904 listed companies yet to appoint women directors

Tags: Companies
With the deadline to have at least one woman director on board approaching closer, as many as 904 listed companies are still to appoint a female director, while many firms which complied with the norms have hired those linked to the promoter group.

Under the new rules as mandated under the companies law and Sebi norms, every listed firm should have at least one woman director on its board. This will come into force from October 1, 2014.

As many as 904 companies or 62 per cent of the total 1,492 NSE-listed firms have not yet appointed a woman director on its board, data available till June 30, showed.

This would mean a required rate of 10 appointments per day in the next three months.

As per Indianboards.Com, a joint initiative of NSE and Prime Database, in four and a half months since the Sebi board meeting in February, 2014 when this stipulation was announced, till June 30, 2014, 91 women have been appointed to 97 directorship positions in 94 companies.

Of these 94 companies, 16 firms already had a woman on the board before the Sebi guideline was announced, implying that 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 which are apparently independent.

Among the companies which have filled the vacancies by naming women belonging to the promoter group included Reliance Industries' appointing Nita Ambani, wife of Mukesh Ambani, on the company's board.

While Asian Paints has brought Amrita Amar Vakil on board, Godfrey Phillips India has signed on Bina Modi.

While Kirloskar Oil Engines has hired Gauri Kirloskar, Raymond has appointed Nawaz Gautam Singhania.

It is also interesting to note that 59 of the 74 women (appointed in these 78 companies) are first time appointees to the board of a listed company.

"However, of these 59 women, 15 women (holding 17 directorship positions) are from the promoter group and a further 18 women (holding 18 directorship positions) are non-independent, thus leaving only 26 women (holding 28 directorship positions) who are apparently independent," the report said.

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