MAS sets good example by refreshing board

Mr Wong (top) is stepping down after about five years on MAS' board. Mr Ong has been appointed as a new board member.
Mr Wong (above) is stepping down after about five years on MAS' board. Mr Ong has been appointed as a new board member.
Mr Wong (top) is stepping down after about five years on MAS' board. Mr Ong has been appointed as a new board member.
Mr Wong is stepping down after about five years on MAS' board. Mr Ong has been appointed as a new board member.

It is good to see a major institution like the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) leading by example in refreshing itself, vis-a-vis the board of directors, to stay nimble and forward-looking ("Changes to MAS board of directors: Lawrence Wong steps down, Ong Ye Kung appointed"; ST Online, Monday).

The Code of Corporate Governance suggests that, for reasons of independence, directors should not serve beyond nine years.

Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development, served a little more than five years before stepping down, with Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Senior Minister of State for Defence, appointed as a new board member.

Boards should also have a balanced mix of skills, knowledge and experience, and board members should not have so many external appointments as to be unable to objectively and satisfactorily discharge their duties.

Mr Wong's recent appointment as Second Minister for Finance, and Mr Ong's experience in the labour movement and Keppel Corporation make this refreshing of the MAS board all the more relevant and timely.

I hope this will serve as a reminder to Singapore companies of the importance of reviewing their board composition so as to stay ahead during these turbulent economic times.

Woon Wee Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2016, with the headline 'MAS sets good example by refreshing board'. Print Edition | Subscribe