Foreign Policy Blogs

Dr. Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank Dismissed From Leadership Role

Dr. Mohammad Yunus has been fired from his role as managing director of Grameen Bank, essentially because he did not seek approval of his leadership role from Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of Bangladesh, from the moment he turned 61.  Really, that’s the reason he was fired earlier today.

According to the New York Times:

“A senior financial regulator in Bangladesh, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Bangladesh Bank had notified Grameen Bank and the government that they had to seek the central bank’s permission for Mr. Yunus to remain the managing director of Grameen. But those notifications were routinely ignored by both Grameen and the government.”

So the charge behind Md. Yunus’ dismissal as the leader of the entity that he founded was that he did not accede to a law that came into the books well after he founded the organization in 1976--an organization from which he has now been summarily dismissed; an organization wherein he appointed himself its managing director, as founders are often inclined-no, keen-to do.

All this even though the government owns only 25% of Grameen.  The rest of the bank is owned by the 8.3 million people who have taken out $10 billion in loans. It is likely that the collective opinion of all those millions of honors would have sided with Dr. Yunus’ argument that without his leadership the bank might suffer a run on its deposits.

In any other corporation, this law and its current application would be routinely abrogated as it has been for years now.  Now Dr. Yunus has stayed on in his leadership position for a longer term than was deemed proper. He was supposed to have left the bank past the 60 year retirement mark, but stayed on and argued that his leadership would provide a guiding hand to steer an institution that has had such an outsized impact on both Bangladeshi socio-economics and the perception of Bangladeshi socio-economics.

Whatever Dr. Yunus argument–self-serving as it is–the logic of the applicability of the law at a time when Dr. Yunus has been under severe public and private scrutiny seems quite suspect.  How to put aside the sinking suspicion that this has been a move by the ruling Awami League to get rid of a rather popular political opponent?    After all why was he not terminated from his self-adjudicated appointment five years ago, indeed three years ago, before he began to put together a political party of his own?



Faheem Haider
Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link:

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