Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mothers and Corporate Governance

How complicated can the RIL-RNRL dispute get? Very. Well, that’s what it looks like if you look at the arguments from both sides.

RIL’s legal team likes to make it seem like a business dispute between two companies and not a family affair, which I guess is right. RIL also feels that the High Court order has adverse financial implications for the company besides national implications and it gave an unfair advantage to the ADA group based on a family agreement in 2005. Besides, company sources have argued that the ruling, in a way, would override the government’s gas allocation and pricing policy. Then there is the scope for miscarriage of justice since RNRL will get gas at half the cost ($2.34 per mbtu) of what it costs ($4.65) for other gas buyers of RIL. So which way the dice is loaded ?
For RNRL, it's the MOU that's sacrosanct. Nothing more, nothing less. End of the argument.

Yeah, then there is the mother factor. Kokilaben is also drawn in to mediate in case the brothers get around to it. Given that both companies are widely held joint stock corporations where there are millions of other shareholders involved, how fair it is to leave business judgments to family members that have never held executive positions in the company or are not adequately trained or exposed (I mean first hand, not of the kind *I-had-been-at-the-dinner-table-with-my-husband-and-sons-as-they-discussed-business*) ? Is that good corporate governance leaving the fate of millions of shareholders to mother of just one among them?

Why not let mothers be mothers for a change? It’s not like wandering into the kitchen sniffing for hot Dhokla and Khandavi that Kokilaben will be happy to engage with all her heart and soul.

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