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In a webinar co-organised by ACCA Malaysia and the Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia (ICDM), Philip Forrest, Member of the Governing Council of the Singapore Institute of Directors, offers an essential overview of corporate directorship.

Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad, Chairman of CIMB Group Holdings Berhad, which is an ICDM Corporate Member, also shares his journey as a director and some of the valuable lessons he has personally gathered over the years.

One of the most frequently asked questions is — what does the board really do? In Philip’s opinion, the answer can always be distilled into one sentence.

  • The directors decide what the company will do, hire somebody to do it, make sure it is done, and accept responsibilities if it does not work out.

As he explains further, he emphasises that it is the role of the board to provide support and control of management by challenging them, setting straight targets and demanding results. If it does not work out, the board must accept responsibility.

  • The board can delegate tasks, but not accountability.

Being a director has its challenges, but Philip opines that directing can be great fun, very rewarding and satisfying.

  • There are risks, but the best course of action for any director is to always act in good faith, putting the company’s interest first, and consistently exercising the utmost care and diligence.

Datuk Nasir agrees with Philip that it is indeed rewarding to be a corporate director as it helps to keep him sharp and adaptive. His advice to those who have aspiration to serve as a director one day is to start the process early by accumulating experience working with the board as well as inculcating the three must-have qualities for a board member, and they are: courage, confidence and commitment.

  • As an independent director, you must be confident enough to give your views, taking into account that you are there to look after the interest of all shareholders. There are, sometimes, tendencies to be influenced by the majority shareholders, which is quite normal. But keep reminding yourself that you are there to protect everybody’s interest. The moment you feel that something is not right, that it is not going to benefit the rest of the shareholders, and only for the majority shareholders, that is when I think the true independence in you should surface and be brave enough to say the right thing.

Datuk Nasir also speaks about the importance of diversity, not only in gender, but also in experience and expertise, which he believes is key to having a solid, successful board.

Watch the insightful sharing and lively discussions to:

  • Gain foundational knowledge on the role of a director
  • Understand the duties and liabilities of being a director
  • Learn about the next steps of your directorship journey



For aspiring and new directors, the tasks ahead may not be easy but commitment to continual professional development will go a long way in your directorship career, and ICDM has been established to support your journey every step of the way.

Here’s how ICDM can help:

  • As a start, understanding your board-readiness is of paramount importance, and the ICDM Affiliate Membership is specially designed to help you understand your positions and subsequently offer recommendations on the steps you can take to advance the journey.
  • We have also recently introduced the Aspiring Directors Immersion Programme (ADIP), which offers a comprehensive module that covers technical trainings, soft skill trainings, board simulation, coaching and mentoring, networking and actual board immersion.
  • We are also actively working to help you secure your first or next board seat through our Director Sourcing and Placement where we work with companies to find the best fit through a competency-based approach.

When you are ready to take the next step towards building your directorship career, do reach out to Zafril at zafril@icdm.com.my.

In the meantime, you can head over here to read our interviews with ICDM’s board-ready talents.

For corporates who wish to know more about our pool of board-ready Affiliates or wish to engage an independent party to source for your next board director, do reach out to Rosnita at rosnita@icdm.com.my.

This Webinar titled “What It Really Means To Be a Director” was jointly organised by ACCA Malaysia and ICDM. It was conducted live on Wednesday, 10 June 2020 for members of ACCA Malaysia and ICDM as part of our ongoing effort to support their career growth and development.

Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash.
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