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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: The GCC Board Directors Institute (GCC BDI) reported an 82 percent surge in its membership in Saudi Arabia last year.
The GCC BDI announced that its total membership rose to 2,038 in 2020, with Saudi Arabia its fast-growing and biggest market for members.
“Sixty percent of our membership is in Saudi Arabia. Approximately 1,230 out of our 2,038 members are Saudi,” Jane Valls, executive director of the GCC BDI, told Arab News.
“The Kingdom is the largest country in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), so it’s normal to have such a high figure, but this also shows a keen interest in corporate governance and board effectiveness in Saudi Arabia,” she said.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with our Saudi members as they’re keen to learn and develop their board skills and knowledge.”
Valls said 2020 was “a momentous year for company board members around the world, and Saudi Arabia is no exception. COVID-19 has challenged boards in a huge number of ways.”
She added: “In the Kingdom, we’ve seen more frequent board and board committee meetings to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve seen boards move their meetings and AGMs online and adopt new technology for this purpose. We’ve seen boards increasing their focus on risk oversight.”
Adel Mallawi, chief investment officer at Banque Saudi Fransi, said joining the GCC BDI was a “significant career move” for him.
“It has given me confidence in the boardroom, and enabled me as a director to look at strategies from a different perspective and assess the effectiveness of control functions and risk management,” he added.
“Another great added value is the ability to analyze the composition of various committees in place and understand if they have the right people in them, and to understand if the board is well-constituted in terms of inclusivity and diversity.”
Dr. Basmah Omair, founder and CEO of Behavioral Management Consulting, said: “GCC BDI has helped me learn more about the changing Saudi regulations affecting the roles of board of directors through comparing them to international best practices.”
She added: “Learning from the various experiences of my peers across sectors has given me a wider understanding of how core issues can be addressed differently, and how the hidden grey areas can be tackled.”
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