Thursday, 3 April 2014 00:00
As usual, 31 March was full of AGMs and I was forced to attend over four AGMs on the same day.
The Commercial Bank AGM held at 2 p.m. was well attended and was conducted very professionally. The bank had made a special effort to highlight its efforts for the financial year.
A video had been cleverly prepared to highlight the achievements of the bank. The video showed the contribution of the bank to do welfare for the country – IT labs, English education and restoration work in the north.
Time was allocated for responding to questions. The Chairman, the CEO and the Finance Director spent over 45 minutes answering questions. The AGM was well managed by the Chairman, despite an employee shareholder demanding the resignation of a Director on the fit and proper test. The director in question put on his thick armour and showed no strain. What a shame? The Chair allowed the employee to make his point without attempting to intimidate the employee.
The shareholders were keen to know the bank’s approach to the Central Bank’s desire to palm off loss-making finance houses to the bank. The bank responded by saying it would not invest unless the investment benefited the bank. Both Chairman Weerakkody and CEO Dias are compelled to retire as per the Central Bank rules in the middle of the year and the shareholders thanked them for taking the bank to the current level.
The time period for a director should be determined by the shareholders, not by the Central Bank. This is Sri Lanka, where anything is possible. Fear was expressed the Government would dip into the reserves of the bank with the change of guard. The Chairman said it would not happen. There was a request to increase the number of executive directors to protect the bank and to reward longstanding employees. The AGM concluded on a very high note.