This is more important for this blog because he is a Bangladeshi leading a Multi-National Company. Not just any MNC, it is Citigroup. And he simply doesn't work as a puppet, he is actually calling the shots. While many comments in this blog have pointed out that there is actually Bangladeshi leadership in manufacturing, the Citibank-Mamun Rashid thing is a entirely different deal. First, Mamun Rashid isn't a glorified plant manager with a CEO title. Nor is he a paper pusher or a rubber stamp for head office. He isn't here operating in Bangladesh because Citibank New York officials couldn't be bothered with mundane tasks.
Rashid doesn't manufacture low cost products with a unruly local workforce where MNCs are forced to go with local talent. He actually manages everything Citigroup in Bangladesh. This includes high premium banking. Plainly Citigroup didn't put him here because they needed any Bangladeshi they could find. He is there simply because of his banking talent. And seeing him on the move is more spectacular. He manages to move faster than Standard Chartered or HSBC (otherwise known (literally) as East India Company). He is eager to take these colonial antiquities on with full force.
But on a personal note, most importantly, he stands up to represent Bangladesh. He always promotes Bangladesh in a way that no CEO of Grameenphone or any other MNC has never done or will ever do. Neither Anders Jensen nor Oddver Hesjedal ever utter anything starting with the letter B. Its always about how Telenor did this and Telenor did that. Grameenphone this, Grameenphone that. It makes my ears bleed. GP only started focusing on CSR to repair their tainted image. Even then its CSR in a sense that 2% actually goes for CSR and 98% goes to ads saying that they are indeed actively in CSR (while embezzling more in the process). Why Mamun Rashid felt he had to stoop so low to appear in such a Grameenphone ad is surprising when you consider the vast differences in ideologies between them.
Furthermore unlike the Grameenphone CEOs, Rashid's interviews are always Bangladesh focused. And it isn't about how Citibank delivers 90% mobile coverage to 95% of the people. For him it is always about what Bangladesh has to offer for international businesses, its investment prospects, its growth and how Citibank fits into this scenario. It is never about Citibank as a entity, but it is about the partnership prospects with a country he is from. He is the biggest promoter of Bangladesh I have seen in a long time and long overdue from a MNC. And he is always there at conferences touting Bangladesh and never rants on how Citibank alleviated poverty in Bangladesh through mobile phones. MNCs also owe him for the example he is leading on behalf of them.
Now back from this praise, is 64% growth really that good? I am hearing reports and rumors that Brac Bank may post a profit growth over 70% this year. And this year is supposed to be Brac Bank's 'bad' year. But despite this growth which will probably be overshadowed by local banks and foreign failures, the best reason for Citibank to stay in Bangladesh is Mamun Rashid himself.
Update: This wasn't written to offend anyone. But to encourage those of you at MNCs to reach the top to make the difference Bangladesh needs. Mamun Rashid's praise is long overdue.