Zia Chishti out as TRG Pakistan elects new board

A day after gearing up for a fight to retain his seat, scandal hit founder decided to fold his hand and not seek re-election to the board

KARACHI: TRG Pakistan, at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EoGM) held on January 11, elected a new board of directors which saw the company founder Muhammad Ziaullah Khan Chishti being ousted from the board.

The meeting was held primarily to elect a new board of directors for the company.

Earlier, 26 contestants had applied to become one of the 10 elected directors of the company. TRGs founder, Muhammad Ziaullah Khan Chishti, was not among them. A day earlier his name, as well as that of his mother, along with a few of his associates was on the list of proxies that had been nominated for the voting. Zia seemed to have given his proxy to Mahmood Farooq. But once the voting ended, neither him nor his associates were in the top ten recipients of vote shares, meaning he was out of the board.

The elected members of the companies board include Khaldoon Bin Latif, Farrukh Imdad, Hasnain Aslam, Waleed Tariq Saigol, John Leone, Patrick Mc Ginnis, Zafar Iqbal Sobani, Abid Hussain, Asad Nasir, and Suleman Lalani. They will serve for a term of three years commencing January 14, 2022.

The company now has nine independent directors, including three from JS Group, two from Pinebridge Investments, one from Faysal Funds, Maple Capital, and Hamdard respectively, and Hasnain Alam who was re-elected as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Zafar Sobani, who got re-elected, was also previously an independent director on the board. The company is yet to decide on a female director for the board of directors.

Chishti who was one of the 26 individuals contesting, despite having the opportunity to vote for himself and re-elect himself on board, voted in favor of Pinebridge, a New York based investment fund, thereby removing himself from the competition.

Until before the EoGM, it was uncertain whether Chishti would contest himself or give his proxy to Pinebridge. What this means is despite being a shareholder and the founder of the company, Zia has the same amount of control over the company and its performance as a regular shareholder. The only difference, however, is the proportion of his shareholding, which is said to be between 15 to 20 per cent of the company’s shares.

On November 29, 2021, Zia Chishti, the founder of TRG resigned as CEO and director of TRG Pakistan after Tatiana Spottiswoode, a 23 year old former employee of Afiniti came out with detailed allegations against Chishti in a sworn testimony before Congress given a fortnight earlier.

TRG at the PSX

This board election was important considering 85 per cent of the company’s shares are free float, giving activist investors a chance to launch a bid to acquire controlling stake on the board.

The election took three hours to complete before the results were announced during market hours.

For the first half of the day, TRG shed it’s price, however, in the second half the share price moved up with the company closing up 2.07 points or 1.90 per cent. The share opened at Rs110.11 and hit a high of Rs112.90, and a low of Rs106.25.


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Ariba Shahid
The author is a business journalist at Profit. She can be reached at [email protected] or at twitter.com/AribaShahid


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