Monday, February 28, 2011

HNB’s new Head is a queen!

Top professional and former career Central Banker Dr. Ranee Jayamaha is to be appointed as the Chairperson of Hatton National Bank (HNB), the country’s second largest private sector bank.
Jayamaha’s appointment will be following the retirement of HNB’s iconic figure Rienzie T. Wijetilleke next month.

No formal announcement has been made yet but banking circles were buzzing with the news.

Along with Jayamaha, the HNB Board will also see two more new faces in the form of former public and private sector personality and top professional Mano Tittawella and top civil servant Dr. Willie Gamage.
All appointments have been cleared by the Central Bank, the Daily FT learns.

Several State funds hold a collective stake of 22% with SLIC (Life Fund) holding 12% followed by EPF (7.58%) and NSB (2.34%).

Business tycoon Harry Jayawardena-controlled companies have an estimated holding of 15%. Other major shareholders of HNB include Brown and Company (5.5%) and Sohli Captain (4%.)

The appointment of three new faces to the HNB Board is following the retirement of an equal number, including Wijetilleke.

The current Board of Directors of HNB comprises Rienzie T. Wijetilleke (Chairman), R. Theagarajah (Managing Director and CEO), Pamela Cooray, D.H.S. Jayawardena, M.V. Theagarajah, R.K. Obeysekere, R. Seevaratnam, N.G. Wickremeratne and Rose Cooray. HNB Board’s Nomination Committee comprises Wijetilleke (Chairman), Jayawardena, M.V. Theagarajah and Obeysekere.

Jayamaha currently functions as an Advisor on Banking to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. She left the Central Bank a few years ago as Deputy Governor, a post to which she was appointed in April 2004. She was also the first woman Deputy Governor in the Central Bank’s history.

Dr. Gamage is Secretary to Ministry of State Resources and Enterprise Development, whilst he was also an Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Chairman of Strategic Enterprises Management Agency (SEMA).

Tittawella has extensive experience in financial services having served as Chairman of People’s Bank as well as stints at Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka and Lanka Securities prior to taking over at PERC. He was also a Senior Advisor Senior Advisor to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in addition to being Senior Director General at President’s Office during her tenure.

Tittawella is currently Chairman and CEO of Apex Consultancy, a management consultancy firm in Melbourne Australia as well a Corporate Finance Associate of the Bahrain-based MTI.

Dr. Jayamaha had an illustrious career at the Central Bank for over 30 years. She served in the Economic Research Department, Banking Development Department and as Assistant to the Governor in charge of several policy and operational departments.

A former product of Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo, she holds a Special Degree in Money and Banking from the University of (Ceylon) Peradeniya, Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Sterling, Scotland UK and Ph.D. in Monetary Economics from the University of Bradford UK.

On secondment by the Central Bank she has served as the Secretary to the Presidential Commission on Finance and Banking, Advisor to the Financial Sector Reforms Committee Ministry of Finance and Special Advisor (Economics) at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London. She also served as the Monetary Board-appointed Director on the Boards of Fitch Rating Lanka Ltd. and Lankaclear Ltd.

Internationally, she served as the coordinator of the Working Committee on the Development of Payment Systems Guidelines of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Basle, Switzerland and the Committee on Corporate Governance on Banking and Financial Institutions of the Commonwealth Association for Corporate Governance.

Dr. Jayamaha has provided leadership for the successful implementation of payments reforms and several key projects under the Central Bank’s modernisation programme.

She was the Secretary to the Audit Committee and has contributed towards transforming the Central Bank’s financial reporting framework to international accounting standards.

In recognition of her contribution, the Central Bank has awarded Dr. Jayamaha the ‘Outstanding Service Award’ for the year 2002.

She has authored many articles in reputed international and local journals in the areas of economics, banking and finance, debt management, etc.

The retiring Wijetilleke has served as HNB Chairman for over five years and prior to that as the Managing Director and CEO for 17 years. Late last year he completed 50 years in banking.

He is also Chairman of HNB Assurance PLC, Sithma Development Ltd., and Sunshine Holdings Plc. He is also a Director of Nawaloka Hospitals Limited, Ceylon Biscuits Limited and Mahaweli Reach PLC. He was former Chairman and Director of the Colombo Stock Exchange and also former Director of DFCC Bank.

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