Amidst much speculation and media hype that SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias and his Board of Directors have resigned, Colombo Telegraph can confirm that neither have they handed over their resignations nor have they been asked to resign as yet.
At the time of writing Chairman Ajith Dias and his existing Board of Directors of SriLankan Airlines are still firmly rooted to their respective seats.
With the restructuring process of the national carrier currently underway, there are two appointed committees steering the process.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is heading the Ministerial Committee along with Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Special Assignments Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva, Minister of Public Enterprise Development Development Kabir Hashim and Minister of Devlopment Strategies and Internal Trade Mahinda Samarasinghe.
The second committee is the Special Task Force appointed to assist the Ministerial Committee which is headed by Secretary to the Treasury Dr. R.H.Samaratunga, Secretary Minister of Public Enterprise Development Ravindra Hewavitharana, Thilan Wijesinghe (Convenor), Mano Tittawella, Dr. Roshan Perera, Chairman Ajitha Dias and CEO Suren Ratwatte who is also appointed to assist Nyras Consulting Company, the UK base firm selected to assist with the airline’s restructuring process
According to sources close to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office it can be confirmed that Chairman Ajith Dias had met up with his Board of Directors in mid December and informed them that due to the restructuring process the airline was going though it may be evident that a new Board of Directors be reconstituted.
At this meeting Chairman Ajith Dias and his Directors agreed to submit a letter on the 21st of December 2017 to the Ministerial Committee informing them of their willingness to resign. However at this meeting Board Director Harendra Balapatabendi refused to agree to the decision taken by the rest of the Board of Directors and instructed that his name not be included in the letter.
According to Premier Wickeremesinghe’s office sources the letter received on the 21st of December 2017, was only tabled at the concluded Ministerial Committee meeting held last Wednesday.
“They have not resigned nor have they have been asked to resign as yet,” confirmed the PM’s office source.
Meanwhile Ajith Dias in his annual New Year address to his employees at Katunayake had intimated that his wife Sunel Dias had pressured him to consider in tendering his resignation from the post of Chairman.
He quoted his wife’s words to him in Sinhala saying “Oya kehel mala damala dala enne,” meaning “just leave that plantain flower and come.”
Chairman Dias incidentally also shares a similar trait to that of his predecessor Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe, as he is also married to a former Flight Stewardess.
His wife Sunel worked for Air Ceylon in the 1970’s as a Flight Stewardess.