Top professional Reyaz Mihilar sends communique to all employees of SLT-Mobitel Group setting record straight following ouster of Rohan Fernando as Chairman and subsequent misinformation and misrepresentation
Mihular insists he will be strictly Non-Executive Chairman; says Company’s rules do not permit Chairman to get involved in operational matters though past Chairmen took executive functions
Says management of SLT-Mobitel will rest in hands of CEO and his management team with clear KPIs fostering a performance culture
Urgent steps to be taken to sell Rs. 71 m Range Rover used by previous Chairman in a transparent process to get best value
Company vehicles for Chairman and/or Directors on a need basis
Chairman’s office will be converted to a Directors’ meeting room; Staff cut to just one Secretary as opposed to 6 members previously
There will be no security necessary for new Chairman
Mihular says Q2 results when out will reveal why Company needs significant effort to turnaround
Clarifies decision to make changes by Board of Directors had nothing to do with divestment of shares held by Govt.
Says Board of Directors cannot tell Govt. whether to sell, who to sell to, when to sell and how much to sell
Emphasises new changes are solely to ensure SLT-Mobitel is managed properly following good governance practices
Acknowledges SLT-Mobitel’s committed staff cadre including some of the best professionals
Expresses confidence with appropriate support and direction from the Board SLT-Mobitel can regain position as the best Telecom company in SL
Reminds staff fight against very formidable competition is out there and one should not get distracted with internal agendas
New Chairman Reyaz Mihular, a respected professional, yesterday set the right tone at the top for the employees of Sri Lanka Telecom-Mobitel Group on the desired way forward as well as countering some of the misinformation following the removal of his predecessor Rohan Fernando.
In a message to the staff of SLT-Mobitel, Mihular, stressed that he is a Non-Executive Chairman and how he plans to function in that role.
“As the title indicates the role of the Chairman as envisaged in the Articles of Association of the Company is Non- executive in nature, although I am aware that recent Past Chairmen have taken on Executive functions of varying degrees over the years. This behaviour is not correct as the Company’s rules do not permit the Chairman to get involved in operational matters,” Mihular told the SLT-Mobitel staff.
Therefore, Mihular emphasised, his role as Chairman is to be non-executive and fully comply with the Company’s rules as stated in the Articles of the Company.
In his memo to the employees, Mihular, of KPMG-fame, also listed seven new management strategies and administrative initiatives by the Board.
1. Management of the SLT- Mobitel will rest in the hands of the Chief Executive Officer, Janaka Abeysinghe and his management team and neither me nor my fellow directors will get involved in any manner in the operational activities of SLT-Mobitel.
2. As a Board, we will set out strategy that is aligned with the vision, mission and purpose; targets and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the management team, checks and balances and their performance will be closely monitored and measured against them and suitably rewarded, where relevant. The key is that the Board wishes to foster a performance culture with measurable outcomes.
3. Urgent steps will be taken by management to sell the Range Rover, that cost nearly Rs. 71 million in February 2021 in a transparent process to get the best value to the Company. Whenever the Chairman and/or Directors need to attend official meetings / functions, a company vehicle will be provided on a need basis.
4. The present Chairman’s office will be converted to a Directors’ meeting room.
5. There will be just one (1) Secretary (as opposed to the 6 staff members presently assigned to the Chairman) to deal with all incoming communication to the Chairman’s office and other Directors. The administration matters for all directors will be handled by Mahesh Athukorala, Company Secretary.
6. There will be no security necessary for the Chairman
7. I will, like other directors, not be involved in any communication, receipt of information or decisions where there are interests involving me and/or my family that have transactions with SLT-Mobitel. I have declared my directorships as required by the regulatory requirements of the country and this has been confirmed by the Company Secretary.
The communique to the SLT-Mobitel employees by the Chairman follows misinformation and misrepresentation of the events that saw the removal of Rohan Fernando as Chairman last week after he was appointed in January 2020 by the then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Fernando since then has been contesting the removal as a board room coup.
Mihular told employees that he cannot disclose details of SLT-Mobitel results for the quarter ended 30 June 2023 due to Colombo Stock Exchange requirements. “We will do so in the next few days and then you will understand why the Company needs significant effort to turnaround. I ask you to please be patient to see the facts and not listen to unsubstantiated stories,” added Mihular former Managing Partner, KPMG Sri Lanka and Past Chairman – KPMG Middle East and South Asia.
Noting that there has been a lot of media coverage on the Company over the last few days, Mihular said he is bound by confidentiality rules that board discussions are confidential.
“But I can confirm that the decision to make changes by the Board of Directors had nothing to do with the divestment of shares by the Government of Sri Lanka. That is a matter for shareholders,” he said. “We, as a Board of Directors, have a sole responsibility to ensure SLT-Mobitel is run professionally. We cannot tell shareholders whether to sell, who to sell to, when to sell and how much to sell. In this case that is for the Government to decide. I re-emphasise that the changes we make are solely to ensure that SLT-Mobitel is managed properly following good governance practices,” emphasised Mihular.
The new Chairman acknowledged his awareness that SLT-Mobitel has a committed staff cadre, including some of the best professionals in the country. Given this fact, Mihular expressed his confidence that, with appropriate support and direction from the Board of Directors, “we can regain our position as the best Telecom company in Sri Lanka providing state-of-the-art technology services to our stakeholders, while supporting the country’s efforts to reach the next level of digitisation.” “Please note the fight against very formidable competition is out there and one should not get distracted with internal agendas. I look forward to your continued support and cooperation,” stated Mihular in his communique to the employees as Chairman of the Board, SLT-Mobitel.