 took a plane to Germany to witness the fall of the Berlin Wall and use a sledgehammer to do his bit in dismantling of the Cold War landmark. (Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Ian Geoghegan)