Mrs Lim Hwee Hua

Rector Tembusu College National University of Singapore

Our current Rector of Tembusu College, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, has extensive experiences in both the public and private sectors. Mrs Lim was first elected to the Singapore Parliament in December 1996 and served till May 2011, last as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore, and concurrently as Second Minister for Finance and for Transport. She held the distinction of being the first female full Minister to be appointed. Between 2002 and 2004, she was Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

Mrs Lim completed her junior college education at Raffles Institution, Singapore, before graduating with a Master/Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Mathematics/Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 1981. In 1989, she obtained a Master of Business Administration, major in Finance, from the Anderson School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles.

Prior to joining the Singapore Cabinet, Mrs Lim enjoyed a varied career. She served as an Administrative Officer in the Ministries of Finance, Education and Law, reviewing public policies. In 1989, she joined the financial services sector - investment banking and management – at Swiss Bank Corporation (1989-1992) and Jardine Fleming (1992-2000). At Temasek Holdings (2000–2004), she served as Managing Director where she oversaw divestments, restructured companies and boards, initiated corporate stewardship moves and established strategic relations with key foreign counterparts (including China and Vietnam). She also sat on boards (including PSA, Keppel and Mapletree).

Post retirement from politics in 2011, Mrs Lim has been engaged in private equity (Tembusu Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts), financial services (Asia Pacific Exchange, Pepper Global, and United Overseas Bank till April 2021), and sits on several multinational boards (Jardine Cycle & Carriage in Singapore, ReSustainability in India and Nippon Paint in Japan). She currently chairs the charity SIM People Development Fund and had previously helped establish the ISCA Cares Fund, a charity targeted at accountancy students. Mrs Lim has lectured at both the NUS Business School and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Between 2011 and 2014, she served on the Ernst & Young Global Advisory Council.

Mrs Lim has authored two publications - Government in Business – Friend or Foe” (Straits Times Press, 2014), which was translated into Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish, and “Government in Business – Leading or Lagging?” (World Scientific Publishing, 2021).

The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.