SINGAPORE: Stephen Forshaw is exiting his role at Microsoft to assume one of Asia’s most high-profile PR positions at Singapore state-owned investment company, Temasek Holdings.

Forshaw leaves Microsoft after two years as Asia-Pacific corporate communications director. At Temasek, he succeeds former MD of corporate affairs Myrna Thomas, who spent almost five years with the powerful investment house before leaving at the end of 2010.

Forshaw, who joined Microsoft after previously heading public affairs at Singapore Airlines (SIA), told the Holmes Report that the Temasek opportunity represented an “exciting step” for the Australian.

“I have gained huge knowledge and experience in my two years at Microsoft, and am grateful for the opportunity to lead media launch activities in Asia for great products like Windows 7, Office 2010 and Windows Phone 7.”

During his time at Microsoft, Forshaw reorganized the company’s regional PR activities, consolidating the business with Weber Shandwick. At Temasek, Weber Shandwick will again be one of his retained agencies, alongside Pelham Bell Pottinger.

Microsoft commercial PR and analyst relations lead Josie Taylor will take on interim leadership of corporate comms until a replacement is finalised.“I can confirm Stephen Forshaw is leaving Microsoft to take up a new opportunity in Singapore,” said Microsoft  worldwide PR GM Oliver Roll. “ I am very sorry that he is leaving us, but understand and respect his choice.”

At Temasek, Forshaw takes charge of a team that includes corporate affairs director Yong Meng Tan. The investment company manages a portfolio of around $142 billion, focused primarily on Asia -  including stakes in Standard Chartered, Bank of China, SingTel, DBS Bank and SIA.

Thomas’ tenure was marked by efforts to improve Temasek’s international reputation. In Thailand, for example, the company’s 2006 acquisition of a significant shareholding in Shin Corp from the family of Thaksin Shinawatra was one of the factors that precipitated the ouster of the former Thai PM.

Prior to joining SIA in 2004, Forshaw held senior policy and communications roles in the Government of the Australian Capital Territory, in Canberra.