• Culture an important catalyst for strong corporate governance, finds Grant Thornton-CII survey

Demonstrating that culture is no more a softer aspect of corporate governance, a survey report by Grant Thornton-CII titled ‘Corporate governance practices review 2019’ finds that 93% of the businesses surveyed have identified culture as an important catalyst for implementing strong corporate governance. Further acknowledging the role of corporate governance in driving growth, 95% of the respondents affirm that good corporate governance practices help organisations achieve better operational and financial results. The report was launched at CII’s 10th India Finance Forum in Chennai today.

Recognising the need for greater transparency across the business spectrum, 75% of the respondents believe that mandatory corporate governance practices should be extended to unlisted companies. The respondents also stressed on the significance of promoting diversity on boards, with 88% affirming that their organisation has a women director on their board.

“At Grant Thornton, we believe that while compliance with laws and regulation must form a part of any governance framework, there is an opportunity for progressive boards to broadly work on better corporate governance practices. This includes promoting a culture of integrity and ethics, tapping into key stakeholder groups and creating enough scope for debate and dissent. We hope India Inc. will find many actionable insights in this report and all the stakeholders will join hands for the economy’s greater good,” said Dinesh Anand, Partner, Grant Thornton India LLP.

The survey results further showcase the growing importance of technology in corporate governance, with 78% of the respondents believing that technology has played a pivotal role in improving the corporate governance practices. Emphasising the need to protect independent directors, 74% respondents recommend that the liabilities for independent directors should be defined/rationalised.

The report also throws light on the lack of measurability of corporate governance practices, absence of formal training programmes on corporate governance for the board of directors and key managerial personnel, and cost of implementation as major challenges in implementing corporate governance practices.

“In a globalised world, there is a need for corporates to go beyond how business is done in India and be in sync with the international practices of corporate governance and adopt international best practices to stay competitive. Corporate governance has earned its place as an essential tool in the management and growth of companies, and will continue to grow in importance,” said Gopal Mahadevan, Chairman, CII SR Economic Affairs, Taxation & Corporate Governance Sub-committee; Director & CFO, Ashok Leyland Ltd.