In the six and a half months since the Sebi board meeting on 13 February, when the stipulation that every firm must have at least one director was announced, 264 women have been appointed to 274 directorship positions in 264 companies. Photo: HT
In the six and a half months since the Sebi board meeting on 13 February, when the stipulation that every firm must have at least one director was announced, 264 women have been appointed to 274 directorship positions in 264 companies. Photo: HT

Half of NSE-listed companies yet to appoint women directors

As many as 755 out of a total 1,469 NSE-listed firms were yet to appoint a woman director as on 31 August, one month before Sebi's deadline to do so

Mumbai: With just a month to go for all companies to fall in line with Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi’s) requirement to have at least one woman director on its board, 51% of NSE-listed companies are yet to appoint a woman director, according to data from Prime Database.

As many as 755 out of a total 1,469 NSE-listed companies were yet to appoint a woman director as on 31 August. This means, if all of these companies are to comply, it requires a rate of 25 appointments a day for the next one month, said Pranav Haldea, managing director, Prime Database, which operates indianboards.com, a joint initiative of Prime Database and NSE.

In the six and a half months since the Sebi board meeting on 13 February, when this stipulation was announced, 264 women have been appointed to 274 directorship positions in 264 companies. Of these 264 companies, 20 already had a woman on the board before the Sebi guideline was announced (and appointed a second woman director on their board), said Haldea. This implies that only 244 companies previously without a woman on the board have actually complied with the requirement.

Even within these 244 companies, 242 women have been appointed to 251 directorship positions. Significantly, nearly one-fifth of these 251 directorships have been filled by appointing women belonging to the promoter group, points out Haldea.

These include companies such as JK Tyre and Industries Ltd, Raymond Ltd, Godfrey Phillips India Ltd, Reliance Industries Ltd and Asian Paints Ltd.

“These women shall have the same voice as the promoter, defeating the very purpose of genuine (independent) gender diversity. Furthermore, another 69 of the 251 positions are non-independent, thus leaving only 137 positions which are apparently independent," he said.

According to indianboards.com, across all NSE-listed companies, even after the recent appointments of women, there are still just 696 women presently occupying 830 directorship positions. Of these, only 290 women are collectively occupying 367 independent directorship positions.

Among women directors, Renu Sud Karnad, managing director, HDFC Ltd, holds the maximum number of board positions at eight boards, of which five are as an independent director, followed by Ireena Gopal Vittal, former partner at McKinsey and Co. and Ramni Nirula, former head of corporate banking at ICICI Bank Ltd, who are on the boards of six companies.

Only 34 companies have a woman chairperson or co-chairperson on their board. The company with the highest number of women directors is Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd with four directors, and none of them are independent.

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