Board Independence and the Regulatory Framework for Appointing Independent Directors on the Boards of Listed Companies in India
30 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 14, 2015
Worldwide, the presence of independent directors on the board of listed companies is seen as an integral element of a company’s corporate governance process and has become a pre requisite for good governance. Consequently, in the recent years, governance reforms in India have increasingly pinned hope, as well as responsibility, on independent directors to achieve higher standards of governance in organizations.
Unlike the Anglo Saxon world, where the key corporate governance challenge is disciplining the management and making it accountable to the distributed shareholders, the central challenge in corporate governance in India is that of disciplining the dominant shareholder(s) and protecting the interest of the minority shareholders. Therefore independent directors, in Indian business organizations, can become effective only when their appointment process is outside the influence of the dominant shareholders.
This paper examines the current state of corporate boards among the S&P CNX 500 companies in India and reviews the impact of the changes that have been introduced in the recently amended Companies Act, 2013 and the revisions, by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to clause 49 of the Listing agreement dealing with corporate governance.
While, with the recent changes, significant steps have been taken to strengthen the role of independent directors on the board of listed companies, the process for the appointment of independent directors needs to be further strengthened so as to truly improve the independence of the board in listed Indian companies.
Keywords: Corporate Governance, India, Dominant Shareholder, Independent directors, Firm performance
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