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SINGAPORE - Insurance giant AXA has appointed prominent Singapore lawyer Lee Suet-Fern (picture) to its board as an independent director.

The move is part of AXA's plans to improve corporate governance.

In October last year, AXA proposed a number of changes to its governance regime, which included the creation of a single board of directors to replace its dual board structure.

When contacted by MediaCorp, Mrs Lee said, "The appointment is a recognition of the growing importance and influence of Singapore in the world, an Asian voice with an understanding of Asia that the West trusts. It is a huge honour for Singapore."

AXA is one of the largest companies in the Fortune 500 list. No Singapore company, even those with the largest market capitalisation such as SingTel and Singapore Airlines, has ever made it to the Fortune 500 list.

AXA also owns possibly the largest publicly-traded asset manager, Alliance Berstein, which is listed in New York.

Mrs Lee is currently Senior Director of Stamford Law Corporation (Singapore).

According to AXA's website, Mrs Lee is one of two new independent directors appointed to the board. The company has 15 directors, of whom 11 are independent.

The new appointments are subject to shareholder approval. Millet Enriquez

From TODAY, Monday, 22-Feb-2010

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