The Sunday Leader

Better boardrooms

b-3Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) recently held its annual technical symposium at Cinnamon Lakeside with a slate of “timely, thought-provoking” sessions that merged groundbreaking theory with real-world business insights. The full day programme featured leading lights from both the intellectual and corporate spheres sharing their knowledge on the new paradigms shaping the business world.
CIMA Thought Leadership Specialist Ms. Gillian Lees, at CIMA in her keynote address explored a range of issues that currently impact businesses as well as factors that will alter the future commercial landscape. Her speech focused on enterprise governance, with special attention paid to the need for Managing Director rooms. She highlighted the board’s contribution to many of the world’s recent financial failures and emphasized the importance of creating a challenge culture in the boardroom, where better decisions are reached through a process of debate and critical thinking. Her remarks were especially relevant considering the audience at the symposium was made up of current and future board members.
Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology C.E.O. Ravi Fernando brought his  insights to the forum and challenged the business leaders in attendance to make a commitment to strategic corporate sustainability, both for the benefit of their organizations as well as for the world-at-large. He noted that the world’s best companies are also the ones creating sustainable value for their stakeholders. He pointed out that strategic corporate sustainability rests on three fundamentals: product safety; environmental protection and fair employee treatment.
Continuing the focus on growing shareholder value, Hemas Holdings C.F.O. Malinga Arsakularatne delineated the difference between shareholder and stakeholder theory. He expounded on the importance of corporate finance, business strategy, and management processes in creating sustainable value for shareholders and stakeholders alike.  Arsakularatne shared his personal experiences in the private sector and pointed out the importance of sustainable value creation in light of the financial crises that afflicted the world.
Ravi Raman, global Chief Risk Officer Butterfield Fulcrum, one of the world’s largest independent fund administration firms, also provided personal insight into the global economic turbulence. While in New York City on business, he had a front-row seat to the financial market meltdown and pointed to the failure of most organizations to properly use its information resources to manage risk. Emphasising that there are however great rewards to be reaped from risk, he described the steps involved in creating an efficient and meaningful business intelligence framework.
His technical insights were complemented by the real-world experiences of his compatriot Bharatendu Kapoor, vice president (vehicle sales) Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.   Kapoor took the audience through the steps that he and his company went through in steering Mahindra & Mahindra back to a position of success.
The final paper presented at the symposium was delivered by globetrotting Sri Lankan business luminary Ronnie Peiris, John Keells Holdings Executive Director and Group Finance Director John Keells Group.
In addition to the presentations, there were also two”lively” panel discussions moderated by Hayleys Business Solutions International Ltd. Director/Chief Executive Officer Sutheash Balasubramaniam and Hayleys PLC’s Strategic Business Development and Shared Services Head  Ravi Abeysuriya that featured Hatton National Bank CEO Rajendra Theagarajah, Ernst & Young Partner Manil Jayasinghe and Jetwing Travels’ Managing Director Ms. Shiromal Cooray.

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