Business

Malaysian corporate boards lack diversity, overseas exposure

TheMole
Written by TheMole

KUALA LUMPUR — Jan. 10, 2020: A study by RHL Ventures Sdn. Bhd. has found Malaysia’s top 100 company boards to have significant gender and age gaps while board members lack overseas career exposure.

The survey involving 873 directorships of the largest companies based on market capitalisation on Bursa Malaysia found directors to be predominantly male, at 73 per cent.

Another finding is that only five per cent are aged below 40 years while the rest and in their 50s and 60s.

According to RHL Ventures, the survey called “Detailed Analysis on Malaysia’s Top 100 Companies Board Composition” also found that most directors are experienced working in government-linked companies and institutions.

Also, 74 per cent are currently serving on at least two boards and 88 per cent have served for at least two terms.

While most directors have experienced working in Malaysia’s top corporates, about 58 per cent do not have overseas exposure in their career progression and around 42 per cent have this as either an employee, a director or both.

In terms of studies, many went to the University of Cambridge, University of London and Harvard University but the 73 under the latter enrolled mainly in management programmes. A total of 145 of the directors graduated from the University of Malaya.

About 82 per cent of the directors are Malays and Chinese while the foreigners come from Singapore, Japan and Australia.

RHL Ventures managing partner Raja Hamzah Abidin commented that Malaysian boards remain highly conservative, with many preferring industry captains who have spent much of their careers in the biggest corporates, which explains the low diversification.

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