Executive Pay Excesses: Golden Handshakes & (Potential) Breach of Directors Duties in Hong Kong
Thursday 16 November 2017, 18:00 - 19:00
UCL South Wing Committee Room, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
About this event
As there are no provisions in the Companies Ordinance in Hong Kong which govern the issue of ‘golden handshakes’, it is left to the directors of companies to determine if such termination payments are in the best interest of the company. If a director is criticized by an independent board committee of ‘poor judgment’ as well as lacking the exercise of ‘critical judgment’, should members of the board of directors be held accountable if they sanction a contractual settlement which is later acknowledged as being ‘in lieu of the 12-month notice period’?
This seminar explores the circumstances leading to the resignation of Mr Jay Walder, the then Chief Executive Officer of the MTR Corporation Limited, from the office on 15 August 2014, a year earlier than scheduled. Despite his failure in escalating certain crucial information to the board of directors to enable its making of more informed decisions, he was nonetheless provided with a ‘golden handshake’ of some US$2 million. While such a payment is ‘immaterial’ against the profitability of the MTR Corporation, it nonetheless does cast aspersions over the aspirations of the government to promote Hong Kong as the ‘paragon for corporate governance in Asia’ given its status as the majority shareholder with approximately 77 percent of the shares in the company.
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About the speaker
Chee Keong LOW (‘CK’) is an Associate Professor in Corporate Law at CUHK Business School in Hong Kong with research interests in issues pertaining to corporate governance and the regulatory framework of capital markets. His research, which has published in journals in Australasia, Europe and the United States of America, is supported by private sector grants from Sino Group and Tricor Services.
An Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya, CK is presently a member of the Process Review Panel of the Financial Reporting Council in Hong Kong. He was previously a member of the Listing Committee of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong from May 2006 to July 2010; of the Financial Reporting Review Panel from July 2007 to July 2013; and recently completed a six-year term as a member of the Securities and Futures Appeals Tribunal in March 2017. CK also served as a Director of the Asian Institute of Finance in Malaysia for three years through April 2012.
A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and of the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries, a selection of CK’s publications is available for downloading from www.ssrn.com/author=332882.Read more
About the Centre
UCL Centre for Ethics & Law was established in 2009 to reflect the growing need for enhanced collaboration between academics, practicing lawyers and industry, given the fast changing and increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the global issues lying at the intersection between ethics and regulatory compliance. The work of the Centre is resolutely multi-disciplinary and practice-oriented, focusing on a number of current themes including the professional ethics of in-house and external legal counsel, ethics of risk, anti-corruption, global business and human rights, and distributive justice.Read more
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