Chanda Kochhar: an inspiration for women

Chanda Kochhar: an inspiration for women

The decision to appoint Chanda Kochhar as the CEO of ICICI Bank to succeed K.V. Kamath is welcome. With the current turmoil in the global and domestic financial markets, the task ahead for Kochhar is a challenging one, but one is sure she will definitely lead with aplomb. Indian banking history is full of examples where female professionals at the helm of banking operations have taken over and revived the sagging fortunes of their banks. One remarkable example is of the legendary Ranjana Kumar, who dexterously revived the sagging fortunes of Indian Bank. The appointment of Kochhar will surely be an inspiration for all the women looking to make a mark in the corporate world.

— Kalpana Seth

The aborted bid of Satyam Computer Services Ltd to acquire Maytas Properties Pvt. Ltd calls for drastic changes in the Companies Act.

Shareholders should be given access to the minutes of board meetings, which is not allowed at present. It is a well-known fact how annual general meetings of public limited companies are held—shareholders who ask inconvenient questions are booed down by a section of other shareholders who are all management’s men.

Also, carrots in the form of factory visits are dangled before those shareholders who ask such inconvenient questions.

Why not go a step further—allow a shareholder to be on the board of directors once in his/her lifetime. This move will bring true democracy in the corporate sector. Why are industrialists, who hold minuscule stakes, allowed to remain as lifelong chairmen and managing directors of companies—after the father’s death, the son becomes the chairman.

Public limited companies are public only in name—companies are managed by industrial families.

Any shareholder should have access to minutes of board meetings, and it should be made mandatory.

— Deendayal Lulla

I am a bit surprised at the public outcry over Satyam Computer Services’ now-aborted attempt to acquire the two Maytas companies that are also promoted by the Raju family.

The mistake Satyam made was that they did it in a very none-too-subtle way. Many bigger and more prominent companies have done it in such a complex and circular manner (involving a number of holding companies and subsidiaries), that nobody could make head or tail of it.

So, the lesson for Satyam from this episode will be to learn a thing or two on “utilizing" cash from some of the companies with bigger (or the biggest) market capitalization.

— Rajesh Agrawal

Your Quick Edit, “5 reasons why Raju must go" (Mint, 18 December) was very timely.

And it shows that Indian companies have failed to live up to the expectations of investors.

It is hard to imagine that a company which won the prestigious Golden Peacock Award for excellence in corporate governance should stoop to such a low level of corporate misdemeanour.

Both the firms that Satyam sought to buy out operate in an altogether different field—infrastructure and real estate—and have no synergy with Satyam’s business of software exports.

You have rightly commented about the passive role of independent directors in this saga. Indian companies—particularly those such as Satyam, which have international business exposure—should maintain high standards of corporate governance and they must remember that many of those industrial groups that practised unethical means have perished over the years.

— M.M. Gurbaxani