TagIndependent Directors

Dismissal of Suit Against Satyam Directors

Last week, there was coverage in the financial press about the dismissal of a securities law suit by a New York court against the independent directors of Satyam. Now, a copy of the order dated January 2, 2013 issued by Judge Barbara Jones of the Southern District of New York is available through D&O Diary, which also carries a detailed analysis of the opinion. The shareholder suits failed on...

Indemnity clauses and criminal proceedings

Earlier this week, the Court of Appeal decided another interesting case involving contractual interpretation – this time interpreting and determining the scope of an indemnity clause. The case was one of the many fall-outs of the ongoing News of the World (“NOTW”) saga, and involved a claim brought by Mr Coulson, former editor of NOTW, against his former employers. On the termination of Mr...

Miscellaneous

The following developments and readings may be of interest: 1. Sahara: Public Offering vs. Private Placement We have been following the Sahara case as it involves the crucial question of what differentiates a public offering from a private placement of securities under Indian company law and securities regulation. Newspaper reports (here, here and here) indicate that the Supreme Court has now...

Nomination Committees of Corporate Boards

The recent episode relating to the nomination of directors for appointment on the board of Hewlett-Packard Co. brings to the fore the role of the nomination committee. Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a shareholder advisory group, recommended a vote against certain nominees on the ground that HP’s nomination committee was heavily influenced by the HP CEO, Leo Apotheker. While HP’s...

Actions Against Independent Directors

On March 11, 2011, SEBI passed an order in relation to Pyramid Saimara Theatre Limited (PSTL) restraining three of its independent directors (Mr. K.S. Kasiraman, Mr. K. Natarahjan and Mr. G. Ramakrishnan) from being independent directors or members of audit committees of any listed company for a period of two years from March 11, 2011. The order was passed on the ground that these independent...

“Professional” Independent Directors

In a recent Economic Times column, Prof. T.T. Ram Mohan discusses the concept of a professional board propagated by Lee Pozen in the Harvard Business Review (Dec. 2010, p. 50). The idea goes as follows: The author, Robert Pozen, lists reasons why boards are ineffective. They are too large (the average size of the top 500 companies in the US was 11 in 2009). Members lack domain expertise (only one...

More on Independent Directors

Can Independent Directors Appoint Alternates? Despite closely following developments in the law relating to independent directors (IDs) in the recent past, this question took me by surprise. Considering the special position of an ID, it seemed to me that an individual occupying that position is incapable of being substituted, even if that were temporary in nature. However, a debate generated...

Independent Directors under the Companies Bill, 2009

The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) pays significant attention to the role of independent directors on Indian companies (particularly the listed ones). While it is not doubted that the existing system of independent directors requires further review and strengthening, the SCF’s recommendations seem to go the other extreme in advocating a process which amounts to...

Academic Literature on Independent Directors in India

Events in Indian corporate governance that occurred starting January 2009 have spurred academic research on the role and effect of independent directors on corporate boards. While some findings indicate an important role for such directors on Indian companies, others are not so optimistic and call for greater reform of that institution. The purpose of this post is to point to some of the...

Government’s ‘Independent’ Directors

With the U.S. Government controlling various companies now, it is in the process of revamping the boards of directors of such companies. The obvious question relates to the role that the Government would take in the management of the companies, and particularly in the selection of their directors. In an op-ed column in the New York Times (NYT), Professors Gilson and Kraakman suggest the idea of a...

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