Islami Bank Bangladesh has decided to appoint two more independent directors to its board taking the total number of independent ones to nine amid the continuous reshuffle in the country’s largest private bank.
Officials of IBBL told New Age that the Bangladesh Securities Exchange Commission on Thursday approved appointments of two new independent directors — Md Nazmul Hassan and Md Kamal Uddin — to the bank’s board.
The newly-restructured board of the IBBL in its first board meeting on January 5 approved the appointment of Nazmul and Kamal, two professors at Dhaka University who are close to the ruling party Awami League, as per the government wish, said the officials.
Nazmul is a professor of Dhaka University’s Institute of Nutrition and Food Science and Md Kamal Uddin is the treasurer of the university.
The appointment process of the two independent directors will be completed after the Bangladesh Bank approval.
BB officials said that they had received the Islami Bank’s request for appointment of the two directors and would approve their selection in a day or two.
The officials said that seven independent directors were earlier appointed in 2016 as the government-backed people were slowly taking control over the bank by ousting people linked with controversial political party Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami which opposed the country’s independence in 1971.
They said it was unusual for any private bank to have nine independent directors. Most banks have two to four independent directors.
The January 5 board meeting appointed former chairman of state-run Bangladesh Commerce Bank Arastoo Khan as the chairman of IBBL ousting Mustafa Anwar in a major reshuffle.
Arastoo was inducted into the bank as a director representing little-known Armada Spinning Mills.
According to media reports, Armada is basically linked with the Chittagong-based S Alam Group which has been enjoying government blessings for the last few years by bagging biggest contracts like power plants. The Group, however, denied that it has any link with Armada.
The then managing director Abdul Mannan also resigned while former Union Bank MD Abdul Hamid Miah took over. S Alam Group owns the Union Bank.
The total board members of the IBBL are now 16 and it will increase to 18 after completion of the appointment process of the two directors.
The existing independent directors are professor Syed Ahsanul Alam, also a Chittagong University teacher who was earlier director of Shadharon Bima Corporation and Rupali Bank, Md Zillur Rahman, former managing director of state-run Bangladesh Development Bank, Md Abdul Mabud, former passport department director general, Shamim Mohammad Afzal, also Islamic Foundation director general, Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, former Pubali Bank MD, Borhan Uddin Ahmed, a former district judge, and Mohammed Humayun Kabir, also CEO of Shinepukur Ceramics Limited.
Ahsanul Alam was elected vice-chairman at the January 5 meeting.
Bank officials said that the independent directors’ number was raised to outnumber directors representing organisations which have links with Jamaat.
A major portion of the bank’s shares is held by foreign investors like Al Rajhi Group of Saudi Arabia and Islamic Development Bank while a significant amount of shares is held by Jamaat-linked organisations. Directors can only be appointed from shareholders or as independent.
The bank, meanwhile, over the last few days transferred 18 high officials to different positions for their ‘link’ with Jamaat, said an official.
Besides, more than 210 officials have also been transferred to different branches, which a board member said, for ‘sabotaging’ the new board and management.
Meanwhile, the IBBL on Thursday arranged a managers’ conference at a city hotel in the capital Dhaka where the board members asked the branch managers to assure the clients that their investment and deposit were now fully secured like the previous period.
Newly-elected IBBL chairman Arastoo Khan said the IBBL had now become the number one bank of the country due to the good performance of managers of the bank.
‘Our main responsibility is to protect the interest of the bank’s investment and deposit. The latest change will not put any adverse impact on the bank. People of other religious quarters will be allowed to take job at the IBBL if they agree to operate banking following shariah-based compliance,’ he said.
The number female employees are now 550 and the IBBL should appoint more, he said.
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