Financial Times

Local companies yet to face true global competition

Sri Lankan companies have been living in a 'vacuum' for 30 years where, because of the perceived unattractiveness of the country's business climate to the outside world, local companies were yet to face true levels of international competition, according to top corporate leader Ajit Gunawardena, Deputy Chairman of John Keells Holdings. Indicating that existing track records may prove 'irrelevant', he recommended companies 'flatten' organizational structures and 'inject new, younger leaders in the next two years'; a by product of which would also be the propelling older, more entrenched leadership to greater performance.

CEO Forum in progress

Mr. Gunawardena's comments were made at a CEO Forum kicking-off the inaugural Human Resources (HR) Summit organized by SLASSCOM, a recent event attended by '400 leading HR professionals, senior leaders, HR students and business managers'. Mirroring his sentiments was Husein Esufally, Group Chief Executive of Hemas Holdings, who noted that, while many international companies had not yet entered the country, this circumstance would change, adding that Sri Lankan companies were 'not ready' for the competitiveness characteristic of the global marketplace.

Also participating in SLASSCOM's HR Summit, Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Anura Ekanayake, indicated that it was time chief executives and the HR community look beyond the norm and experiment when recruiting, suggesting areas such as proficiency with languages, family background, etc., especially at times when demand outstripped availability.

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