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News and Highlights

Investors are taking action against Japan’s all-male boards

Legal and General plans to vote against all Topix 100 companies without female representation. Proxy adviser Glass Lewis will also recommend rejecting the chair of a board that does not have an incumbent or proposed female director for companies listed on the first and second sections of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In 2019, 57% of Japanese companies had no women on the board.

Some of the qualities that characterize diverse and inclusive companies — notably innovation and resilience — will be much in need as companies recover from Covid-19. Companies that invest in diversity and inclusion during the crisis would be in a better position to create more adaptive, effective teams and more likely to recognize diversity as a competitive advantage.

RBC Global Asset Management stated its intentions to continue to vote against directors sitting on the nominating or corporate governance committees of boards that have less than 25% female directors. Melanie Adams, VP and head of corporate governance and responsible investment at RBC GAM, shared that “good corporate governance is important [whether] in a crisis or not”.

Sharing his own experience on the importance of board diversity during a period of crisis, ANZ Chair David Gonski suggested that the appointment of Jane Halton, a former boss of the federal health department, was vindicated as she helped the bank develop an edge in responding to Covid-19, despite her not having financial services industry experience.

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From 27 Aug 2020
From 15 Sep 2020
Course (in Hong Kong)Financial Times Non-Executive Director Diploma Asia
by The Financial Times
2 – 6 Nov2020
Course (in Singapore)International Company Directors Course
From 8 Dec 2020
Course (in France)International Directors Programme
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Interviews and Speeches

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.

Chua Sock Koong, Singtel Group CEO

Chua Sock Koong

Group CEO, Singtel

“I’m often asked how I’ve managed to make it this far as a woman. I’m sure if I were a man, I wouldn’t be asked this question to begin with.”

Read Ms Chua’s speech at FutureBoards Cross-Border Dialogue 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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Peter T. Grauer

Chairman, Bloomberg LP

“Lack of (board) diversity can no longer be gotten away with by citing a lack of ‘supply’. We must recognize that it is clearly a matter of demand – and that precedent-setting demand must come from the very top of companies.”

Read Mr Grauer’s Keynote at DAC’s event 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)