June 6, 2023, Mumbai: Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry recently organised a Governance Conclave with the theme, Building a Resilient Board, supported by Ernst & Young LLP, and DTDC.
In his opening remarks, Nilesh Shah, President, Bombay Chamber & Group President and Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra AMC said that a lot needs to be done in governance mechanisms. “Today’s discussion is about how to give feedback to regulators, promoters, the corporate world and shareholders,” he said. Suhas Tuljapurkar, Co-Chairperson, Governance Committee, Bombay Chamber & Founder Director, Legasis introduced the Keynote speaker – Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, former Director General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) who spoke on Future Proofing in the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) World.
While citing examples of the Patalganga manufacturing plant food disaster where resilience was missing, Mashelkar said, “Covid was a time when resilience was tested. The Covid vaccine which was developed in a record 12 months is an excellent example of resilience. We are facing big challenges – Asymmetry, Disruption, Age, Polarisation and Trust. Emerging technology is disrupting every industry. We have to keep our institutions strong so that we can be prepared for the future. Natural calamities, the climate crisis, pandemic, all have shown that corporate resilience is most important. Organisations should be purpose driven. For example, Reliance (Reliance New Energy Council) is preparing and gearing up for a Green future.”
There were three panel discussions. The first panel discussed the Future of a Resilient & Atmanirbhar Board which was moderated by Suhas Tuljapurkar, Co-Chairperson, Governance Committee, Bombay Chamber & Founder Director, Legasis. The panelists included Nilesh Shah; Zarir Langrana, Executive Director & President Global Chemicals Business, Tata Chemicals; M S Unnikrishnan, Head & CEO, IITB-Monash Research Academy and Manish Choksi, Vice Chairman, Asian Paints. While agreeing that Indian corporates have shown great financial resilience in recent years, the panelists observed that a company Board should be like Krishna to Arjuna in the Mahabharata: Give directions to the company, provide the Governance and support needed. Three things to keep in mind- Guidance, Vision and Governance.
The second panel, on Risk Management and Cyber Security, was moderated by Savithri Parekh, Chairperson, Governance Committee, Bombay Chamber & Company Secretary and Compliance Officer, Reliance Industries. The panel members included Ritesh Tiwari, Sr. Vice President, Bombay Chamber & CFO, Hindustan Unilever & Unilever South Asia; Nandkumar Saravade, Advisor on Security, Technology, Entrepreneurship and Governance; U Shekhar, Managing Director, Galaxy Surfactants and Mini Gupta, Senior Cybersecurity and Privacy partner, Ernst & Young LLP. They advised that cyber security and resilience can be analysed in a way that can help the organisation in its growth. Investments have to go into digital transformation. Future proofing the environment is the need of the hour.
The third panel on Governance beyond Numbers: From Rule book to Value Based Compliance, supported by Excel Industries, the digital sponsor, was moderated by Bharat Vasani, Chairperson, Legal & IPR committee, Bombay Chamber, & Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. The panelists were Ashok Barat, Founder, MERX Business Advisors LLP and Ranjit Shahani, former Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Novartis India. The panel opined that while India has most detail oriented corporate governance, she still has a long way to go on how effective our boards will be because different DNA s are operating in these boards.
The Conclave ended with closing remarks delivered by Manoj Sonawala, Principal Consultant, Manoyog GRC Advisors, where he summed up what the speakers discussed, and the vote of thanks by Ritesh Tiwari, wherein he thanked all the speakers, sponsors and participants for making the event a grand success.