Goodyear in shock exit from Singapore's Temasek

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Charles "Chip" Goodyear, the CEO-designate at Temasek Holdings TEM.UL, pulled out barely six months after accepting the post at Singapore's best-known wealth fund.

Temasek said on Tuesday Goodyear had decided not to become the chief executive of the state investment firm due to differences over strategy, adding that Ho Ching, the wife of Singapore’s prime minister and current CEO, would continue as executive director and chief executive.

Goodyear was widely expected to trim Temasek’s financial holdings and move aggressively into commodities and energy and into emerging market infrastructure and consumer retail sectors, analysts and investment bankers said.

They cited his appointment as a clear move that Temasek was angling for more resources deals.

Goodyear was ready to take over from Ho on Oct 1 and take a pro-active on the board. He will now step down on Aug 15.

The former chief of BHP Billiton BHP.AX hails from the halls of Ivy League universities and Wall Street, but is best known for his reign at the Australian mining giant.

He descends from a U.S. lumber baron and was schooled at Yale and Wharton School of Finance.

Goodyear joined then debt-ridden BHP in 1999 as chief financial officer, and was instrumental in growing the company into the world’s top miner, via a merger with South Africa’s Billiton, with a market value bigger than the GDP of some countries it operated in.

He was one-half of an American duo, with Duke Energy’s Paul Anderson, imported to staunch the bleeding at “The Big Australian” and rebuild after a series of investment blunders.

After the two men joined BHP, it closed mines, cut 2,000 jobs and swallowed a A$2.3 billion loss (worth $1.5 billion at the time) before the Billiton merger. Anderson left, but Goodyear stayed on and was later named CEO.

Though schooled in the 1980s through Wall Street brokerage Kidder Peabody, Goodyear managed to endear himself as much to BHP’s legion of mom and pop investors then as he did to the big institutions that took stakes in BHP over his tenure.

He was reputed for calling just about everyone by their first name and in turn was always Chip, never Charles, or Mr. Goodyear.

Goodyear has been described as an impeccably groomed American investment banker who is urbane and rarely flustered.

Editing by Lincoln Feast, Singapore newsroom +65 6870 3837