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Global Corporate Secretary of the Year

Professor Bob Garratt

Professor Bob Garratt is a company chairman, consultant, and academic working on corporate governance; board and director performance, and strategic thinking issues. He is Chairman of Board Performance Limited in London and Organisation Development Limited in Singapore and Hong Kong. His extensive consulting experience of board and business issues on five continents covers many types of organisation from large corporates to family businesses and professional practices, from parastatals to not-for-profits, and from central governments to local communities.

Bob is a Founder Member of The Commonwealth Association for Corporate Governance. He is on the Chartered Accreditation Committee, Examinations Board, and leads the Developing Strategic Thought programmes, of the Institute of Directors, London. He helped form the China-EEC Management Programme in Beijing in 1983 (the first Chinese MBA programme), and the ASEAN-EU Management Centre in Brunei Darussalam in 1992. He helped found The Global Coaching Partnership network for directors; The Learning Symposium group; and is on the Research Group of the Centre for Tomorrow’s Company. He has worked with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority on developing corporate governance for Banking Supervisors.

Bob is Visiting Professor at the Cass Business School, City University, London where his work spans the centre for Corporate Governance and the Centre for Leadership, Learning and Change. He held previously that position at The Tanaka Management School, Imperial College, University of London, where he was also responsible for the board development of the “spin out” companies; and is ex-Senior Associate, The Judge Institute of Management, University of Cambridge. He is Chairman of the Education Group of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants. He is Past Chairman of the Association for Management Education and Development, and led the management education side of both the Faculty of Management and Community Education, Ulster College, Belfast, and The Architectural Association School, London. He is a Freeman of the City of London.

In 2002 Bob won the annual Shareholder Value corporate governance essay prize sponsored by the European Business Forum and PwC/IBM; and in 2004 The Academy of Corporate Governance, Hyderabad, Writing Excellence prize. His books include: The Fish Rots From The Head: The Crisis in our Boardrooms (1996 and 2003); Developing Strategic Thought (ed) (1994 and 2003); Learning to Lead (1991); The Learning Organisation: Developing Democracy At Work (2000); and Twelve Organising Capabilities: Valuing People At Work (2000). His most recent book Thin On Top: Why Corporate Governance Matters was published in March 2003.

Professor Guler Aras

Professor of Finance and Accounting, Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul

Founding Chair, Integrated Reporting Network Turkey  

Founding Director of YTU Center for Finance, Governance and Sustainability

Professor Guler Aras is an academic, a civil society leader and a researcher who leads key studies on corporate governance, corporate sustainability and integrated reporting. She is a professor of Finance and Accounting at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul, where she served as the Dean of the Faculty of Business and also Dean of the Graduate School for many years. She spent a year as a visiting professor at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in Washington DC. She has founded the Center for Finance, Governance and Sustainability (CFGS) and she also started the ground-breaking initiative on Integrated Reporting Network Turkey (ERTA), where she is still founding chair. 

She is the author of more than 25 international books, and contributed to more than 300 articles in international journals and conferences. She is also the founding Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Capital Market Studies and Editor of Routledge’s Finance, Governance and Sustainability Book Series.She has carried out numerous international and national projects and her project entitled ‘An Alternative Approach for Corporate Sustainability Performance Measurement’ has been awarded by TUBITAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). 

Professor Aras is the founder and board member of numerous national and international professional and academic organisations. She is a member of the Accountancy Europe Corporate Governance Task Force. She has spoken extensively at professional and academic conferences and has served as a consultant to a number of governmental and commercial organisations such as Minister of Development, Minister of Finance, Undersecretary of Treasury and Minister of Labour and Social Security Employment in Turkey. She is a board member of Allianz Turkey and the Turkish Capital Markets Association.

Professor Aras writes a newspaper column to raise awareness in society to advocate responsible management principles that institutions should share both financial and non-financial information with all stakeholders. She is known as the ambassador of governance, sustainability and integrated reporting, and focuses on the education of the next generation of academics and business leaders who could promote sustainable solutions for societal and corporate challenges.

Her latest books, ‘Sustainable Markets for Sustainable Business: A Global Perspective for Business and Financial Markets’ (2015), co-authored books ‘Transforming Governance’ (2016) and ‘Corporate Behaviour and Sustainability: Doing well by being good’ (2017) and Women on Corporate Boards: An International Perspective (2018), are published by Routledge.

Carolynn Chalmers

Carolynn is a Corporate Governance advisor who specialises in the areas of IT, Information and Transition Governance.

She holds a BSc (Hons), MSc, CGEIT®, BRMP®.

Carolynn is a Director of Candor Governance (Pty) Ltd. She facilitates director development programmes for the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa and is a member of their Corporate Governance Network. Carolynn volunteers her time to the Institute of Information Technology Professionals of South Africa (IITPSA), being a member of their Social and Ethics Committee and Western Cape Chapter Committee.

Carolynn has extensive management and governance experience and has held various Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Board, Board Committee and other Executive roles for international, listed and private organisations. Her experience spans many industries, including financial services, energy, construction, education, health, tourism, media and renewable resource management. Carolynn leads large multi-disciplinary teams ensuring all organisational aspects are engaged – people, process, technology, information, finance, risk, assurance and compliance.

Rising Corporate Secretary of the Year

Professor Irene Marie-Esser

Professor Irene-marié Esser is a Professor of Corporate Law and Governance in the School of Law at the University of Glasgow and Dean of the Graduate School, College of Social Sciences. Since 2020 she is an Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa and also a Visiting Professor at the National Law University Jodhpur, India.

Professor Esser acted as Director and Deputy-Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Co-Subject Head of Commercial Law at the School of Law, University of Glasgow from 2018 until 2022 as well as the Early-Career Co-Ordinator. She also served as a Professor Extraordinarius at the University of South Africa (UNISA) and was, until 2017, a Visiting Professor at the Open University, UK. She has been in academia for 15 years and was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa in 2005. In South Africa she was Professor and Co-Subject Head of Corporate Law at UNISA until March 2013, when she relocated, with her family, to Edinburgh, Scotland. Irene-marié obtained her LLB at Stellenbosch University (2001, first in her class), her LLM at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (2003) and her LLD at UNISA (2008). She was the Company Law Convener for the UK Society of Legal Scholars for 3 years, until 2021. She currently teaches Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility and Company Law at the University of Glasgow and supervises postgraduate research students in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Her research spans doctrinal and empirical approaches, covering the UK, EU and South Africa in the field of corporate governance, company law and corporate social responsibility.

Professor Esser is a member of the PRI Academic Forum as well as the ‘Sustainable Market Actors Network’ and ‘Daughters of Themis: International Network of Female Business Scholars’. As well as the ‘Sustainable Market Actors Network & Daughters of Themis: International Network of Female Business Scholars’. Professor Esser acted as an External Consultant to the King IV Committee on Corporate Governance in South Africa. Reference has been made to her work in the King IV Report on Corporate Governance following her inclusive stakeholder protection approach. They quoted directly from two articles that she co-authored with other academics. Prof. Esser received the prize (with the co-author) for the best article published during 2016 in the Journal of Contemporary Roman Dutch Law for “Shareholder Protection in Terms of the Companies Act 71 of 2008′.

Professor Esser has presented a 3-5-day workshop at the University of Johannesburg on Board Governance since 2009. She is an examiner at ACCA on their South African Business law module. She is also on the editorial board of the European Business Law Review.

Prof Esser is part of the Corporate and Financial Law research group.

Dr MD. Abdul Karim

Dr. Md. Abdul Karim, former Principal Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh, former Managing Director of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and former Senior Advisor of BRAC is now the Executive Director of UCEP Bangladesh. Dr. Karim is the President of Bangladesh Scouts Foundation and Advisor, Bangladesh Scouts. Earlier he served as the Secretary to the Government in the Ministry of Commerce, Fisheries and Livestock, Home Affairs, Communications (Bridges Division) and Finance (Internal Resources Division). He also served as the Economic Counsellor of Bangladesh Embassy in Belgium. 

Dr. Karim was Chairman of the National Board of Revenue and Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation. He was Chairperson of a number of national level committees of various Ministries. He is the President of Chittagong University Alumni Association. Jodhpur, India.

Mr. Karim obtained M.Sc. degree from the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh, Master of Social Science degree in Development Administration from the University of Birmingham, UK and PhD from BUP, Dhaka. As the Secretary General of the South East Asian Cooperation (SEACO) Foundation, Mr. Karim is working at civil society level to promote trade and investment among five countries of the South and South East Asian region. He is a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) Rotarian and contributes towards improvement of the socio-economic condition of the disadvantaged people. Mr. Karim promotes sports and is the President of Bangladesh Deaf Sports Federation. He is the past President of Bangladesh Scouts (Boy Scouts and Girl Guides) and obtained highest Scout award of Bangladesh. He is the Past President of Bangladesh Chemical Society.

Mr. Karim has travelled to 60 countries. He lectured at various Universities and Training Institutions as guest speaker. He has authored books and articles on local government and other subjects. Mr. Karim led the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) to implement sustainable, holistic, people-centered poverty alleviation and rural development programmes in Bangladesh. He has obtained corporate experience as Chairman and Independent Director of a number of Banks, Insurance Companies, Non-Banking Financial Institution etc. He is the former Chairman of IPDC Finance Limited and former Chairman of Green Delta Insurance Company. Mr. Karim promotes the cause of unprivileged children and youth by serving their technical and vocational education/training followed by decent employment. Dr. Karim is an Independent Trustee of A K Khan Foundation, Chattogram.

Derek Wilkinson

Partner in Odgers Berndtson’s Washington, DC office, Derek is a lead consultant in the not-for-profit, education, and government & public sector practice groups. He has a particular focus on international development organizations, public and private sector, for-profit and not-for-profit.

Throughout his career, Derek has specialized in identifying leadership for organizations of all types: associations and other affinity groups; NGOs, IGOs and other international public service entities; foundations and mission-driven/advocacy enterprises; not-for-profit healthcare operations; educational institutions; and government entities of all types.

Derek has also been recognized as an expert in corporate finance search with extensive experience recruiting CFOs and other specialized roles in internal audit, controls, FP&A, treasury, governance, risk management and compliance. He began his career in the defense and intelligence sector. His work in compliance, monitoring & evaluation, accountability and effectiveness in international development is noteworthy and global.

Derek’s clients talk about the added value he brings to every search engagement. He has a proven ability to very quickly understand an organization at its core and then identify management talent that is best suited to that client’s culture and goals.

A graduate of Franklin College Switzerland, where he received a BA in international relations, he has served on the institution’s Board of Trustees.

Governance Professional of the Year

Professor Raymond Wong

Professor Wong is the Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programmes) and Associate Professor at the City University of Hong Kong. His research areas include Auditing in China,  Ethical Issues in Auditing, Financial Statement Frauds, Corporate Governance and Earnings Management Research

Executive Program – Mergers & Acquisitions (Columbia Business School)

Executive Program – PCMPCL (Harvard Business School)

PhD – Accounting (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

BA (Hons) – Accountancy (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programmes)   

Certifying Organizations

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

CPA (Aust.)

CPA (Australia)

Research Areas

  • Auditing in China
  • Ethical Issues in Auditing
  • Financial Statement Frauds
  • Corporate Governance
  • Earnings Management Research

 Case Studies 

  • Lau, A. H. L., R. M. K. Wong and C. H. L. Woo (2010), “Ethical Shock from Wircom’s Acconting Scandal”, Asia Case Research Centre.
  • Lau, A. H. L., R. M. K. Wong and C. H. L. Woo (2009), “Lantian Stock: The 600-Word Spell on a Tansformed State-Owned Enterprise in China”, Asia Case Research Centre.
  • Lau, A. H. L., R. M. K. Wong and C. H. L. Woo (2006), “KingJewels: Ethical Leadership in Practice”, Asia Case Research Centre.
  • Lau, A. H. L., R. M. K. Wong and C. H. L. Woo (2006), “AccuForm: Ethical Leadership and its Challenges in the Era of Globalization”, Asia Case Research Centre.

Teaching Areas

  • Financial Accounting; Auditing; Taxation


  • College Teaching Excellence Award 2014 – City University of Hong Kong (College of Business)
  • Faculty Outstanding Teacher Award (Undergraduate Teaching) 2008-09 – The University of Hong Kong
  • The Vernon Zimmerman Best Paper Award 2008 – 20th Asian-Pacific Conference on International Accounting Issues

Imran Furkan

Imran is passionate about one thing – business collaboration. Connecting businesses together, fostering industry partnerships, and advising on macro socio-economic technological strategy.

This is evidenced by his achievements in Senior management and Board Directorship roles in industries such as IT/BPM, Commodities, Media, and Professional Services in the Asia-Pacific region.

Imran is a Fellow of CPA Australia, CIMA UK, has an MBA from Australia, and a BA (Hons) Sustainable Performance Management from the UK.

Currently serving as CEO of Tresync, Australia; he is known for his genuine collaborative impartiality, connections, and unconventional quirkiness to getting things done.

He is currently based in Australia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.


April 23rd

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