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Leaders in corporate governance recognised
EXEMPLARS in corporate governance were honoured at the 12th Singapore Corporate Awards (SCA) on Tuesday at a black-tie event known as the "Oscars" of the local corporate scene.
The annual affair, held at Resorts World Convention Centre, celebrates listed companies and individuals who have excelled in local corporate disclosure standards and corporate governance amid a wave of disruption and uncertainty.
Big winners of the night were DBS Group, Singtel and CapitaLand group of companies.
The most prestigious gold prize for Best Managed Board of a listed company with at least S$1 billion in market cap went to DBS, which also picked up the gold award for Best Annual Report. The lender has won top awards in all categories since the inception of the SCA in 2005.
When asked what helped the group pull this off, its chairman Peter Seah credited the firm's leadership team and solid bench strength. "Over the last few years, with strategic clarity provided by the leadership, our 22,000 people have been able to pull behind common goals, delivering sound financial performance and transforming the organisation to become the World's Best Digital Bank last year. We've also strengthened our sustainability agenda and continued to be a force for good in the communities we operate in."
CapitaLand took home the Best Managed Board large-cap silver award, while SATS snagged the bronze.
Singtel's group chief executive officer (CEO) Chua Sock Koong emerged as Best CEO in the large-cap category, making her the first woman to do so. She is also the first to have bagged both the Best CEO and Best chief financial officer (CFO) awards, having picked up the Best CFO title in 2006.
Ms Chua said of the company's evolution into a global communications technology company in the past five years: "We've strengthened our competitiveness, and we're also more diversified and resilient. This is an award for the entire Singtel team for their commitment, passion and tenacity. While we still have much to do, this award is a great encouragement to us to push on in our journey."
For its board diversity policy, the telco won a Special Recognition Award, which is being handed out only for the second time.
Willie Cheng, chairman of Singapore Institute of Directors (SID) and co-chairman of SCA, stressed that board diversity helps prevent the onset of group-think and uncritical conformity, which can lead to governance lapses.
Said Simon Israel, Singtel's chairman: "We've learned from experience how valuable it is for our board to have diverse skills, backgrounds, experiences and gender, to better navigate the complex business and technological environment that we're operating in. Discussions are always richer, more robust. Decisions taken are always more balanced. While gender diversity is only one aspect of board diversity, I believe it is an important one. I would encourage all boards to see gender diversity as a business imperative, for the value that it brings to the board table."
Top honours for Best CEO in the mid- and small-cap categories went to Mark Wakeford of Indofood Agri Resources and Khoo Boo Hor of Sunningdale Tech, respectively.
Mr Khoo credited his employees for his win, adding that "this award is theirs as much as it is mine".
In the Best CFO category, OCBC Bank's Darren Tan bagged the large-cap prize, Mewah International Inc's Rajesh Chopra took the mid-cap one and Centurion Corporation's Foo Ai Huey won the small-cap award.
For the Best Investor Relations awards, gold winners were City Developments, Del Monte Pacific and Micro-Mechanics (Holdings). CapitaLand Commercial Trust snagged the gold among the Reits and business trusts category.
For Best Annual Report award, Tuan Sing Holdings and Megachem Limited won the gold for mid- and small-cap respectively. Among Reits and business trusts, Frasers Commercial Trust was awarded the gold.
In all, 30 companies and six individuals won accolades for leading the way in effective governance and shareholder communications; the CapitaLand group led the list of winners this year by sweeping four awards. DBS, the Frasers group, Keppel group and Sembcorp Industries each secured two.
Other multiple award winners included Banyan Tree Holdings, Centurion, Del Monte, Micro-Mechanics and Tuan Sing.
The awards were co-organised by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, SID and The Business Times, supported by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the Singapore Exchange. The event was sponsored by Bank Julius Baer with award partners Deloitte, EY, Heidrick & Struggles, KPMG and PwC, as well as supporting partner Citigate Dewe Rogerson, i.MAGE.
The guest of honour was Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance.
Amendment note: The Special Recognition Award is the second one that has been handed out and the article now reflects this.