SLID Chairman’s Forum on Contemporary boardroom challenges on 11 May

Wednesday, 6 May 2015 01:07 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  One cannot merely understand the context of chairmanship and the challenges faced by boardroom members through a textbook or an educational system. A chairman with good governance practices is not a result of education alone. He or she is groomed by daily decision-making, risk-taking and the adoption of a relentless attitude when facing everyday challenges. Good leadership is a precursor not just to being great but to leading followers to be great in order to achieve your vision. Former US President Ronald Reagan said: “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.” Hence it’s important to know that a Chairman is not only the highest officer of an organisation, a committee or a deliberative assembly, but the driving force in leading the team with good judgment, integrity in action, flexibility and adaptability. The more complex economic, competitive and regulatory spaces get the more Boards and management will need to innovate to sustain long-term strategic growth. This involves many challenges that the board is compelled to face. In the words of Brendan Bruchard, an author and public speaker, “A challenge is the pathway to engagement and progress in our lives. But not all challenges are created equal. Some challenges make us feel alive, engaged, connected and fulfilled. Others simply overwhelm us. Knowing the difference as you set bigger and bolder challenges for yourself is critical to your sanity, success and satisfaction.” Pertaining to the above context, the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) is hosting the Chairmen’s Forum entitled ‘Contemporary Boardroom Challenges’ scheduled for Monday 11 May from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. (registrations and refreshments from 5.00 p.m.) at the Ivy Room of the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo. The panel this year features several of the country’s renowned business personalities such as Lalith De Mel, former Chairman of Hemas Holdings Plc, Sunil Wijesinha, Chairman of United Motors Plc, W.K.H Wegapitiya, Chairman of Laughs Gas Plc, Ajith Dias, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines and Arittha Wickramanayake, Precedent Partner of Nithya Partners, who will serve as the moderator. De Mel counts over 40 years of Board experience having served as a Director of several companies in Sri Lanka and abroad. He has served most of his career at Reckitt Benckiser Plc UK and was a main Board Director. He was the Global Director, Pharmaceuticals when he retired. He has served as the Chairman of the Board of Investment and the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom Ltd. and was a Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Finance. He holds directorships in many other companies and is a trustee of the Cambodia Trust UK. Wijesinha is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Management Accountant FCMA (UK) and has an MBA. His experience in the financial services sector includes the Board Directorships of Sampath Bank Plc as Deputy Chairman, Chairman of the Employees’ Trust Fund Board and Merchant Credit of Sri Lanka and of NDB Bank. He was also the former Chairman and Managing Director of Dankotuwa Porcelain Plc and his vast experience comes from directorships held in many other Government and private sector organisations. Having belief in doing business in an ethical manner and having honesty as his biggest value, W.K.H. Wegapitiya has subsequently incorporated Laughs Gas Ltd. as the flagship company of the Laughs Group which today is the second-largest LGP player in the country, making Laughs a household name, with a portfolio of 15 companies engaged in a wide spectrum of manufacturing and marketing. He is a recipient of many awards which include the Entrepreneur of the Year Award granted by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka, for outstanding business performances in 2001 and 2004 and also the National Gold Award in 2005. Ajith Dias is the former chairman of the Free Trade Zone Manufactures Association (FTZMA), Director of Brandix, a member of the Textile Quota Board and a member of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC). The panel discussion will be moderated by Attorney-at-Law Arittha Wickramanayake who has held several senior positions in the public sector which includes that of Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka, a member of the Public Enterprises Reform Commission of Sri Lanka, where he lay out policy for the privatisation of several vital state-owned enterprises. He also served as a member of the Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Board and has been a Counsel with the Attorney General’s Department of Sri Lanka. He is also actively involved in corporate governance and corporate social responsibility issues, having served on several committees appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The panellists will primarily focus on the experience they have gathered over the years at their respective entities while paying close attention towards the role and responsibilities of a Chairman and the obstacles faced and lessons learned over their distinguished careers. The panel will field questions from 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 of boardroom governance in Sri Lanka. It has a diverse membership of over 650 professionals and directors from blue chips, quoted and unquoted private companies, family businesses and entrepreneurial ventures. The sponsors for the event are Dimo Technologies and Iron One Technologies. More information on the forum can be acquired from the SLID Secretariat by emailing or phoning 2301646/8.