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Sellathurai Prabagar appointed new COO in smooth succession at country’s top private sector bank
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC has announced the appointment of Chief Operating Officer Mr Sanath Manatunge as Managing Director and CEO effective 12th May 2022, and the concurrent appointment of Mr Sellathurai Prabagar as Chief Operating Officer to fill the vacancy arising from Mr Manatunge’s promotion.
Mr Manatunge succeeds Mr Sivakrishnarajah Renganathan who will retire on 11th May 2022, ending a distinguished 41-year career at Commercial Bank.
Mr Sanath Manatunge has been with Commercial Bank for 32 years, the last four of them as an Executive Director and the Bank’s Chief Operating Officer. He previously headed the Corporate Banking and Trade Finance Divisions of the Bank as Deputy General Manager – Corporate Banking and has also served as the Bank’s Chief Risk Officer (CRO). Under his leadership, the Corporate Banking Division of the Bank experienced rapid loan book growth and growth in areas such as Trade Finance fee-based income, while maintaining the quality of advances.
During his tenure as Chief Operating Officer Mr. Manatunge headed strategically-important business verticals of the Bank such as Personal Banking, Corporate Banking, Information Technology, Cards, and Digital Banking, guiding them to become industry leaders. He has also given leadership and strategic inputs for transformational projects of the Bank such as ‘SME Transformation,’ establishing a long-term digital roadmap for the Bank and many other projects to improve operational excellence.
A Fellow of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants – UK (FCMA – UK) and holder of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Mr Manatunge is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers – Sri Lanka (FIB), a Fellow of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (FCMA) and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, UK (FCMI). He has been a member of Sri Lanka Institute of Directors since August 2017.
He was also instrumental in forming the Association of Banking Sector Risk Professionals, Sri Lanka, and served as the Association’s President in 2014. He was adjudged the ‘Chief Information Security Officer of the Year’ at the EC – Council Global CISO Forum held in Atlanta – USA in September 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to strengthening and promoting information security practices and IT Risk Management.
Mr Manatunge has served as a Council Member of the Association of Professional Bankers (APB) and a member of the CIMA ‘Thought Leadership Committee.’ He has been a visiting lecturer for the MBA Degree programme at the University of Colombo as well as a resource person at the Training Centre of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka (IBSL).
Mr Manatunge is also a Director of Commercial Bank of Maldives (Pvt) Ltd., a subsidiary of Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC.
Commercial Bank’s new Chief Operating Officer Mr Sellathurai Prabagar was Deputy General Manager Corporate Banking prior to his appointment as COO. A senior banker with over 26 years of diversified banking experience with Commercial Bank, Mr. Prabagar was appointed to Commercial Bank of Ceylon Bangladesh as Chief Operating Officer and went on to become the Country Manager, heading the entire operation in 2009. He was instrumental in Commercial Bank of Ceylon Bangladesh expanding from two branches and two booths to 19 branches, and its emergence as the third most profitable bank out of 10 foreign banks in that country, contributing around 15% of the overall bottom line of Commercial Bank.
Under his leadership, the Commercial Bank operations in Bangladesh received the AAA credit rating from Credit Rating Information and Services Limited (CRISL) the leading credit rating agency in Bangladesh.
Mr Prabagar holds an MBA in Banking from the University of London, is an Associate of the Institute of Bankers (AIB - SL), and has a B.Com. from Bharathidasan University in India. He is fully qualified in CIMA (Chartered institute of Management Accountants – UK), and CISA (Certified in System Audit – USA), and also holds a Diploma in System Security and Control Audit (DISSCA – CASL).
He currently serves as a non-executive director on the Board of CBC Technologies Ltd, a fully-owned subsidiary of the Bank. Mr Prabagar has also served as the Chairman of the Roadmap Committee appointed by the Central Bank (CBSL) on the implementation of Blockchain technology in Sri Lanka and represented the Bank at National Payment Council meetings at CBSL. He also functioned as the Bank’s Ombudsman in resolving customer complaints with the Financial Ombudsman of the country. He was the representative of the Bank to BTAC (Bankers Technical Assistance Committee) appointed by the Bankers Association of Sri Lanka, to take up operational issues faced by banks.
Sri Lanka’s first 100% carbon neutral bank, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 11 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 938 automated machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s Banking sector. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.
Mr Sanath Manatunge (left) and Mr Sellathurai Prabagar