HONG KONG, Oct 6, 2023 - (ACN Newswire) - During the Directors' Symposium 2023 of The Hong Kong Institute of Directors ("HKIoD") recently held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, speakers from diverse industries expressed their vision and strategies to "Transform for a Better Tomorrow" to over 200 directors and corporate leaders in attendance.
Guest of Honour at the Symposium was the Financial Secretary, The Hon Chan Mo-po Paul GBM GBS MH JP. Speaking on the theme of the Symposium, he said: "Hong Kong's medium to long-term future will be vested in how well we will transform ourselves for the better. That requires us to look into and reinforce our own strengths, while proactively finding new points of growth to drive our economic momentum." In updating the participants on government initiatives and policy plan, he summarised by saying, "We envision Hong Kong to be an international green technology and green finance centre."
The Symposium featured in total nine speakers and six hosts in five talks and two panel discussions covering transformation in the digital era, an overview of the economic outlook, the global director perspectives, regulatory review and transformation for sustainability.
Speaking from the HKIoD perspective, Dr Christopher To, Chairman of HKIoD, noted, "In the midst of a waning COVID-19 pandemic, companies and boards of directors continue to face persistent challenges and long-term macro issues." He cited that in the latest World Competitiveness study by the Institute of Management Development, Hong Kong's global competitiveness has experienced a decline, with a slip to 7th place from its previous rank of 2nd. Similarly, digital competitiveness and talent ranking have both dwindled. On the other hand, Dr To noted that there are positive indications, such as Hong Kong's improved standing in the Smart City Index at 19th place and its remarkable 3rd rank in the Sustainable Trade Index.
"To navigate these challenges and capitalize on emerging prospects," Dr To opined, "hard work, agility, and adaptability are crucial. Notably, successful business transformations have yielded growth and financial turnarounds, as underscored in Innosight's study of the 'Top 20 Business Transformations of the Last Decade' featured in the Harvard Business Review. The board of directors assumes a pivotal role in steering the company toward a brighter tomorrow. Preparation and a willingness to embrace transformation are essential for businesses to not only survive but thrive amidst adversity and seize new opportunities."
In her speech, Dr Carlye Tsui, CEO of HKIoD commented: "For corporate transformation towards sustainability, the board itself needs to undergo a transformation first." She cited the 2022-2023 Global Network of Director Institutes ("GNDI") survey that sheds light on global directors' perspectives for future development. Findings from this survey highlight that boards focusing on the next two years have identified critical areas for corporate success, including long-term strategy, business continuity and resilience, human capital, ESG matters, and digital transformation. "Furthermore, there are three major improvement areas that warrant attention: board and management dynamics, board performance, and board operation," noted Dr Tsui.
"To ensure readiness for the next 3 to 5 years, the boards should bridge expertise gaps in areas such as cyber risk, digital innovation, global economics, geopolitical issues, and ESG. These are areas that should no longer be left to specialists and that should be addressed on the board agenda," remarked Dr Tsui. The GNDI study highlighted that it is crucial to emphasize the need for board norms to evolve, including the utilization of directors with specific skills and an enhanced board evaluation process. Additionally, effective strategic dialogue between the board and management, improved analysis and decision-making through data analytics, and the incorporation of forward-looking KPIs are paramount. "Looking ahead to 2030 and beyond, the survey inspires us on the top actions for boards to prepare," Dr Tsui supplemented. "These actions include expanding to encompass technology and sustainability, delivering on the interests of multiple stakeholders, adopting a purpose-driven and impact-oriented approach, promoting diversity, and dedicating equal time to both financial and non-financial goals."
During the Symposium, a poll was conducted among participants on questions relevant to the theme. Significant findings from the participants included:
-- 35% believe that Hong Kong's economy next year will remain the same as this year, while 28% believe that it will be 30% better next year.
-- 30% have started digital transformation and 25% are actively engaged in it.
-- 49% are in good progress and 9% have achieved good results of business transformation.
-- 35% boards are geared for the next 3-5 years and 33% are addressing priorities for the next 2 years.
-- Regarding the most lacking board quality, 29% are in diversity while 27% are in continuing professional education.
-- 78% feel able to raise challenges or ask questions when something is not right.
-- On the ESG journey for a sustainable future, 42% have good strategy in place, while 13% have good achievements.
The 2022-2023 Global Director Survey focuses on "The Future of Board Governance". The survey report is downloadable.
About The Hong Kong Institute of Directors
The Hong Kong Institute of Directors is Hong Kong's premier body representing directors to foster the long-term success of companies through advocacy and standards-setting in corporate governance and professional development for directors. A non-profit-distributing organisation with membership consisting of directors from listed and non-listed companies, HKIoD is committed to providing directors with educational programmes and information service and establishing an influential voice in representing directors. With international perspectives and a multi-cultural environment, HKIoD conducts business in biliteracy and trilingualism. http://www.hkiod.com
HKIoD is a member institute of the Global Network of Director Institutes ("GNDI"), which provides a global voice and sharpens leading practices for boardroom leaders on governance matters that cut across national boundaries. Established in 2012, GNDI now comprises 24 institutes representing more than 150,000 directors. http://www.gndi.org
HKIoD is Host of the Hong Kong Chapter of Climate Governance Initiative ("CGI"), a global network set up in 2019 to mobilise and equip directors in taking climate action to future proof their businesses. CGI works in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
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