BBC: Bangladesh Nobel Winner Muhammad Yunus is Sacked

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus has been fired from the Grameen microfinance bank he founded, bank officials have told the BBC.

“Bangladesh Bank has relieved Yunus of his duties as managing director of the Grameen Bank,” Muzammel Huq, Grameen Bank chairman said.

Correspondents say that the removal of Prof Yunus is the culmination of a long-running feud with the government.

He fell out with PM Sheikh Hasina in 2007 when trying to set up a new party.

The government owns a 25% stake in Grameen, which pioneered the microfinance concept of lending small amounts of money to the poor which has been replicated worldwide.

Bangladesh Bank said that Prof Yunus has violated the country’s retirement laws by staying on as Grameen’s head long past the mandatory retirement age of 60. Prof Yunus is 70.

Mr Huq also said that Prof Yunus also did not get the required approval from Bangladesh Bank when he was appointed managing director in 1999.

“Grameen Bank by-laws clearly state that the managing director should be appointed by the board with the prior approval of the Bangladesh Bank,’” he said.

Mr Huq said a letter from the central bank ordering the removal of Prof Yunus has been sent to the Grameen Bank.

“The bank’s senior most managing director will automatically becomes the [interim] managing director. I will convene a board meeting very soon and it will soon appoint a committee to find a [permanent] managing director.”

Source: BBC News (link opens in a new window)