SINGAPORE (July 2): Robert Maxwell, the flamboyant British newspaper baron, who was found naked and dead at sea in November 1991, after apparently falling overboard his yacht as it sailed near the Canary Islands, left his companies in financial disarray. In particular, some £440 million in employee pension funds at his Mirror Group was found to be missing. The scandal came on the heels of an investigation into unaccountable losses and irregularities at Bank of Credit and Commerce International, and the collapse of a fast-growing London-listed company called Polly Peck. These incidents shook confidence in Britain’s corporate sector, and helped spur an inquiry into the state of corporate governance in the country.

In 1992, a committee headed by the late Adrian Cadbury published a landmark report that transformed the way public-listed companies are run. Among the key recommendations of the so-called Cadbury report were that the posts of chairman and CEO should be kept separate, and that there should be non-executive directors of sufficient calibre and number to carry significant weight in a company’s decisions.

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