Having a woman on the board of an organization often impacts positively on the growth and successes of the organization. Gender diversity goes a long way in stirring development in the society, it also serves as a milestone in bridging gender inequality.
Many countries and economies are gradually adopting gender diversity and appointing women into strategic position on their board. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Limited (HKEX), which owns and operates of the stock exchange joined this practice when Laura Cha was appointed as the chairman of the company as the first woman to hold such top role since the inception of the organization.
Cha was born in Shanghai, China in the year 1949, she was two years old when her parents decided to leave China for British Hong Kong.
Cha is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She also has a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law and was a member of a Chinese American political and cultural organization, known as the Committee of 100.
She is not new to the boardroom and an expert when it comes to the financial market. Her huge portfolio in the business industry is well spoken of in Asia’s business scene.
Cha has consistently represented the women society in Asia excellently, besides business, she is also one of Asia’s female philanthropists who has assisted less-privilege. She has also been recognized for her philanthropic contributions.
Cha started her career in Law and practiced with Pillsbury Madison and Sutro, one of the powerful law firms in San Francisco, California. She left California for Hong Kong around 1994, where she continued her law career at the Coudert Brothers.
Throughout the 1990’s, she worked with Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission and was finally made a Deputy chairman in 1998. She moved to Beijing in 1991 to take up the role of vice-chairwoman at China Securities Regulatory Commission, where she served from 2001 to 2004.
Cha was appointed to the vice chairwoman position by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, and she became the first person outside mainland China to join the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China at the vice-ministerial rank.
Two years later, she was named a director of HKEX for six years.
She has also served as Hong Kong’s delegate to the 11th National People’s Congress. Cha received the awards of Gold and Silver Bauhinia Stars from the Hong Kong Government for public service.
She also served as the Chairman of the University Grants Committee in Hong Kong and was a member of the Advisory Board of the Millstein Center of Corporate Governance and Performance at Yale University.
She has been in the Unilever boardroom since 2013 as a Non-Executive Director and also non-executive deputy chairwoman of HSBC.
In April 2018, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) named Laura Cha the new chairman and first woman to head the stock exchange operator since the company’s 18-year history.
She succeeded her predecessor Chow Chung Kong, who stepped down after six years in the role.
However, beyond business and career, Cha has a happy family; she is married to Victor Cha Mou Zing a business tycoon in Hong Kong and the couple has two children.