India Inc will have to add 10 women directors a day to their boards to comply with the market regulator's new requirement. The Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) requirement for all listed companies to have at least one woman director by October 1. As many as 904, or 62 per cent, of a total of 1,462 National Stock Exchange-listed companies are yet to appoint one, analysis done by indianboards.com shows.
The website maintains a database on board members of listed companies. It says only 91 women directors have so far been appointed to 97 directorship positions in 94 companies since Sebi announced this norm on February 13.
“Of these 94 companies, 16 already had a woman on the board before the Sebi guideline was announced (and appointed a second woman on their board), implying that only 78 companies have since complied with the requirement,” says Pranav Haldea, managing director, PRIME Database.
According to indiaboards.com, as of May, 80 companies had appointed 85 women on their boards.
PRIME Database has also raised concerns over appointment of women directors from within the promoter group.“...nearly one-fourth (directorship positions) have been filled by appointing women belonging to the promoter group. These women shall have the same voice as the promoter, defeating the very purpose of genuine (independent) gender diversity,” says Haldea.
On an overall basis, there are a total of 8,987 persons occupying a total of 11,527 directorships in NSE-listed companies. Of these, 546 women directors hold 673 positions, about 5.8 per cent of all the directorship positions. Only 33 companies have a woman as chairperson, of which only one is independent.
Among the women directors, Renu Sud Karnad has a presence in eight companies, the highest number of directorships. She is an independent director in five of these. Ireena Gopal Vittal is second with positions on six company boards, all independent. Ramni Nirula also has six positions on a board, of which four are independent. Among the companies, Apollo Hospital Enterprises, with four women on its board, has the highest number. However, none of these occupy an independent director’s position.