Lawyers on Boards: Going Beyond the ‘Legal’ Label

Jeffery Tan, Group General Counsel, Jardine Cycle & Carriage Limited

Lawyers bring a different and valuable perspective as directors to the boards of listed companies. This is often underappreciated as lawyers are seen as just legal advisors rather than individuals who can bring business insights and strategic counsel to the success of boards. Part of the solution lies with lawyers needing to exhibit skills beyond the law. They should focus on and highlight their business, financial, management and leadership capabilities. In this regard, in-house counsels have the edge as they are familiar with the inner workings of boards and what resonates with directors and chairpersons. There is a growing need for lawyers to re-invent themselves in order to make the transition to directorships on boards; and thereby demonstrate the many contributions they can make to the success of boards and companies.

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Management General September 2019 Vol.12, No. 48, Summer 2019

Jeffery Tan


Jeffery is the Group General Counsel; Director, Group Corporate Affairs; and Group Company Secretary of Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd. He is responsible for legal, compliance, company secretarial, communications and public affairs at the Group level. Before joining Jardine Cycle & Carriage, he was the Group General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Board Secretary for UTAC Holdings Ltd. Prior to that, he has over 20 years of private practice and in-house legal experience with international law firms and multinational companies such as Allen & Gledhill, DLA Piper, Siemens and Motorola. He also served in a business capacity as President of Motorola Singapore for five years. Jeffery has an LLB (HONS) from the National University of Singapore. He is a senior Advocate & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Singapore and a Solicitor of England & Wales. He has completed the Senior Executive Management Program, at Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management and the Driving Strategic Innovation Program at MIT Sloan School of Management. Jeffery serves on the board of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.

Management General September 2019 Vol.12, No. 48, Summer 2019