Grameen board shuffles panel for MD search | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 02, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 02, 2011

Grameen board shuffles panel for MD search

The Grameen Bank board in a meeting on November 22 reversed its decision to form a selection committee led by Prof Muhammad Yunus to pick its next managing director apparently due to government interference.
The chairman of the board of the Nobel-winning microfinance institution has now formed a five-member committee and took the name of Yunus off the list. The new committee comprises three government representatives and two borrower-directors.
“The Grameen Bank ordinance empowers the board to form a selection committee," Khondaker Muzammel Huq, chairman of the board, told The Daily Star on Wednesday.
“The new five-member committee was formed at our meeting on November 22.”
The Grameen Bank board had earlier discussed the plan to form a search committee led by Prof Yunus to select the next managing director during a board meeting on July 26. Huq presided over the meeting.
Former caretaker government adviser Akbar Ali Khan, former deputy managing director of Grameen Bank Muhammad Khaled Shams, Director Kamrul Hasan and Borrower-Director Rozina Begum were supposed to be included in the search committee.
Later, when the minutes of the meeting, including the issue of the selection team, were given to Huq for approval, he said he did not think the minutes included what were actually discussed at the meeting. Eight borrower-directors differed with the chairman.
At the November 22 meeting, the chairman told the board members that the selection committee was not acceptable to the government, said a source who was present at the meeting.
“The government had earlier said it would not interfere in the internal issue of Grameen Bank. But it is now clear that the government is interfering," the source added.
"The latest committee [formed on November 22] will not serve the interests of the borrowers who own 97 percent of Grameen Bank, as they have only two representatives in the committee. The government will definitely dominate the decision," said the source.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Huq declined to name the head of the committee or the other members, saying the minutes of the meeting have not been published officially.
Sources said the chairman himself would lead the latest committee. Other members include a managing director of a private commercial bank, a government secretary and two borrower-directors.
Huq said the details about the committee could be officially known next week.
The post of the managing director at Grameen Bank fell vacant after its iconic chief executive Prof Yunus stepped down in May.
Meanwhile, a section of sacked workers demanded that Grameen Bank should take over its nearly 50 sister organisations, including Grameenphone.
The Grameen Bank Employees Union also backs the idea of taking over all sister organisations by Grameen Bank. The union has also submitted a memorandum to the chairman of the bank to this effect.
"We have submitted the letter in consultation with the central committee of the union. We have urged the chairman to bring the entire sister organisations under the control of the bank so that its members can reap benefit," said Mohammad Shamsul Alam, president of the union.
In another development, Finance Minister AMA Muhith also held a meeting with Prime Minister's Economic Adviser Mashiur Rahman, Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman, Grameen Bank Chairman Mozammel Huq and Acting Grameen Bank Managing Director Mohammad Shahjahan last week, where the issue of taking over the sister organisations was discussed, said sources.
However, details of the discussion could not be known.

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