Board of directors needs diversity, renewal

I thank Mr Tay Kok Cheng for his feedback ("Older staff valued at SingPost"; yesterday).

I am delighted to learn that Singapore Post is doing something right. SingPost should continue to value its older staff.

Employees, including senior executives, who are good performers and have integrity should be retained and recognised.

My comments about the corporate governance of SingPost have nothing to do with age per se ("Don flags worries about SingPost"; Wednesday).

My primary concern about some of the older directors on SingPost's board has to do with their long tenure - particularly in their capacity as independent directors.

In fact, I am in favour of the amendment in the Companies Act that will remove the need for directors who reach the age of 70 to be re-elected annually - as opposed to once every three years as is usually the case - because I agree that this is discriminatory.

However, I am strongly of the view that a board of directors needs a diversity of skills, competencies, experience, gender and other attributes. It also needs a proper succession process and renewal.

Institutional knowledge can be preserved and passed on if there is a proper process of bringing in new directors periodically and rotating longer-serving directors off.

Well-governed companies have such a process in place.

I wish Mr Tay many more years of service at SingPost and as a customer of SingPost, I thank the company for making sure that I get my mail.

Mak Yuen Teen (Associate Professor)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2015, with the headline 'Board of directors needs diversity, renewal'. Print Edition | Subscribe