Categorized | Business, SRI LANKA

Changing of the guard at John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH)

Posted on 09 December 2017 by admin

Changing of the guard at John Keells!

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera – Courtesy: The Sunday Times.

John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate, will see some significant changes at the top in the next 12 months including the expected ascension of Krishan Balendra as the new group chairman.

Krishan Balendra

Company sources said that while Mr. Balendra as chairman-designate has been announced internally, it was unclear whether he would take over the position of Deputy Chairman with the retirement of Ajit Gunewardene, current Deputy Chairman in end 2017.

The sources said that an announcement on the deputy chairman’s position on whether it would be continued or not is widely expected in coming weeks.

It would be a historic occasion where a father and son has and would (soon) assume this top position. Ken Balendra was the first Sri Lankan and iconic chairman of JKH for 10 years, recently releasing a book on his corporate life.

While Mr. Gunewardene steps down this month, JKH chairman Susantha Ratnayake, appointed in January 2006 and taking over from Vivendra Linthotawala, steps down in December 2018. The impending retirements of Mr. Ratnayake and Mr. Gunewardene were announced in November 2016 with the company also detailing its succession plan through the entry of Krishan Balendra and Gihan Cooray as executive directors in the same month.

The current board comprises Susantha Ratnayake (Chairman/CEO), Ajit Gunewardene (Deputy Chairman), Ronnie Peiris (Group Finance Director), Krishan Balendra and Gihan Cooray (both Executive Directors) and Messrs. Nihal Fonseka, Premila Perera, Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, Ashroff Omar and Amal Cabraal (all Non-Executive Directors).

The changes also see Ronnie Peiris, who launched his book “Tough journey; Great destination” at the Cinnamon Grand on Thursday before a high-profile audience including JKH directors, retiring from the company and his position being filled by Mr. Cooray.

With the retirement of two directors as at December 2017, these board positions are expected to be filled by two senior management staff.

A top official told the Business Times that the group has, over the years, developed a large pool of young, talented individuals and that the depth of leadership augurs well for the group’s future.

At present Mr. Balendra is the President of the Leisure Industry Group at the company and is also the Chairman of Nations Trust Bank PLC.

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