The deadline of 1 April 2015 for compliance with SEBI’s requirement for all listed companies to have at least one woman director is only two months away.
According to Pranav Haldea, Managing Director, Prime Database which has developed and powered nseinfobase.com, as many as 526 out of a total 1471 NSE-listed companies or 36% of the companies, were still to appoint a woman director as on 3rd February 2015, which means a required rate of 9 appointments per day for the next 2 months.
Haldea said, “Almost a year has now passed since the SEBI board meeting on 13 February 2014 when this stipulation was announced. From then till 3 February 2015, 474 women have been appointed to 546 directorship positions in 522 companies. Of these 522 companies, 35 companies already had a woman on the board before the SEBI guideline was announced (and appointed a second woman director on their board), implying that 487 companies have since complied with the requirement.
Within these 487 companies, 442 women have been appointed to 506 directorship positions. At least 74 of these 506 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. Furthermore, another 129 of the 506 positions are non- independent, thus leaving only 303 positions which are apparently independent”.
Haldea further said, it is also interesting to note that 395 of the 442 women (appointed in these
487 companies) are first time appointees to the board of a listed company. However, of these 395 women, 69 women (holding 71 directorship positions) are from the promoter group and a further 107 women (holding 109 directorship positions) are non-independent, thus leaving only 219 women (holding 222 directorship positions) who are apparently independent.
As per nseinfobase.com, across all 1471 NSE-listed companies, even after the recent appointments of women, there are still just 893 women presently occupying 1091 directorship positions (just 9 per cent). Of these, while 519 women are holding 563 non-independent directorship positions, only 399 women are collectively occupying 528 independent directorship positions (25 women hold both independent as well as non- independent positions). Thus, if the requirement was for boards to have independent women directors, as many as 970 companies (or 66 per cent of companies) would have needed to meet the norm.
On an aggregate basis, there are a total of 9,206 persons occupying a total of 11,693 directorships in NSE-listed companies.