In our blog post here, we discussed the amendments to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited’s (SEHK) Corporate Governance Code and Listing Rules, which prohibit single-gender boards among listed companies and IPO applicants in Hong Kong, effective from January 1, 2022. Existing issuers with single-gender boards will have a three-year transition period to appoint a director of a different gender by December 31, 2024.
In a recent article published by AsianInvestor here discussing board diversity in Hong Kong, our partner Susanne Harris is quoted for her comments on the development of ending all-male boards in Hong Kong. Susanne said that, “having a single woman on a board doesn’t sound like much but when you look at it in terms of 800 new board positions for women it feels more substantial”. Susanne added that the move is already mobilising stakeholders, but achieving diversity and inclusion in all Hong Kong boardrooms will take time.
Bonnie Chan, head of listing of the SEHK, once said, “the addition of women to the boardroom is not a silver bullet, but it can be the beginning of deep rooted and much needed cultural change within an organisation”. Hong Kong companies are now encouraged to embrace change and ensure that the diversity of their board reflects their long-term business goals, and meet the expectation and needs of the communities and different stakeholders.