Breathing Fire

Unions backing Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s staff are urging monetary authorities to ask a key shareholder to reduce his stakes and fall in line with banking regulations. Unions backing Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s staff are urging monetary authorities to ask a key shareholder to reduce his stakes and fall in line with banking regulations. Sri Lanka’s most profitable privately held commercial bank is in the midst of a power struggle between its Chairman Mahendra Amarasuriya and a group of powerful shareholders led by business tycoon Harry Jayawardena.

Jayawardena, who controls over 42 percent of the bank through various businesses he owns, has sought an extraordinary general meeting to oust Amarasuriya on Nov. 2.

No reason has been given for Amarasuriya’s removal from the bank’s board of directors either.

“It’s a clash of personalities and it’s ugly. It should be done outside the bank and not at the expense of the bank’s image, its employees and depositors,” Richard Rodrigo, President of the Association of Commercial Bank Executives told reporters on Thursday.

Rodrigo’s union has joined the Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union (CBEU) and Commercial Bank Staff A