Sir Abed to guide future Brac strategy

Staff Correspondent

Founder and Chair Emeritus of BRAC Sir Fazle Hasan Abed yesterday in a letter said that after stepping down from his role as chairman of the non-government organisation, he would now focus on guiding the future strategy of BRAC.

“Now, at the age of 83, I feel it is the right time for me to step down from my role as chairperson and focus my time on guiding the future strategy of BRAC,” he said in the open letter to his colleagues.

“Hence, I am retiring from my role as the chairperson of BRAC Bangladesh and BRAC International Governing Bodies,” he said.

“I will continue to come to office. However, in the coming months, I will focus my time on shaping the global strategy and governance structure of BRAC.”

About his decision to retire from the top post, Abed said, “Over the past year, a process has been underway to develop BRAC’s global strategy. I would like to invest time in ensuring that the leadership succession and governance structures are in place to strengthen our ability to progress as a unified, ‘One BRAC’ team globally.”

About the future plan of BRAC, Abed wrote, a “sustainable and cohesive global operating structure” was much needed as the organisation aimed to expand in the next 10 years.  

“While remaining as Chair Emeritus of BRAC, I will also work closely with respective leadership teams to ensure a smooth and successful transition.”

He said for the past few years, he had put a a lot of thought and preparation into his succession plans.

“As you know, I handed over my management responsibilities as the Executive Director of BRAC at the age of 65 in 2001 and remained on the Board as Founder and Chairperson. Transitioning from the governance role of BRAC and BRAC International Boards has also been on my mind for quite some time.”

Before sharing his decision, Abed in the letter described how BRAC became his story.

“I started BRAC when I was 36. Growing up, starting an NGO and working in the remote villages of Bangladesh were never in my plans. With my privileged upbringing, 14 years in London, first as a student, then as a Chartered Management Accountant, having a comfortable lifestyle as a multinational company’s executive — my life was on an entirely different trajectory.”

He said the devastating Bhola cyclone of 1970 was a turning point in his life. He also wrote that the liberation war, which began soon after the cyclone incident, completely transformed him.

“I sold my flat in London for 16,000 pounds and returned home in January 1972. With that money and some funds from a few close friends, I set up a relief and rehabilitation project in the remote area of Sulla. The Sulla project covered three unions in the Sunamganj and Habiganj districts in northeastern Bangladesh. That is how BRAC was born.”

Abed also had a few words of encouragement for those coming after him — Dr Muhammad Musa, who joined as the executive director of BRAC International in May 2019, and Asif Saleh, who was appointed as the executive director of BRAC Bangladesh.

“I am confident in their ability to lead BRAC. Together, they will ensure that we continue to build an equal world.  

“I have spent my life watching optimism triumph over despair when the light of self-belief is sparked in people. As a team, I want us to keep lighting these sparks. Our work should always reflect our faith in human spirit and our respect for their inherent power.”

Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, renowned academic, economist and policymaker will join BRAC as chairperson. Ameerah Haq, former UN undersecretary general for the Department of Field Support, has been elected as the chairperson of the BRAC International.

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