Published:  03:16 AM, 07 August 2019

Sir Abed retires as BRAC chairperson

Sir Abed retires as BRAC chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

Founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed has retired as chairperson of BRAC, said to be the world's largest non-government development organization, but will have a titular role as chairperson emeritus.

Seven other members of the NGO's board of governors have also been replaced, according to decisions announced at a dinner at Brac Centre Tuesday night.

He founded in 1972 what was then Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee or BRAC, later changed into Brac, to support war-torn Bangladesh's rebuilding efforts. It eventually grew into the world's largest indigenous NGO and a global brand in the development community.

Brac's activities range from education to extreme poverty alleviation to social business to massive microcredit operations across Bangladesh. Many believe Sir Abed should have won Nobel Peace Prize for his work, reports

Nobel laureate micro-lender Muhammad Yunus was, among others, present at the dinner attended by about 100 people. Brac International has operations in about a dozen countries, from Afghanistan to Africa.

Hossain Zillur Rahman, who served as an adviser in the military-controlled caretaker government for 11 months in 2008, was named as new chair of Brac Bangladesh board.

Only last week, the Brac Bangladesh governing board announced Asif Saleh as the new chief executive. The former Goldman Sachs executive has already taken over as Executive Director with 20 directors or senior directors reporting to him.

Changes were also announced for Brac International board.

Mushtaque Chowdhury is vice-chairperson and advisor to the chairperson while the other members of the outgoing governing body are Tahrunnessa Abdullah, Latifur Rahman, Rokia Afzal Rahman, Luva Nahid Choudhury, Martha Alter Chen, Adeeb H Khan, Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan, and Syed S Kaiser Kabir.

Brac International has Sylvia Borren as its vice chairperson and Debapriyo Bhattacharya, Shabana Azmi, Shafiqul Hassan (Quais), Irene Zubaida Khan, Parveen Mahmud, Mushtaque Chowdhury, Fawzia Rashid, Victoria Sekitoleko, and Marilou van Golstein Brouwers as members of its governing body.

At 83 years of age, a senior aide said, "he is leaving the stage while still being an able and working person".

The many prestigious awards won by Sir Abed include Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership 1980. He has also won Spanish Order of Civil Merit and Leo Tolstoy International Gold Medal. He was among the Fortune magazine list of the world's 50 greatest leaders in 2014 and 2017.

Born in 1936, he studied accountancy in London. The 1970 cyclone and 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh dramatically changed the direction of his life after he started working as a senior corporate executive at Pakistan Shell.

He left his job and moved to London, where he helped initiate Action Bangladesh and HELP Bangladesh in support of the war of independence from Pakistan. He returned to Bangladesh early in 1972 and started work to support the rebuilding efforts of the new nation.

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