Committee for Tourism Promotion: Response to Feroze Khan

Thursday, 15 October 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reading this letter it is obvious Feroze Khan is venting his frustration on behalf of someone whose name has not been reported in a line up as likely nominees to the Tourism Promotion advisory body. 

While I have no status in the Ministry of Tourism to appoint or respond to this specific allegation about the composition and the mix of the body, which the unbiased public can judge for themselves by reading the full FT article on the role of the advisory body.

However, I do wish to state that I was not appointed as Chairman of Commercial Bank by any regime as Feroze says, but by shareholders of the bank. I was appointed to the Board of Commercial Bank in 2005, by the DFCC Bank, and I was also a Director of DFCC Bank from 2003-2010). So, when I was appointed Chairman of the Commercial Bank I had already completed more than 10 years on a bank board. 

I was one of the most senior bank directors in the banking sector and moreover the Deputy Chairman of the bank and next in line (what we refer to as succession planning in HR) though the youngest ever to be appointed as Chairman of the bank. The results achieved during that time speak for itself. 

Feroze, or whoever he may be, should read the Annual Reports of the bank 2011-2014. The writer says I had only HR qualifications to become Chairman of the bank; while I agree I am at the forefront of promoting good HR, which the country so badly needs, I am a fellow member of two accounting bodies and also have obtained a MBA from a leading British university by studying and doing exams, in addition to the HR qualifications and training I have. 

Feroze has also referred to two other boards that I have directorships, namely Access Engineering Plc and Galle Face Hotel, for obvious reasons and he has not mentioned that I sit on many other local and overseas boards and that I am an Independent Non-Executive Director of those two companies he has referred to. I am sure Feroze is fully aware of the role of an Independent Director, since he is aware of what good governance really means.

Feroze instead of writing to the papers to cast aspersions on me or certain industry people who have invested and kept our tourism industry alive during very difficult times, when many ran away or had to shut down due to bad management, it would be good if your valuable suggestions, recommendations and the names of your nominees were sent directly to the Minister of Tourism or the Chairman of the Tourism Authority without writing to the media to create doubts in the mind of the public. 

The time has come for us to use our newfound freedom wisely.

Dinesh Weerakkody