ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 23, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 43
Financial Times  

SLT CEO to resign next week

By Bandula Sirimanna

Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Telecom Shoji Takashi is to vacate his position next week in accordance with the management contract between the SLT and NTT which currently owns 35.2 percent of SLT shares, informed sources said.

A crucial board meeting of the SLT Board of Directors will be held tomorrow to take important decisions on the restructuring process of SLT with a view to transform it into a Global IP solution provider and sustain the growth of the company. The management contract ends in end-March.

Last week, the Supreme Court cleared the way for NTT to sell part of its stake to Global Telecommunications Holdings (GTH) of Malaysia,which owns Malaysian telecom giant Maxis, but said the shareholder’s agreement between the new investor and the Treasury, the major stakeholder, must be public and transparent.

A senior SLT official told The Sunday Times FT that this will be the final board meeting of the present CEO. He said that no decision was taken on the appointment of a new CEO as a new shareholders agreement should be put into place after finalizing the sale of 25.3 stake in SLT from NTT. The shareholders agreement currently in force will terminate with the sale of shares, which is yet to take place. The Sunday Times FT reliably understands that some officials of GTH are currently in Sri Lanka to finalise the deal. The SLT official said that since the government is the majority shareholder it can appoint a new CEO during the interim period. Meanwhile SLT employees expressed concern on the proposed organization structure which was prepared by some high officials of the HR department of the SLT allegedly with the aim of appointing their favourites to the posts of head of divisions. These officers are to be approved by the SLT board meeting on Monday. According to Circular No 4 of 2008 issued by the SLT CEO which is in the possession of The Sunday Times FT the number of heads of divisions is to be increased from 47 to 58. One of the employees said this will create an additional burden to the company as all the officers are to be given many perks including Rs.106,000-worth palm top mobile phones and luxury vehicles.

It has been revealed that the SLT sales target plan for this year has still not been prepared due to the implementation of the restructuring programme. He added that the new organization structure introduced by the management with a view to avoid duplication and to strengthen group business management, sales and marketing was a top heavy organization chart and it has already created frustration among employees and the work at SLT had been retarded as some officers were eagerly awaiting for their promotions and others were expecting a change of management. He said that SLT functions had been greatly affected as the present management has adopted a wait and see attitude during this transition period.

The senior official, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the restructuring was part of a process to make SLT a global player.

Employees also say they are concerned about SLT having made repeated requests to supply material to the Outside Plant Division to execute the day to day maintenance work but no action was taken so far. This has paved the way to bring private contractors like Sierra Luminex and Makita which takes up a colossal amount of money for SLT. At present a server shortage was reported at the SLT warehouse for Under Ground Cable, Distribution Points, CDMA phones, spares for CDMA phones, ADSL modems for replacement, Data communication equipments, normal telephones, Jumper wires, and handset cords.


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