COVID-19 adds urgency to Asia’s push for boardroom diversity

COVID-19 adds urgency to Asia’s push for boardroom diversity

Companies in the Asia-Pacific region are being urged to diversify their boardrooms, in part to better meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Asia is lagging in boardroom diversity even as COVID-19 highlights the need for a mix of skills and backgrounds to deal with crises, according to a recent report on the region’s listed companies.

In a survey of six major Asia-Pacific economies, the CFA Institute, a U.S.-headquartered association of investment professionals, looked at factors such as the ratio of independent directors, average length of tenure and gender diversity on corporate boards.

In several of these areas, the region is lagging the average of developed markets at a time when boards are increasingly expected to tackle new challenges, including cybersecurity, climate change and sustainability.

“There’s a much stronger recognition that if you manage your ESG (environmental, social and governance) risks properly, then you will have a better chance of survival, especially when you’re dealing with a pandemic,” said Mary Leung, head of advocacy for Asia-Pacific at the CFA Institute.

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