Executive Summary: Taiwan-born Jensen Huang of Nvidia
Jensen Huang is President and CEO of Nvidia, the company he co-founded alongside Curtis Priem and Chris Malachowsky in 1993.
Having been born in Tainan City, Taiwan, Huang moved to the US as a child. Growing up in the country, he attended Oregon State University, from which he achieved a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, and Stanford, where he was awarded a Master’s in the same subject.
Holding 3.6% of Nvidia’s shares, Huang’s involvement in the firm has resulted in a net worth of $6bn, placing him in 168th position in the 2019 Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans.
In more recent times, the company has branched out from mainly focusing on gaming to areas such as automotive (where it partnered with Continental and others on an autonomous vehicle alliance) and, increasingly, artificial intelligence.
Huang has expressed his belief in the role of AI to power a new era of computing, writing in a blog post: “Today, we stand at the beginning of the next era, the AI computing era, ignited by a new computing model, GPU deep learning. This new model — where deep neural networks are trained to recognize patterns from massive amounts of data — has proven to be “unreasonably” effective at solving some of the most complex problems in computer science. In this era, software writes itself and machines learn. Soon, hundreds of billions of devices will be infused with intelligence. AI will revolutionize every industry.”
To the public, the company is perhaps best known for its graphics cards used in PC gaming, a market which it dominates alongside its compatriot AMD. That in itself is big business, with Nvidia stating that it draws on a market of 2.7 billion gamers worldwide (albeit most of them not gaming on PCs) and participates in an esports scene that is set to generate $1.1bn of revenue this year.
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.