GIC appoints new CIO for private equity

Yong Cheen Choo was previously global head of direct investments for private equity in GIC’s London office.

Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation (GIC) has appointed Yong Cheen Choo as its chief investment officer (CIO) for private equity, a newly created role at the firm, it said in a statement.

Choo will take up his post on 1 June 2016 and will oversee GIC’s private equity global investment portfolio. His appointment is among a raft of promotions in GIC’s senior investment team.

Based in London, Choo has been global head of direct investments for private equity since January 2016 having joined the private equity group in 2011. Up until 1 April, he led GIC’s direct and fund investments for private equity in Europe. Prior to that, he led direct investments and fund investments in Asia.

Among its recent transactions GIC has co-invested alongside US firm Silver Lake Management acquiring a minority stake in Utah-based genealogy company Ancestry.com, in a deal valuing the company at $2.6 billion.

GIC has also invested $185 million in a joint venture with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to acquire South Korea’s D-Cube Retail Mall, $85 million in cosmetics ingredients supplier Bloomage BioTechnology Corporation, and several other property projects across India and China.

At the end of last year, CVC Capital Partners joined GIC as an investor in UK roadside recovery group RAC. GIC is a cornerstone investor in CVC’s $5 billion Strategic Opportunities Fund alongside the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

The sovereign wealth fund has also announced six other senior leadership appointments that will take effect from 1 June.

Chow Kiat Lim, who currently serves as group chief investment officer (CIO) for GIC will be appointed group deputy president. He has been serving as group CIO since 2013 and was previously responsible for investments in Europe.

Jeffrey Jaensubhakij will be appointed deputy group CIO, while serving as president for public markets. He works with heads of fixed income and external managers to execute public markets investment strategies.

Eng Seng Ang was appointed as CIO for infrastructure while continuing as president for Europe and head of the Integrated Strategies Group; Kok Sun Lee becomes CIO for real estate; Tzu Mi Liew as CIO for fixed income; and Bryan Yeo as CIO for public equities.

Siong Guan Lim, group president of GIC said: “The new senior appointments enhance the development of a strong leadership bench for GIC, allowing us to build new investment capabilities and extend our investment and operating platforms. The appointment of chief investment officers reflect the maturing of GIC’s investment talent, and strengthening of GIC’s capacity to deal with an investment environment of lower returns, increased volatility, and greater uncertainty.”

GIC has more than $100 billion of assets under management and employs 1,200 people across 10 offices.