(Adds spokeswoman’s comment, background)
By Saeed Azhar
SINGAPORE, April 15 (Reuters) - Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings said Chief Executive Ho Ching is taking a three-month sabbatical but the move is not linked to any plans to retire from the post that she has held since 2004.
Temasek did not give a reason for Ho’s leave, which comes after the death in late March of her father-in-law, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister.
Ho is the wife of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and was present at all major events alongside her husband during the one-week mourning period and funeral of the elder Lee, which was attended by international leaders.
“This is not related to any retirement plans,” a Temasek spokeswoman said.
Lee Theng Kiat, president of Temasek, will temporarily take over Ho’s duties, the company said in a statement on its website on Wednesday. Ho, who joined Temasek as a director in 2002, will continue with her board duties.
Temasek is a major global investor with stakes in Standard Chartered, Chinese banks and Singapore’s biggest companies. It managed about S$223 billion ($163.60 billion) in assets as of March 31, 2014.
Ho had announced plans to leave in 2009, but her successor, former BHP Billiton CEO Charles “Chip” Goodyear, quit Temasek just months after being tapped, citing “strategic differences”.
Ho, 62, has continued her current role since then despite speculation from time to time about the timing of her departure.
Lee Theng Kiat joined Temasek in April 2012 and previously was president and CEO of Temasek-owned unit ST Telemedia. ($1 = 1.3631 Singapore dollars) (Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)