ISCA CEO, Mr Lee Fook Chiew, was quoted in The Business Times on the question of "Is diversity of directors or their independence the bigger issue in corporate boardrooms?" This is what he has to share:
Companies should regard both board diversity and independence as equally important, given their impact on corporate governance and performance. The two attributes are not mutually exclusive and one need not come at the expense of another.
Board independence can be an aspect of board diversity. A more diverse board is more likely to have greater independence, as it minimises the likelihood of the board acting in a particular group's interests. Having truly independent directors who will not be influenced by controlling shareholders not only ensures representation of balanced and objective views in the boardroom, it also signals to external stakeholders such as regulators and investors that the company is managed in an unbiased and effective manner, which instils business confidence. Having board members with diverse expertise and experience, among other diversity factors such as gender, age and geography, can lead to more robust decision-making, as blind spots are minimised. Each company will need to determine the diversity profile that best drives its business performance.
- Lee Fook Chiew, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA)