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Meet India's much sought-after directors

September 12, 2006 04:13 IST

What do S M Dutta, Nasser Munjee, Amal Ganguly and R C Bhargava have in common? The former chief executive officers of Hindustan Lever, Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Maruti Udyog respectively are among the most sought-after independent directors by Indian corporations.

The composition of independent directors on board of companies attracted interest after the Securities and Exchange Board of India made it mandatory for companies to have 50 per cent of the board members consisting of non-executive directors from January 1 this year.

The database of company directors, compiled by Prime Database, shows 92-year-old former field marshal Sam Manekshaw and Stock trader and investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala are on the board of 10 companies each. Manekshaw is on the boards of Bombay Burmah Trading, Britannia Industries, AV Thomas Industrial Products, Goetze India and Nagarjuna Fertilisers, among others, while Jhunjhunwala is on Praj Industries, Geojit Financial, Aptech Ltd, Provogue, Viceroy Hotels, Mid-Day Multimedia and a few others, where he holds significant stake.

In contrast, former boss of Infosys Technologies N R Narayana Murthy is on the board of only one company outside Infosys -- media group NDTV.

Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata too is on the board of only one company -- Bombay Dyeing -- outside the Tata group companies. He is, however, on the board of 10 Tata group companies, including Tata Motors, Indian Hotels, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, Tata Tea, Tata Steel and Tata Consultancy Services.

Bombay Dyeing's Nusli Wadia, who is on the board of four group companies in executive capacity, is on the board of three Tata companies -- Tata Chemicals, Tata Motors and Tata Steel -- as an independent director.

Rajendra Ambalal Shah, 75-year-old solicitor and former IDFC MD and CEO Nasser Munjee are the most sought-after directors on board of companies -- both serving on board of 15 companies each, the maximum allowed under the provisions of Companies Act.

Shah is serving on board of companies like Pfizer, Lupin, Colgate Palmolive, Wockhardt, Bombay Dyeing, Asian Paints and BASF among others, while Munjee is on the boards of HDFC, Gujarat Ambuja Cements, ABB, Cummins India and Astrazeneca.

Both HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh and former Maruti CEO R C Bhargava are on the boards of 14 companies each.

Parekh is on the boards of Indian Hotels and multi-nationals like Castrol, Siemens, GlaxoSmithCline, while Bhargava graces the boards of UltraTech Cement, Dabur India and Grasim Industries, among others.

Former HLL chairman S M Dutta is on the board of 12 companies, including BOC India, Castrol, Goodlass Nerolac, IL&FS Investment Managers and Zodiac Clothing, followed by Amal Ganguly, who serves on the board of 11 companies, including NDTV, Maruti Udyog, Hughes Escorts and Century Textiles.

Among others, investment banker Nimesh Kampani of JM Financial and former CII president and industrialist Arun Bharat Ram are on the boards of nine companies each.

They are closely followed by noted corporate lawyer Shardul Shroff, who is on the board of eight companies. Former chairman and country managing partner of Ernst & Young, Kashi Memani, is on the boards of seven companies, including HT Media, Yes Bank, India Glycols and Shree Cements.

The other much sought-after independent directors are former bureaucrats Naresh Chandra and Abid Hussain and chartered accountant Y H Malegam (nine companies each), economist Omkar Goswami (seven), veteran banker N Vaghul (six) and former HLL chairman Keki Dadiseth (four).

Rajesh Abraham in Mumbai