The Islamabad High Court, on Friday, restored Salman Elahi Malik as chief executive of Pak Datacom Ltd (PDL) – one of the leading ICT solution providers operating in Pakistan – after dismissing allegations levelled against him.
Malik was dismissed from his post on June 8 through a PDL Board Resolution. Daily Jang, in its June 28 edition, reported that Malik was terminated allegedly for forgery, opening illegal company bank accounts and acting beyond his authority. Malik, however, refuted the allegations and refused to comment, saying the matter was subjudice. On June 11, he filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court to challenge his removal.
An official familiar with the matter said IHC declared the June 8 resolution by PDL – which resulted in the dismissal of Malik – as illegal and restored him to the position of Chief Executive Officer, Pak Datacom, which is a public enterprise listed on the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad stock exchanges.
“I will work in the interest of my company and the investors,” Malik said following the verdict. He added that the court, in particular, observed that there was some malafide intention behind passing of the resolution. During the proceedings, he added, the court refused to accept another resolution purportedly passed by the board for his removal.
According to media reports, Malik was terminated for acting beyond his powers and not working in the interest of the company. However, the company achieved several milestones during his brief tenure as its chief.
Malik took over as CEO, PDL on December 20, 2011 and helped the company double its stock value.
PDL’s stock price rose to Rs63.3 on June 8, 2012 when Malik was dismissed from his post, the highest price it reached in the past year. PDL’s shares were trading at Rs27.5 on December 20, 2011, the day Malik joined the company.
The company’s market capitalisation as of June 29 was Rs616.38 million. It has more than $5 million in short-term assets, an official said.
A look at the chart of PDL’s stock price shows that the company has been growing consistently since Malik has joined. The company, which had reported a net loss of Rs29.9 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2011, posted a net profit of Rs26.8 million in the same quarter in fiscal 2012.
This phenomenal growth was because of the decisions Malik had taken and projects the company has won in his leadership, said an official. Under Malik’s supervision, PDL has won a strategic satellite communication project – the $10 million plus project is the biggest ever in the history of PDL, according to the official. The company was after this project for around two years before Malik sealed the deal for his company in April 2012, according to an official familiar with the matter.
His performance was also acknowledged by Management Association of Pakistan, which awarded the company Corporate Excellence Award – the oldest and most prestigious corporate award – for best corporate governance in the telecom sector last year. PDL, the only company in the Pakistan’s ICT sector to win this honour, was chosen for this award due to its high level management techniques in the telecom sector. The award to the company is actually an award for the CEO for running a good show, according to the official.
After joining the company, Malik was able to open an office in Dubai Internet and Media City, a plan made a year before his appointment but could not be implemented. PDL has rented a 591-square feet Dubai office for 140,000 UAE Dirham – the inquiry report against Malik cited this amount as higher than the usual value for such a place. The Dubai office will increase revenue flow from the international market and earn valuable foreign exchange for Pakistan, the official said.
The official also said that Malik had been scrutinising PDL’s projects as per company’s interest, which has created difference between him and outsiders who want to benefit from these projects at the cost of shareholders investments.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2012.
More in BusinessGas supply suspension period extended to three days