All directors should speak at AGMs

I attended the Singapore Airlines annual general meeting last month. Among the resolutions were the re-election of retiring board directors and the approval of directors' emoluments for the financial year ending March 31 next year.

The chairman, Mr Stephen Lee, is clearly an old hand, replying to questions from the floor with tact, common sense and industry insights. Chief executive Goh Choon Phong is another familiar face.

However, all the other directors present hardly made an impression. While the career histories and current endeavours of the other directors are available in the public domain, what matters to shareholders is their credentials in the airline industry and their ability to add value to the airline business.

Shareholders must at least have the opportunity to hear personally from each director, whether or not their votes affect the outcome of the two resolutions. Such a practice should be mandatory or officially encouraged for greater transparency and accountability, especially if the listed company has a major shareholder with passing and veto powers.

Ho Chee Khuen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 09, 2015, with the headline 'All directors should speak at AGMs'. Print Edition | Subscribe