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News and Highlights

The authors suggest that boards may lack diversity not because there are no efforts made towards achieving it, but more so due to how boards identify what they want in new directors and how they evaluate potential board candidates. They offer four steps to address these concerns, including expanding the skills matrix and reviewing the evaluation criteria to avoid bias. Read more here.

Cognitive diversity allows for different perspectives to be heard, facilitating more robust deliberations. Boards are encouraged to look beyond traditional talent pools to attain a wider range of diversities. Harnessing the benefits of a diverse boards then requires board chairs to ensure healthy engagement among directors and allowing space for contrarian views.

Malaysia’s Top 100 listed companies achieved 24.8% WOB as at Aug 2020, up from 23.7% in 2018. More firms have adopted 2-tier voting for retention of long-serving independent directors (IDs), but a large number of IDs with 20 to 40-year tenures remain. Although intended to give minority shareholders more say, participation of non-large shareholders in Tier 2 voting “remains low”.

Legal & General to take action against all-white boards

Legal & General, one of UK’s biggest investment firms, will vote against the re-election of the nomination committee chairman of companies that still have an all-white board by 1 January 2022. The investor expects FTSE 100 and US S&P 500 index companies to have at least one black, Asian, or other minority ethnic (BAME) director on their boards by 2022.

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14 – 17 Dec 2020
Course (in Singapore)International Directors Programme
From 6 Jan 2021
14 – 17 Mar 2021
Course (in US)Preparing to Be a Corporate Director
by Harvard Business School
From 16 Mar 2021
Course (online)Non-Executive Director Diploma Asia
by The Financial Times
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Interviews and Speeches

Lim Hwee Hua, Board Director of United Overseas Bank, Jardine Cycle & Carriage, and Trustee of the International Valuation Standards Council

Lim Hwee Hua

Board Director of United Overseas Bank, Jardine Cycle & Carriage, and Trustee of the International Valuation Standards Council

Board Directors may consider applying ‘P-H-D’ (People, Hard decisions, Dynamism / Digitalisation / Diversity) in board deliberations in light of unprecedented disruption due to Covid-19.

Read more about the Digital Fireside Chat with Mrs Lim here.

Sherman Kwek, CDL CEO

Sherman Kwek

CEO, City Developments Limited

“The ‘4Cs’ common to successful board directors are: Courageous, Curious, Comprehensive, and Calm”

Read more about what Mr Kwek shared at his Fireside Chat with CBD here.

Mildred Tan

Co-Chair, Council for Board Diversity

“Board Chairs and Chairmen of Nominating Committees should be more open towards looking for a wider pool of people and make a meaningful effort towards looking for a more diverse board.”

Watch Co-Chair Mrs Mildred Tan’s Interview with Singapore Tonight here.

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President Halimah Yacob

“Organisations that turn thought into action sooner rather than later, by casting the net wide to look for the best and most diverse talents and experience to serve on their boards, will position their organisations well.”

Read President’s Speech announcing the formation of the Council for Board Diversity here.

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Tips for Aspiring Board Directors
Compiled by the Council for Board Diversity


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(L-R) Front: Loh Boon Chye, Minister Desmond Lee, President Halimah Yacob, A/P Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Mildred Tan
Middle: Rachel Eng, Goh Swee Chen, Simon Israel, SS Teo, Kay Kuok, Janet Ang, Suhaimi Zainul-Abidin
Top : Ong Chong Tee, Ong Toon Hui, Chan Wai Ching, Tham Sai Choy, Dr June Goh, Dr Lee Tung Jean, Junie Foo
(Not in photo: Edmund Cheng, Piyush Gupta, Sherman Kwek, Mary Liew)