What is your role as a governance professional?
‘I serve as the Board Secretary and Company Secretary of Bank of China (Hong Kong) Holdings Ltd (BOCHK). In addition to BOCHK being the Bank of China Ltd (BOC) headquarters for its ASEAN operations, BOCHK is the second largest banking group, one of the three note-issuing banks and the exclusive RMB clearing bank in Hong Kong. I have three major roles – as a servant of the board responsible for the smooth operation of board and general meetings, as a compliance adviser providing corporate governance advice to directors and managers, and dealing with compliance formalities. I also serve as a bridge connecting the board, senior management, the parent company and subsidiary, and the listed company and its shareholders.’
What was your career path to your current role?
‘I started working for BOC as a management trainee in 1996. The first-year apprentice work in a small city in central China gave me a unique opportunity to learn about banking operations at the grassroot level. After three years in BOC’s overseas business management department in Beijing, I was selected to be a member of the IPO team for BOCHK’s listing in 2000 and then for BOC in 2004. After the successful IPO of BOC in 2006, I worked as the Listing Affairs Representative and Head of Investor Relations at the Board Secretariat Department of BOC for 10 years, and became Board Secretary and Company Secretary of BOCHK in 2016. I then became a member of HKICS by attending a part-time MCG programme outside of office hours.’
What value does governance bring to organisations and to wider society?
‘I believe good governance can enable an organisation to achieve its mission and strategic goals in an orderly and efficient way. As organisations are basic building blocks of society, the more successful organisations are, the better society we will become and the greater prosperity we can expect. Hence, governance professionals are indispensable to any successful organisation and to the wider society.’
What qualities do you think are needed to be a successful governance professional?
‘The basic qualities include having an adequate knowledge of corporate governance and the industry you are working in, as well as corporate work experience and good oral and written communication skills. Other important qualities include integrity, diligence, efficiency, excellent coordination skills and an innovative mentality.’
How do you think governance will evolve in the future?
‘The purpose of corporate governance has evolved from generating value for shareholders to addressing and balancing the interests of all stakeholders. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks provide the best coverage of the interests of almost all stakeholders. Digitalisation will enable organisations to improve their governance capabilities and efficiencies, consistent with their business development, by adopting state-of-the-art RegTech and FinTech. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the process of corporate governance digitalisation, as evidenced by the booming electronic board meeting and hybrid general meeting solutions.’
What inspires you in your life and work?
‘A clear and strong sense of responsibility to family, company and society inspires me to solve problems and achieve goals at work and home.’
How do you fill your time outside work?
‘I am a “work hard/play hard” type of person. I seldom rest at home during leisure time, but recharge myself through a broad range of hobbies such as hiking, skiing and self-driving tours with my family. When I am alone, I also enjoy books, movies and music.’