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Dr Shamshad Akhtar elected as first female PSX chairperson

Former State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor and ex-caretaker finance minister, Dr Shamshad Akhtar, was elected as the first female chairperson of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), the bourse said in a statement on Wednesday.

Akhtar, who was appointed as an independent director on the board last month, was “unanimously elected” in a meeting held yesterday, making her the first female chairperson of the PSX in its 73-year history.

In a statement, the PSX called Akhtar a “veteran of the financial markets of Pakistan”, recalling that she served as SBP governor for three years.

She was involved in the restructuring process of banks in East Asian economies and interfaced regularly with the Bank of International Settlement on Basel Standards.

Akhtar worked with the World Bank for 10 years before joining the Asian Development Bank in 1990, where she was holding a top position, overseeing the bank’s operations in a number of countries. She was the ADB’s expert on South East Asian economies.

She said it was a “proud moment” for her to “represent the Pakistan Stock Exchange as its chairperson and join the efforts of the SECP (Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan), the new board and management to take this institution to new heights”.

“I look forward to our joint endeavours to further transform PSX as a premier institution so it can play a critical role in raising its market capitalisation through deepening of debt and equity markets, broadening its investor and product base and service efficiently all its clients upholding high standards of governance,” the statement quoted her as saying.

PSX CEO Farrukh Khan, while welcoming the development, said “we are particularly excited and proud to have someone of the calibre of Dr Akhtar as the chairperson of PSX.”

“Her understanding of capital markets and global experience will be invaluable in the development of capital markets and PSX. The fact that she is the first woman to chair PSX adds to our pride and excitement in welcoming her,” he added.

The current size of the PSX’s board of directors is 11, including seven shareholder directors, three independent directors and the CEO.

The seven shareholder directors were elected at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on April 19 after the term of the previous board of directors expired. The three independent directors were appointed on April 29, the statement said.

The PSX CEO also welcomed the new and returning directors, saying “we have an outstanding new board and I am confident that the newly appointed board of directors will lead and direct the Exchange to even greater heights of success, prosperity and progress for all stakeholders and Pakistan’s capital markets.”

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