HÀ NÔI – With the Vietnamese economy still growing, firms’ boards of directors should develop to take advantage of opportunities, a top businessman has said.
Dominic Scriven OBE, chairman of Dragon Capital Group and vice chairman of Việt Nam Institute of Directors (VIOD), said the portents in the world economy were poor due to potential trade wars, slow growth and large public debt at the VIOD Annual Forum 2019 in Hà Nội yesterday.
With the institute considering board leadership crucial during times of transition and rapid development, VIOD’s forum was a chance for board members to network to address various board leadership issues facing Vietnamese firms.
Scriven, who was awarded the Order of Labour, said he appreciated the strong growth in Việt Nam, with inflation under control and foreign investment increasing.
He told Việt Nam News “Amid current uncertainty of the world economy, Việt Nam still remains an ‘oasis’ with the national economy growing over the last 10 years.”
“The Vietnamese đồng is one of the most stable currencies,” he added.
In the long term, he said: “Việt Nam will witness strong growth of the middle class and the growing role of the private sector.”
Dominic said salaries at the top 50 listed companies in the past eight years had almost doubled.
He thought in such context, the role of boards of directors was “very important” as they were able to take advantage of Việt Nam’s opportunities.
Also at the forum, Elisa Mallis, Managing Director and Vice President, Asia Pacific, Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), said though men dominated Asian boards, the situation had improved in Việt Nam.
A CCL survey showed that the percentage of women on board in Việt Nam was 25 per cent, the highest percentage in Southeast Asia, followed by Malaysia with 19 per cent while Indonesia had the least with 8 per cent.
Chris Lawley, Vice President, Diligent Corporation, APAC said a challenge for boards was limited innovation in governance. He told the forum that though digital technology had impacted board governance, it was surprising to see that few firms paid enough attention to the matter.
“Cybersecurity is an enterprise-wide responsibility with engagement required from the topmost levels,” he said.
He took an example if one email address in a firm was attacked by hackers, there could be at least another 40 targets selected for further attacks. If those at the top were attacked, it could involve the whole firm.
Tiêu Yến Trinh, CEO, Talentnet Corporation told Việt Nam News that boards sat at the centre of the corporate governance system and play critical roles in the direction and oversight of the company
“Their benefit should be developed on an overall basis and should be used to motivate directors in their services,” she said.
Trinh suggested the board’s remuneration should be determined by the Board of Directors and disclosed completely to all shareholders. VNS