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904 NSE-listed companies yet to appoint women directors: indianboards.com

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As many as 904 out of a total of 1462 companies listed at the National Stock Exchange (NSE), or 62 per cent, are still to appoint a woman director as on June 30, just three months short of the deadline of October 1 set by SEBI for compliance with its requrement for all listed companies to have at least one woman director.
 
According to Mr Pranav Haldea, Managing Director, Prime Database which operates indianboards.com, a joint initiative of Prime and NSE, this means that ten appointmnts would have to be made per day for the next three months to ensure compliance.
 
Mr Haldea said that, in the four and a half months since the SEBI Board meeting on 13th February 2014 when this stipulation was announced till 30th June 2014, 91 women have been appointed to 97 directorship positions in 94 companies. 
 
Of these 94 companies, 16 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 only 78 companies have since complied with the requirement.
 
Within these 78 companies, 74 women have been appointed to 80 directorship positions, he said.
 
Significantly, at least 19 of these 80 directorship positions or nearly one-fourth, 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 18 of the 80 positions are non-independent, thus leaving only 43 positions which are apparently independent," he said.
 
Mr Haldea said that 59 of the 74 women (appointed in these 78 companies) are first time appointees to the board of a listed company. However, of these 59 women, 15 women (holding 17 directorship positions) are from the promoter group and a further 18 women (holding 18 directorship positions) are non-independent, thus leaving only 26 women (holding 28 directorship positions) who are apparently independent.
 
As per indianboards.com, across all 1462 NSE-listed companies, there are just 546 women presently occupying 673 directorship positions. Of these, while 359 women are holding 395 non-independent directorship positions, only 207 women are collectively occupying 278 independent directorship positions (20 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 1202 companies (or 82 per cent of companies) would have needed to meet the norm.
 
Among women directors, Ms. Renu Sud Karnad has the maximum number of board positions at 8 of which 5 are as an independent director followed by Ms. Ireena Gopal Vittal at 6 (all of which are as an independent director) and Ms.Ramni Nirula also at 6 of which 4 are as an independent director. 
 
Only 33 companies have a woman chairperson/co-chairperson, of whom only one is an independent director. The company with the highest number of women directors is Apollo Hospitals Enterprise (4), though none of them is independent.
 
On an aggregate basis, there are a total of 8,987 persons occupying a total of 11,527 directorships in NSE-listed companies. Of these, only 673 positions are held by women, just 5.8 per cent, a press release from indianboards.com added.
 
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