Channel NewsAsia

Committee to build up pool of female board directors named

The Diversity Action Committee will be headed by Singapore Exchange CEO Magnus Bocker, and Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob will be its adviser.

SINGAPORE: A Diversity Action Committee (DAC) announced on Friday (Aug 29), will be tasked to build up the representation of woman directors on boards of companies. 

A news release by Singapore Exchange (SGX) stated that its CEO Magnus Bocker will chair the DAC, with Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob as its adviser.

Eight of the the DAC's 15 members are women. The committee has both business leaders and representatives from the public sector:

  • Mr Simon Israel, Chairman, SingTel
  • Ms Cheng Woei Fen, Executive Chairman, Mun Siong Engineering
  • Mr Philip Ng, CEO, Far East Organisation
  • Mr Ciliandra Fangiono, CEO, First Resources
  • Mr Tang Kin Fei, Group President and CEO, Sembcorp Industries
  • Ms Claire Chiang, Senior Vice President, Banyan Tree Holdings
  • Mrs Lee Suet Fern, Senior Director, Stamford Law Corporation
  • Ms Yeo Lian Sim, Special Adviser, SGX
  • Ms Lim Soo Hoon, Permanent Secretary for Finance and Performance, Ministry of Finance
  • Ms Ong Toon Hui, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Social and Family Development
  • Ms Teo Swee Lian, Special Advisor, Monetary Authority of Singapore
  • Ms Junie Foo, Co-Chair, BoardAgender
  • Mr Teo Siong Seng, Chairman, Singapore Business Federation
  • Mr Willie Cheng, Chairman, Singapore Institute of Directors

"Increased diversity on boards heightens the robustness of decision-making and broadens the catchment of risk awareness and response, resulting in superior corporate governance," the SGX stated. It added that "for the economy as a whole, under-utilising women at the apex of corporate decision making could hinder competitiveness".

The DAC will work with organisations that are already in the business of supporting or intermediating the preparation and appointment of board directors. It will work on 10 recommendations proposed by the Diversity Task Force such as disclosure about the nomination process and matching of suitable directorial candidates to companies.

The Diversity Task Force was officially formed in 2012 to examine the state of gender diversity on boards in Singapore, as well as its impact on corporate performance and governance.

Mdm Halimah, who initiated the Diversity Task Force and is Singapore's first female Speaker, said: "This is another important phase of the work in getting more women on boards. There is still a lot to do and I am very heartened by the composition of the DAC. With the leadership of Magnus and the support of leaders from the various fields, I’m confident the committee will achieve its objectives.”