Indian bank could teach U.S. banks about diversity

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U.S. corporations might stand to learn a thing or seven from Icici Bank of India. While there are 29 companies in the S&P 500 that are all male in decision-making roles, with no women on the board of directors or among the top five highest-paid officers, the Indian banking giant produced seven of the country's 14 top female financial professionals.

There are 47 U.S. companies, or 9.4 percent of the S&P 500, that have no women on the board of directors, with oil and gas companies having the lowest percentage of women directors at 9.6 percent.

Icici Bank credits its numbers to flexibility in challenging norms - like extending maternity leave - while not having a formal diversity policy. Deepak Gupta, managing director and country head for India at search firm Korn/Ferry International in New Delhi, says of the bank, "It's a women-friendly kind of culture catering to fairness and transparency."

Foreign banks in India like Citi, have also actively mentored and promoted women, but when these bankers reach upper management, they're offered opportunities outside India.

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