Jun 28, 2017
It was a well known fact that veteran airline specialist Rakitha Jayawardana was doing a decent job with Sri Lankan Airlines as CEO.
But Charitha Ratwatte who had descended from no where after the January 8 th election had other ideas. He had some how clawed his way back into Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s office.
He was given the responsibility by the Prime Minister to select the people to the top post in the New administration. This was a disaster for the UNP.
Because the very people who worked against the government was appointed to key post in the administration by him. One can’t blame Ratwatte who was the wilderness and had given up on the UNP, did not know who did what for the UNP.
So it was a total disaster for the government. The party cadres and professionals are very unhappy with the leadership of the UNP, largely due to people like Ratwatte’s conduct. The very thing he did in 2001-2004 until the UNP was kicked out of power at which point Ratwatte abandoned the UNP and was never seen or heard for a decade.
When the government advertised for the post of CEO of Sri Lankan Airlines, Ratwatte was in the thick of it. He cleverly hatched a plan to bring his younger brother who was struggling at Emirates, who had no leadership or management experience as the CEO, at double the Salary of the previous CEO.
When the Airline badly needed a top class turnaround specialist. When the board tried to extend his probation . Ratwatte threatened the Board according to a board member using the Prime Minister’s name.
The overall result was a disaster for the government and likely to become the next political land mine for the government at the local government election. Apart from the mismanagement of the airline due to ignorance and incompetence , the CEO has feathered his nest well. For example among the many allegations against him are; CEO Ratwatte has ordered that his preferred line instructor be rostered to do his assessment for re validation of his license.
Also, head of Aviation College Primal de Silva has made it mandatory that all crew are recruited thru his training academy and not to call for any paper advertisements. 56 new crew members were taken in this manner.
He and Bandula Weragama has got themselves promotions with fancy salaries when the airline is struggling to cope up with increasing losses. Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Kelulawala keeps offering job upgrades thru the staff web site almost on a daily basis.
None of these are required at present according to a senior officer except for operational promotions. I.e. Captains, cabin managers etc. Bandula and head of security Major General Chandrawansa parachutted to the airline during the last regime directly from the SL army.
They have befriended Ratwatte and are partying with him. Airline sources say the Chairman is a gentleman and is very weak person, so the two Rathwatte’s run the airline. Charitha Ratwatte is the de facto Chairman of the Airline.
The irony is both are clueless as to what to do because both have never run even a small business, so they are both focused on safeguarding their nests by preventing any kind of dissent from the Board.
The Prime Minister’s name is used liberally by the Ratwatte’s to protect their turf. If the Prime Minister does not have the guts to remove the board , it is now left to the Chief Executive Officer of the country the President, to take a decision like what he did with the Governor to save the administration.