KOCHI:Last week saw a mad rush by Indian-listed companies to appoint at least one woman director on their board before the deadline set by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) expires on March 31, 2015, and Kerala companies were no exception.
Some of the noted Kerala-based companies which appointed women directors in recent days include AVT Natural Products, Kitex Garments, Manappuram Finance, Dhanlaxmi Bank, GTN Textiles, Accel Transmatic, Nitta Gelatin and Inditrade Capital (formerly JRG Securities).
The capital markets regulator Sebi had earlier asked all listed companies in India to appoint at least one woman director on their board before October 1, 2014, which was later extended to March 31. Some of the other Kerala companies which used the period to appoint woman directors include Muthoot Finance (November 11, 2014), South Indian Bank (October 1, 2014) and Muthoot Capital (July 28, 2014).
Interestingly, public sector Fertilizers & Chemicals Travancore Ltd (FACT) is the only major Kerala-based listed company that have no woman on its board. Though not made official, various reports have suggested that the companies which fail to adhere to the Sebi rule may face a penalty of Rs 25 crore. This would be the last straw for FACT, which is hoping for a financial dole from the Centre to revive its fortunes.
Pamela Anna Mathew, managing director of the Kochi-headquartered OEN India, is the most sought-after woman director for Kerala-based companies. She was appointed on board of Muthoot Finance and GTN Textiles (March 17).
Dhanlaxmi Bank appointed Susobhan Sinha, general manager, RBI, Bengaluru, while Nitta Gelattin complied with the Sebi rules when Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), one of the promoters, replaced its board nominee T P Thomaskutty with Dr M Beena, IAS. Inditrade Capital brought Debanshi Basu on board on March 26 while Kitex Garments appointed Sindhu Chandrasekhar as whole-time director on March 12. Manappuram Finance appointed Amla Samanta, who is MD of the Mumbai-based Synermed Biologicals. The Thrissur-based South Indian Bank appointed Ranjana S Salgaocar, a former director of Syndicate Bank.
The board with most number of women (two) among Kerala companies are Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services (Franciska Decuypere, nominee of BNP Paribas and Dr M Beena, representing KSIDC), Aluva-based Federal Bank (Shubhalakshmi Panse, an independent director, and Grace Elizabeth Koshie, a director) and Kochouseph Chittilappilly-promoted V-Guard Industries (Joshna Mithun, wife of MD Mithun K Chittilappilly, and Jayasree K, company secretary). AVT Natural Products appointed Shanthi Thomas on March 23. Pamela Anna Mathew, of OEN India, which was a listed company until 2007, said she wished the one-woman rule was introduced at least 15 years ago.
“Had it been, we would have seen many more corporates emerging to create wealth for the nation and for the people behind the initiative. The late introduction of the rule, which is an acceptance and acknowledgement of the capabilities and effectiveness of women in the corporate world, is certainly appreciated,” she told ‘Express’, in an earlier interaction.