O conceito de conselheiro independente vigente na regulamentação dos níveis diferenciados de governança corporativa da BM&FBOVESPA

Gorga, Érica Cristina Rocha
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In the last two decades Corporate Governance has gained the deserved relevance. The Board of Directors is considered a central mechanism for good corporate governance practices, considering its role of mitigating agency conflicts through monitoring the agents, either managers or controlling shareholders. The complete development of such monitoring role depends on Directors acting professionally, technically, regardless any interest and influence of third parties, therefore, independently. Considering its importance, the Independent Director is at the center of good corporate governance practices debates. Literature involving the issue has multiplied and focuses almost exclusively on the effects of the independent director in certain aspects of the companies, such as, performance, share value, management monitoring, refraining to discuss the concept of independence. The mandatory requirement for independent director became a rule in Brazil in 2006, when BM&FBOVESPA reformed the special listing segments regulations. Since that reform, Novo Mercado and Level 2 requires that the companies’ board have at least 20% of independent directors. The regulations of the special listing segments provides for a concept of independent director. However, the definition is weak for not considering two relevant aspects: (i) the election and dismissal, at any time, of the independent director by the controlling group; and (ii) the existence of shareholder agreements binding the vote of the directors elected by the controlling group. We argue that there is a contradiction on the current definition of Novo Mercado and Level 2 which intent to disaffiliate the Independent Director and the Controlling Shareholder, however, it does not specify which relations between them should be avoided, nor considers the power that the controlling group has to dismiss the director elected by it regardless any reason, neither takes into account the existence of shareholders’ agreements, that intrinsically establish a new kind of relation with the controlling shareholder. The lack of such regulation allows situations where the independent directors are closely related to the controlling group and often bound to a shareholders’ agreement among the controlling shareholders, losing its individual capacity and his/her independence. 11 It is important to study the concept of independent director to adapt it to Brazilian reality. Only understanding the role of the independent director makes it possible to frame an appropriate concept that may incentive effects of independence aspired. This research identifies the percentage of independent directors according to the current definition and what would be the percentage of independent directors considering the new proposed definition and compares such results. The paper ultimate confirms the hypothesis that the percentage of independent Board members that the companies has been electing, when compared to the Directors considered independent in accordance to the new proposed definition, decreases. By highlighting the fragility of the Brazilian concept of independent director, the work contributes to the literature on the development of Brazilian capital markets, proposing a new definition of independent director necessary to enhance independent management and to promote the rights of all shareholders in accordance to the law, to BM&FBOVESPA’s special listing segments rules and international standards.

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