Board­room Bat­tles Bring Gover­nance to the Fore

The Economic Times - - Saturday Feature -

From a per­func­tory prac­tice to one that fos­ters good cor­po­rate gover­nance, board eval­u­a­tion gets se­ri­ous. re­ports

In­dian board­rooms have lately been swirling thick with sto­ries of quib­bles, mis­un­der­stand­ings, clar­i­fi­ca­tions and spec­u­la­tions. The Tata-Mistry board­room tus­sle that set off the win­ter of dis­con­tent was mov­ing off­stage when In­fosys, the poster­boy of the new age knowl­edge econ­omy as­so­ci­ated with clean prac­tices and trans­parency like the Tatas, threw its cor­po­rate com­plaint book into the pub­lic do­main re­veal­ing events too con­spic­u­ous to ig­nore. The un­usu­ally hefty pay hike for CEO Vishal Sikka and fat sev­er­ance pack­ages to two for­mer se­nior ex­ec­u­tives have had the founders of the com­pany ex­press­ing con­cerns pub­licly.

Mur­murs about the com­pany’s cor­po­rate gover­nance prac­tices grew louder and reached the ears of mar­ket reg­u­la­tor Sebi. Sebi re­cently f loated a cir­cu­lar with guide­lines for board eval­u­a­tion.

“Board eval­u­a­tion in In­dia till very re­cently was just about cir­cu­lat­ing of pa­pers and wasn’t con­sid­ered a se­ri­ous ex­er­cise,” said Suhas Tul­japurkar, founder di­rec­tor, Le­ga­sis Ser­vices. “Guide­lines to­day have taken the force of law and In­dian cor­po­rates have to come to terms with the ex­is­tence and im­por­tance of Board eval­u­a­tion.”

Le­ga­sis Ser­vices, a provider of tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions and sup­port ser­vices in le­gal and com­pli­ance do­main, has launched ‘StarBoards’, a board eval­u­a­tion tool us­ing a mix of soft­ware and in­ter­per­sonal tools like psy­cho­met­rics, video-con­fer­enc­ing and role-based eval­u­a­tion in­ter­face for in­di­vid­ual di­rec­tors and chair­per­son.

“Soft­ware can only take care of tick-the-box


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