Five things you didn’t know about Baidu CFO Jennifer Li
Jennifer Li, chief financial officer (CFO) for Chinese tech company and search engine giant Baidu, recently told Bloomberg that the country will play a major role in the development of Artificial Intelligence and, particularly, driverless cars.
But how much do we know about the financial controller of one of China’s most important companies? Business Review Asia has it all!
1. Exciting career
Jennifer Li’ began her career working for General Motors in a range of financial positions – it was a career that took her from China to Canada, the USA, and Singapore before joining Baidu in 2008 as its CFO
After earning her Bachelor’s Degree at China’s Tsinghua University, Li travelled to the United States to study for her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of British Columbia – a globally-ranked institution with one of the largest libraries in Canada
3. Globally recognised
Li has featured in lists recognising her as one of the world’s most powerful women by both Forbes and Fortune magazines
4. Family balance
In an interview, she stated that her busy schedule didn’t allow her to see her children during the week very much but she did dedicate her entire weekend to them
5. Growing market share
When Li started her tenure as Baidu CFO in 2008, the search engine had around 65 percent of China’s market – a number that now stands at roughly 80 percent
Image - flickr
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.