‘Leading Contemporary Boards,’ the SLID Chairmen’s Forum on 30 January
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 00:00
According to Warren Bennis, a pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership studies, “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
The role of the Chairman is not one that can be merely learned from a textbook. The various business schools will provide you with relevant educational aspects of the business world but a successful chairman is a result of not only the learnings gleaned in classrooms but also of those accumulated from day to day decision making, risk taking and facilitation which involves good governance and leadership qualities. In the words of Jack Welch famous entrepreneur and Chairman of General Electric, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
So who exactly is a ‘Chairperson’ and what are the other qualities of such a person? Is it more or less that of a figure head, or does the role encompass those such as facilitation, delegation, communication, management of conflicts of interest, impartiality and confidence? According to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
Focusing on the above the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) will for the second time host the Chairmen’s Forum scheduled for 30 January from 5 to 7:30 p.m. (registrations and refreshments from 4:30 p.m.) at the Ivy Room of the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo.
The inaugural Chairmen’s Forum titled ‘Performing While Conforming – What the text books don’t teach’ conducted by the SLID, featured an eminent panel consisting of Susantha Rathnayake, Mahesh Amalean, Hemaka Amarasuriya, Rienzie Wijetilleke and Ranel Wijesinha brought together an audience of over 150 participants. The panel this year includes some of the country’s well known business personalities in the likes of Central Finance Company PLC Chairman Jayampathi Banadaranayake, Aitken Spence PLC Chairman Harry Jayawardena, United Motors Lanka PLC Chairman Sunil Wijesinha
and Bank of Ceylon PLC former Chairman Razik Zarook, with Commercial Bank Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody serving as the moderator.
The panel boasts of an experienced outfit. Jayampathi Bandaranayake has served as Chairman of Board of Investments of Sri Lanka, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce as well as the multinational, Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC where he served for a long and fruitful period of 45 years thus illuminating his experience in both state and multinational entities.
Another successful businessman, Harry Jayawardena heads many successful enterprises in diverse fields of activity. He is a founder Director and Chairman of Stassen Group of Companies as well as Lanka Milk Foods (CWE) PLC. Apart from the above he leads the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, Aitken Spence PLC, LankaBell Ltd. and Browns Beach Hotel. He formerly chaired the boards of both Ceylon Petroleum Corporation as well as Sri Lankan Airlines.
Top lawyer and former diplomat, Razeek Zarook has also served as head of several state entities including Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE), Agricultural Development Authority and National Aquatic Research and Development Authority (NARA). He was last, Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon until the end of 2013. Late President Premadasa appointed him as Ambassador to the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and thereafter as the first Ambassador to Hungary. Subsequently he was appointed as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Singapore.
Chartered Engineer, with qualifications in Management Accountancy and Management Services (productivity), Sunil Wijesinha currently Chairs United Motors Lanka PLC, NDB Bank PLC, Employers’ Federation of Ceylon and Watawala Plantations. He is the President of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka. Some of his previous positions include Chairman and MD of Dankotuwa Porcelain PLC, MD of Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka PLC and President, Japan Sri Lanka Technical and Cultural Association.
The panel discussion will be moderated by another prominent Chairman, Dinesh Weerakkody, currently of Commercial Bank of Ceylon and Cornucopia Lanka Ltd. He also represents entities such as Hemas Holdings PLC and GlaxoSmithKline Sri Lanka, and is the Vice-President of the International Chamber of Commerce, Sri Lanka Chapter.
The panellists will primarily focus on the experiences gathered over the years in their respective entities whilst paying closer attention towards the role and responsibilities of a Chairman and the obstacles faced and lessons learned over their distinguished careers. The panel will also be opened to the participants during its Q&A session which will follow the discussion.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors was set up as a forum to serve the corporate and professional development needs of Company Directors in private and public sector organisations and is the authoritative focal point on boardroom governance in Sri Lanka. It has a diverse membership of 600 professionals and directors from blue chips, quoted and unquoted private companies, family businesses and entrepreneurial ventures.
The sponsors at the event are Dialog Axiata and Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC. More information on the Forum can be received from the SLID Secretariat via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 2301646/8.