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Rush to meet board norms

Mumbai, July 7: Corporate India will have to add 10 women directors every day to their boards to comply with a Sebi directive, which states that listed companies must have at least one woman on their board from October.

As many as 904 companies, or 62 per cent of the 1,492 listed companies on the National Stock Exchange, have not yet appointed a woman on its board, according to data available till June 30.

According to Indianboards.com, a joint initiative of the NSE and Prime Database, this will mean 10 appointments per day in the next three months.

It added that within four-and-a-half months since the Sebi announcement, only 91 women have been appointed to 97 positions in 94 companies.

Of these 94 companies, 16 already had a woman on their board before the guideline was announced, implying only 78 firms have since complied with the requirement.

“Within these 78 companies, 74 women have been appointed to 80 directorship positions. Significantly, at least 19 of these 80 directorship positions or nearly one-fourth, have been filled by appointing women belonging to the promoter group,” Prime Database managing director Prithvi Haldea said.

“These women shall have the same voice as the promoter, defeating the very purpose of genuine (independent) gender diversity,” he added.

Further, 18 of the 80 positions are non-independent, thus leaving only 43 positions that are apparently independent.

Companies, which have filled up the vacancies by naming women belonging to the promoter group, include Reliance Industries Ltd. It appointed Nita Ambani, wife of Mukesh Ambani, to the company’s board. Asian Paints has brought in Amrita Amar Vakil, while Godfrey Phillips India Ltd has signed on Bina Modi. Kirloskar Oil Engines has hired Gauri Kirloskar and Raymond has appointed Nawaz Gautam Singhania.

Renu Sud Karnad, managing director of HDFC, has the maximum number of board positions at eight, of which five are as an independent director. In terms of companies, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise (four) has the highest number of female directors.

 
 
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