Sebi’s norm on women directors: Almost half the listed cos rush to appoint …

Mumbai: Companies listed in capital markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) will now be ensuring compliance with a new regulation that holds that there should be at least one woman director on their respective boards, curbing the dominating patriarchy in companies, starting tomorrow.

This move has been bolstered by wives and daughters who have readily agreed to adhere to the gender-diversity norm of Sebi.

While some companies have the family members of promoters and top executives as their directors, others have gone as far as replacing their independent directors with the women members of their family. Companies that have taken this step have mostly appointed women bankers and chartered accountants according to a recent analysis of the appointees declared in the past few days by these firms. Such firms include Adani Power, Adani Ports and SEZ, Golden Tobacco, Prime Capital Market, Linc Pen and Plastics and Kohinoor Foods.

Yesterday, almost 200 companies declared who they wish to appoint as women directors in their company where some even continued their meetings till midnight, and taking cues, some others are holding board meetings today to have women directors on board within the set deadline. 60 of them have had their announcements ready by the afternoon, while others have prepared for board meeting in the late evenings.

Image courtesy: IbnliveImage courtesy: Ibnlive

Image courtesy: Ibnlive

However, the reigning trend now is that the female family members of the top executives hold priority while almost half of hiring has taken place from within the families of the promoters and top executives.

The United Breweries Holdings Ltd. and few other companies have taken the decision a step further by choosing to appoint a foreign national as their woman director. Some others have even made up their minds to promote a senior management personnel to the board.

Sebi has claimed that they will take strict penal action against the firms failing to comply, going with Chairman U K Sinha’s recent statement that it was “really shameful” of companies not being able to appoint even one woman director. The warning had come earlier this month that fueled the need to meet norm compliance within deadline, that being revised from October 1, 2014 to April 1, 2015.

Unfortunately, for some listed firms, the deadline seems too intimidating to fulfill as they have expressed their inability to appoint women members in such short notice, citing reasons either of abrupt exit of existing women directors to ‘lacking a quorum’ in their board meetings needed for taking such decisions.


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