August 30, 2018 (LBO) – John Keells Holdings (JKH) Group Finance Director Gihan Cooray is set to take over as Chairman of Nations Trust Bank from December 1, 2018.
The unanimous board decision to appoint Cooray as Chairman came amidst the anticipated retirement of current Chairman Krishan Balendra, who is required resign after his 9 year maximum tenure as a Director. Balendra is set to take over as Chairman and CEO of JKH, Sri Lanka’s top corporate position, in 2019.
JKH currently controls 29.9% of the shares of the NTB. Keells is required by the Central Bank to reduce its holding in order to comply with rules that state that no entity can own more than 10% of a listed bank without Monetary Board approval. This divestiture has been repeatedly delayed.
By appointing their Executive Directors as Chairpersons of NTB, Keells has exerted its control, and bucked the trend in the banking sector of appointing Independent Directors as Chairpersons. Cooray, having been appointed in 2014, is also not the NTB board member with the most seniority.
Sri Lanka’s largest private sector banks: Commercial Bank, Hatton National Bank, Sampath Bank, DFCC, NDB, and Seylan Bank all have Independent Directors as Chairpersons.
Profile of Gihan Cooray from JKH Corporate Website:
“Gihan Cooray is the Group Finance Director and has overall responsibility for the Group’s Finance and Accounting, Taxation, Corporate Finance and Strategy, Treasury and Information Technology functions (including John Keells IT) and John Keells Research. He is a Director of several companies in the John Keells Group and a Non-Executive Director of Nations Trust Bank PLC. Gihan holds an MBA from the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University, Houston, Texas. He is an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK, a certified management accountant of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, Australia and has a Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. He serves as a Committee Member of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.”