Lim Hwee Hua
Singapore

In 2009, Lim Hwee Hua became the first woman to be appointed a full Cabinet Minister in the Government of Singapore. Her political career began in 1997 when, as a candidate of the ruling People’s Action Party, she was elected as a Member of Parliament.

In 2002 she was appointed Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the first woman to hold the position. In 2004 she was made Minister of State for Finance and Transport, and in 2008 she was promoted to Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport. The following year Hwee Hua was appointed to Cabinet as a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Second Minister for both Finance and Transport.

At the Finance Ministry, Hwee Hua spearheaded the reform of the accountancy sector, reviewed Government’s investments in business, and helped implement financing options for small and medium enterprises. Meanwhile, at the Transport Ministry, she corporatised Changi Airport, helped establish a master-plan for aviation and was instrumental in expanding the International Maritime Centre.

Her ministerial responsibilities reflected her educational background. Hwee Hua went to Cambridge University on a scholarship, graduating with an honours degree in mathematics and engineering in 1981. She then joined the Administrative Service and held various positions in the Finance, Education and Law ministries.

In 1989 she obtained a Master of Business Administration from the University of California and joined Swiss Bank Corporation as an investment analyst. In 1992 she moved to Jardine Fleming as Head of Research and Director of Business Development and in 2000 she joined Temasek Holdings where she was Managing Director of Strategic Relations. She left Temasek in 2004 when she became a minister of state.

Hwee Hua retired from politics in 2011. She returned to the corporate sector, taking on appointments such as that co-chairman at local private equity firm Tembusu Partners, Senior Advisor to the global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, chairman of AsiaPacific Exchange and director of BW Group and Summit Power. She also served as independent non-executive member of Ernst & Young’s Global Advisory Council (2011-2014), member of Asia Advisory Board of Westpac Institutional Bank (Australia) (2013-2018) and honorary chairman of the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) (2013-2017).