Board Monitor Asia Pacific 2018
Boards & Governance

Board Monitor Asia Pacific 2018

For the first time, Heidrick & Struggles expands our annual analysis of incoming board directors to the Asia Pacific region, tracking industry experience and diversity in gender and nationality, among other findings, in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore.
Heidrick & Struggles
Board Monitor Asia Pacific 2018

Leading companies in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore filled 263 vacant board seats with non-executive directors in 2017.

These newly appointed directors will be joining their boards at a time of considerable change globally and in the region. At the same time, boards will face the perennial issues of good corporate governance, regulatory compliance, digital disruption, cybersecurity, CEO succession planning, and corporate social responsibility. And they must continually ensure that their boards are composed of members who together constitute the right mix of competencies to address near-term concerns without losing sight of long-term strategy.1

To track the evolution of these boards, Heidrick & Struggles has here inaugurated Board Monitor Asia Pacific. This projected series of annual reports is designed to provide profiles of incoming non-executive directors among the leading companies in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore; monitor changes in those profiles in the coming years; and analyze trends as they emerge.

Why these four? They are all vital economic hubs, and the boards of their leading companies are structured like the models that emphasize shareholder interests and the importance of non-executive directors, providing a standard of comparison with the good governance principles around which leading global companies are converging.

Our analysis surfaced the following key findings:

  • Of the 263 new non-executive directors on the boards of ASX 200, Hang Seng Index (HSI), NZX 50, and Straits Times Index (STI) companies, 149, or 56%, went to current or former CEOs.
  • Of those 263 seats, 83, or 31%, went to women.
  • The average age of new appointees was 56, down from 57 in 2016.
  • Some 206, or 78%, of new appointees have previous board experience.
  • Almost half of all new appointees have had international experience.
  • Some 85, or 32%, of the 263 new seats went to non-national appointees.
  • Australia, at 39%, had the highest percentage of appointments that went to women, followed by New Zealand, at 27%; Singapore, at 24%; and Hong Kong, at 20%.
  • The largest share of new appointees in Singapore (66%), New Zealand (49%), and Australia (44%) joined boards in the industrial sector. In Hong Kong, the largest share (54%) joined boards in the financial services sector.


1 To see where these four geographies (and China and India) stood on critical issues of corporate governance five years ago, see Heidrick & Struggles, Foundations and Building Blocks for High-Performing Boards: Asia Pacific Corporate Governance Report 2014, June 16, 2014,

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