In yesterday’s TODAY, Conrad Raj asked “Is there more than meets the eye in DBS Bank’s disapproval of Josie Lau’s appointment as president of AWARE?”
He went on to write that the bank said that although it supported Lau’s involvement in AWARE as a council member in her own personal capacity, it was “not supportive” of her running for presidency.
“We believe that as a VP in DBS, she already has a challenging job with many responsibilities and the role of president would demand too much of her time and energy,” the bank explained.
If Lau’s involvement with AWARE is a concern, then what about the various external groups that members of the bank’s senior management are involved in?
Koh Boon Hwee already has a full time job as executive director of MediaRing. Yet he chairs DBS Holdings, since the late CEO Richard Stanley became ill with cancer, where he has been involved in the daily running of Singapore’s largest commercial bank.
Furthermore, Koh is a director of Sunningdale Tech, chairman of the Board of Trustees at NTU, a director at Temasek Holdings, and on the boards of Agilent Technologies and the Hewlett Foundation.
Koh is not the only one “multitasking” at the bank.
Consider the following:
Bart Broadman is not only managing director of Alphadyne Asset Management but is also a board member of the CPF Board, serving on its Investment Committee; as well as vice-chairman of the Board of Governors at the Singapore American School.
Board member Kwa Chong Seng is not only chairman and managing director of ExxonMobil Asia Pacific and the lead manager of the company’s subsidiaries in Singapore, but also deputy chairman of Temasek Holdings, a director of Sinopec SenMei (Fujian) Petroleum Company and a member of the Public Service and Legal Service commissions.
Wong Ngit Liong is not only a member of DBS’ Board and its Audit committee, the Nominating and Compensation committee and the Management Development committee – but also runs one of the biggest contract manufacturing plants in Singapore, the Venture Group of companies. He is also chairman of the NUS Board of Trustees and a member of the Research Innovation and Enterprise Council.
What’s more Kwa is 62 and Wong is 67, uncles fom the Jurassic age, hardly spring chickens compared to Lau.
Wait, there’s more.
Liang Eng Hwa, managing director of DBS’ Treasury and Markets Division, is even a Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC.
Christopher Cheng Wai Chee, independent director of DBS Holdings is a director of 152 companies.
All this aside, several of Singapore’s Ministers and top civil servants hold more than one portfolio. In fact, many permanent secretaries sit on various boards of statutory boards and private companies, besides running their respective ministries.
Ex-Member of Parliament Wang Kai Yuen sits as an independent director on the boards of 12 listed companies. In addition he chairs some of these boards, including that of China Aviation Oil and printing company Xpress Holdings.
And talking about private companies, it gets worse there.
Last time I checked QAF group managing director Tan Kong King is a director in 117 companies.
City Developments’ managing director Kwek Leng Joo holds a total of 114 directorships.
Provision Suppliers Corp’s Chan Yeuk Wai sits on 105 boards.
So, what’s really happening here?