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Singapore’s Boards Are Putting Long-Term Plans on Hold to Focus on COVID-19

Survey from Russell Reynolds Associates and Singapore Institute of Directors investigates boards’ experience with the pandemic


May 21, 2020


The SME & Entrepreneurship Magazine article, "Singapore’s Boards Are Putting Long-Term Plans on Hold to Focus on COVID-19," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultants Alvin Chiang and Stephen Langton on how boards are preparing for the changing role of leadership. The article also featured findings from a joint research effort​ by Russell Reynolds Associates and the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID). The article is excerpted below.

COVID-19’s impact on business and industries cannot be understated. The Global economy has been turned upside down and leaders are scrambling to cope with the chaos. Recently, the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID) collaborated with Russell Reynolds Associates to connect to boards in Singapore on how they are managing the impacts of the pandemic.

Findings from the study suggest that most respondents are focusing on issues immediately relating to the COVID-19 crisis and how to navigate around them. For the moment, future planning and building on opportunities have been put on hold.

Despite the rather bleak situation, the general sentiment shows confidence and cautious optimism. A significant majority of respondents consider their companies to be well organized and prepared to weather the COVID-19 crisis, with 63 percent identifying their companies as “Very Resilient” or “Reasonably Resilient” in confronting negative outcomes due to COVID-19, and 88 percent confident in their board’s organization and clarity of responsibilities and roles across board and management.

“This global pandemic has brought many economies to a standstill, ours included. In its wake, many businesses are scrambling to grapple with the economic fallout that is bound to follow. As fiduciaries, directors are at the helm, working alongside management as they lead their companies to navigate this crisis. This will be a test of leadership, governance and foresight, and the companies that will thrive are those which have succeeded in reacting well to the short term while readying for the era beyond COVID-19,” said Russell Reynolds Associates’ Board & CEO Advisory Consultant Alvin Chiang.

“Looking back at past crises Asia Pacific has endured, the region is at a crossroads with COVID-19: a crisis that impacts us in dimensions beyond business. The survey’s insight is telling of how boards are preparing and thinking about the changing role of leadership in today’s world, as well as what it means to be ready in times of uncertainty,” added Stephen Langton, Russell Reynolds Associates’ Board and CEO Advisory Lead in Asia Pacific.

To read the full article, click here​.


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Singapore’s Boards Are Putting Long-Term Plans on Hold to Focus on COVID-19