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Faizal Salieh elected Chairman of The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors

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Faizal Salieh - Chairman SLID, Viraj Dayaratne – Chairman, Securities & Exchange Commission, Ajith Nivard Cabraal – State Minister of Finance, Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms

Faizal Salieh was unanimously elected as the Chairman of The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) for the year 2021/22 at the fully virtual Annual Membership Meeting held on 11th August 2021. Faizal is a veteran banker with many years of leadership experience as a Board director across several industries in banking, insurance, fund management, stockbroking, trading, manufacturing, and education.

Aroshi Nanayakkara and Dinesh Weerakkody were elected as Senior Vice Chairperson and Vice Chairman respectively. Prakash Schaffter, Vish Govindasamy, Dilshan Rodrigo, Nadija Tambiah,. Aruni Rajakarier, Ravi Abeysuriya, Manohari Abeyesekera and Charaka Perera were elected to the Governing Council with Rasakanth Rasiah, the Immediate Past Chairman serving, in an ex-officio capacity. Hon. Ajith Nivard Cabraal – State Minister of Finance, Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms, was the Chief Guest and Viraj Dayaratne – Chairman of Securities & Exchange Commission participated as the Guest of Honour at the meeting.

The outgoing Chairman, Rasakanth Rasiah, acknowledged the contributions and initiatives made by the Council during his term of office amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Faizal Salieh paid a glowing tribute to all the past chairmen of SLID for their leadership of the Institute since its inception in 2000. He specifically mentioned that Rasiah and the Council had held the reigns remarkably well under tough operating conditions. He spoke about the key initiatives launched by the Institute to build leadership caliber at the Board level. On the Board Diversity Agenda, he said “our approach is through the larger business case for diversity in functional skills, experience, age, gender, and ethnicity”. He urged all company Boards to increase the admission of women and to take pride in making disclosures on this in their company annual reports. “We believe that is a much preferable option to legally mandating. We also need to create Male Champions in every company for promoting women on Boards” he said.

Salieh said “Corporate governance is a strategic imperative and not just a matter for compliance. Governance today is not just about technology. It’s about balance, judgement, ethics and selecting the right people. As business models move away from linear to disruptive models, directors have to sharpen and widen their knowledge and skills to cope with the new challenges. We at SLID will strive to uphold and promote the principles of good governance beyond the realm of corporate boardrooms. For good governance to prevail, be effective and sustainable at the corporate sector and company level, it must also be inspired, accepted and established as a value standard and best practice at the macro-country level. This is a challenge that we as a nation should not walk away from, but unitedly come together to accomplish and uphold at all times”.

On Sri Lanka’s public sector, Salieh said “We cannot underestimate the importance, value and relevance of our public institutions. We need to build and strengthen them and enable their journey with sustained good governance despite the challenges. We are prepared to offer our services and work with the Government in this regard. In recognition of this need, we amended our rulebooks in 2011 to allow directors of public sector institutions and enterprises to become members and benefit from our various training, advisory and networking services. SLID looks forward to working closely with the Hon. Minister in this area”. Delighted by Minister Cabraal’s participation at this event, Salieh said that the Minister is a key and active person in the current Government, had at one time gallantly and remarkably spearheaded the drive for good corporate governance in the private sector, and that he could add immense value towards building good governance standards and best practices across both the State and Business sectors of the country.

The new Chairman said that SLID will leverage on its solid base of skilled and experienced senior directors, expert advisory panels, international connections and strategic collaborations to support, develop and enable its growing membership base of young directors to be future-ready and reach their aspirations, whilst continuing to enable the older directors to sharpen their skills, and stay current and relevant. “We at SLID shall stay committed to pursuing our mission towards preparing and building better Directors, better Boards and better Companies through and beyond this pandemic. That is our timeless commitment” he concluded.

Speaking next, the Chief Guest Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said “It is an opportune time for us to have an engagement between the directors of public enterprises and SLID to see how best we can work together to enhance the skills of those who are managing public assets which are the assets of the country and which need to yield good results if we are all to benefit. It is important for us to ensure that those who have been entrusted with these assets are prepared for that function in a methodical, scientific manner. I am happy that the private sector is taking the time and effort to train those who are directors of the private sector assets under management. In the same way, I think we may need to do that for the directors who are stewards of those public enterprises that are huge in comparison, and need to provide the services to the country in a methodical, scientific manner that is viable as far as our functions are concerned”. The Minister said that there were approximately 417 public sector institutions and enterprises, several of them much larger than some of the private sector institutions and that he would like to take on the offer made by the SLID Chairman to support their further development.

Minister Cabraal said “We need to ensure that those who are at the helm of affairs of these public institutions are able to deliver results during the time that they are at the head of the institutions. It is a tough call with expectations being huge, the balancing that they have to do of the different interests such as business, shareholders, employees, and consumers who are the public of this country. Sometimes what we see on the surface being what is delivered or the outcome that is expected from an economic sense is not the only outcome that is expected when considering certain public institutions. As such, it is a bigger challenge. As the Minister entrusted with the responsibility for public enterprise reforms, I am conscious of that deep necessity to ensure a balance of all these different competing interests and we have been endeavouring to do that” and further added that- in the quest to do things better and smarter “the avenues of cooperation with SLID can be explored further to deliver dynamism in the public sector”.



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LOLC becomes Mastercard’s first customer in Sri Lanka to join its Digital First programme

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iPay, a unique payment aggregator introduced by LOLC – Sri Lanka’s most valuable and globally diversified financial conglomerate has become the first entity in Sri Lanka to sign up for the Digital First program, launched by Mastercard. The Digital First program was initiated to facilitate an end-to-end digital journey benefiting Cardholders, Merchants and Financial Institutions. It was introduced to meet the rising demand for convenient and secure transactions around the world.

Mastercard’s Digital First program maximizes the safety, security and convenience of e-commerce, online banking and contactless transactions by providing the guidelines for payment processors, fintechs (Financial Technology), issuing banks and other partners to create end-to-end digital payment options at scale. Through this digital enablement, iPay offers a host of features including instant gratification for users through streamlined card issuance, activation and payments whilst offering them better rewards. User choice is a key priority of the Mastercard Digital First program as users are offered the choice to pay with any bank’s account or card that they prefer. They are also able to pay anywhere, anytime by leveraging Mastercard’s existing global acceptance, for both card and account based payments. Furthermore, safety and security are ensured to the utmost using security tools to protect users throughout all online and offline transactions. In addition, the controls system enables them to monitor spends, along with alerts on usage, allowing them to manage their spends threshold.

Commenting about iPay’s latest initiative, Conrad Dias, Director/Chief Executive Officer of LOLC Finance PLC said, “iPay is currently on a rapid transformation drive and the Mastercard Digital First program supplements that effort. In Sri Lanka, iPay has garnered over 100,000 users and it allows a wide range of financial transactions. Today, the app has also been successfully launched in Cambodia with implementation plans already in place for Myanmar, Pakistan and Indonesia. Since iPay is expanding internationally, getting on board with the Mastercard Digital First program will further enable our customers and merchants not only here in Sri Lanka but even in the overseas markets in which we operate to avail themselves of a new world of convenience.”

“Mastercard congratulates LOLC on its iPay digital payment platform joining the Digital First Program, thereby bringing about unparalleled convenience to users. Even as LOLC looks to introduce iPay to even more countries, Mastercard is very happy to support them with their growth plans for iPay in the region,” said Rajesh Mani, Country Manager, Sri Lanka & Maldives, Mastercard.

“iPay is the market leader in Sri Lanka in terms of customer acquisition and transaction volumes. We see the app growing further as contactless transactions and digital banking is increasing in popularity. By joining the Mastercard Digital First program, we hope to offer a best in class experience to all our customers and merchants,” said Charitha Jayasingha, Head of iPay.

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OPPO marks its 17th anniversary

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Global leader in smartphones & devices OPPO marked its 17th anniversary on September 17. Over the past decade, OPPO has graduated from its position as a smartphone manufacturer to an innovator and trailblazer in the smart device domain with several contributions to its merit. The company continues to expand its global footprint through its offering of high quality, aesthetically designed tech products and services to partners & users.

Commenting on the milestone, CEO of OPPO Sri Lanka Bob Li said: “On the occasion of OPPO completing 17 years of business operations, I would like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to all Sri Lankan customers, fans & well-wishers. It is your enthusiasm that has fuelled our passion to innovate. Our goal is to ensure that we continue to make global technology accessible to you locally for affordable prices without compromising on quality.” OPPO has expanded to over 50 countries and territories over the years catering to diverse interests with its impressive offering of smartphones & devices. This year, OPPO experienced a series of breakthroughs across frontier technologies of 5G, imaging and VOOC Flash Charging. OPPO hosted a flash charging partner conference at the 2021 Mobile World Congress in Shanghai (MWCS) showcasing a host of innovations in device charging, 5G connectivity and smart technology.

2021 also saw OPPO’s Flash Initiative bringing together a host of innovators from several sectors such as leaders in automotive (FAW-Volkswagen), portable chargers (Anker), and chip manufacturing (NXP Semiconductors), with each company licensing OPPO patented designs.

OPPO introduced its newly generated AR application CybeReal which elevates Augmented Reality to the next level through spatial computing. This year OPPO also hosted the 2021 OPPO Future Imaging Technology Launch Event where a series of breakthroughs in smartphone imaging technology focused on upgrades to sensors, modules, and algorithms were unveiled.

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Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing launches SLIM DIGIS 2.1

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Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), the national body for marketing in Sri Lanka, recently launched SLIM DIGIS 2.1, the country’s most awaited digital awards ceremony in a virtual press conference held on the 16th of September 2021.

Held for the third consecutive year, SLIM DIGIS is the only dedicated awards event that recognizes the innovations, budding talents and provides due recognition to professionals of the Digital Marketing sector. The awards event recognizes the best Digital Marketing achievements across multiple sectors including Banking & Finance, Insurance, Telecommunication, IT & Internet, Leisure & Hospitality and Travel & Tourism.

Similar to the previous year, DIGIS 2.1 will feature the main awards and special awards categories. This year will also see the inauguration of two new special awards: the ‘Best Response to COVID-19’ category will recognize the best Digital Marketing initiatives which turned challenges faced in the new normal into opportunities by engaging customers and thereby leveraging the business trajectory. The ‘Best Use of Data’ category will focus on recognizing the best-in-class digital campaigns driven or enhanced by data, and will be open to any idea that has used data in a meaningful way to craft creative marketing mix integrations into the core of their campaigns. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hinder businesses around the world, the new award additions will add further value to recognizing the efforts taken by Digital Marketing professionals to stay ahead of the curve.

Commenting on the SLIM DIGIS 2.1, Thilanka Abeywardena – President of SLIM said, “We are indeed proud to launch our premier Digital Marketing awards ceremony for the third year running. We were thrilled to see the number of entries received during the last year’s event despite the challenges faced in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being the only awards ceremony dedicated to the Digital Marketing fraternity, we want the Digital Marketing professionals and companies to make this rare opportunity count. At this crucial and challenging point in time, it is of utmost importance that Digital marketers produce their best work in order to ensure business continuity. Since its inception, SLIM DIGIS has been fueling the Digital Marketing industry while providing a platform for the due recognition of the industry’s best achievements.”

The winners of SLIM DIGIS 2.1 will be awarded with Gold, Silver and Bronze awards and the Grand Prix will be awarded to the enterprise/company, which achieves the highest score in both the main awards and special awards categories. SLIM DIGIS 2.1 will host an independent judging panel which consists of esteemed industry professionals.

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