Cover Story

Surging to the Summit with Power

Colors Magazine January 2020 Issue Cover.

Electricity generation in Bangladesh is now synonymous with Summit Power International. Committed to providing electricity to all for a country that is fast growing and hungry for power, the CEO and Managing Director and the face of the company Ayesha Aziz Khan narrates her journey and shares her vision with Arka Dev Biswas of Colors.

Ayesha Aziz Khan sports a flawless red carpet look.
Photographer: Kazi Mukul.

A Chip of the Old Block
Being brought up in an extended family that found greater unity through speaking about business and entrepreneurship at the dinner table, Ayesha was always surrounded by Summit and wanted to play a part in the future of Summit at some point in time. Summit became a part of her plans and ambition, where she knew that she would be leading the business conglomerate as soon as she completes her education. “We were always told that education should be our main priority and that we can pursue whatever we desire after completing our studies. I knew that I would be coming back and taking up the responsibility of Summit, and I was completely on board with the idea,” Ayesha says. Having all family members working together, it became evident with time that she would be a part of the family business since 2003.

Shattering Notions
Summit Power International is the largest independent power producer (IPP) in Bangladesh, and it takes a strong personality to make it a market giant. Ayesha Aziz Khan has been shattering notions in a society that assumed that power positions were reserved for men, due to patriarchal thought that has been indoctrinated. She takes this notion and breaks the glass ceiling of how power positions are perceived. Holding multiple positions across multiple institutes in Summit Group of Companies using her acumen to the fullest of extent, shows how positions are merely a meritocratic measure of how good an individual is in their work. The embodiment of how far hard work and perseverance can women do is fully enshrined in the work Ayesha has been doing. Ensuring that the infrastructures exist for everyone and that opportunities are always available for all is something that she resonates with. Having to experience the turbulent cycles of how meetings and businesses have a set perception, Ayesha has become more conscientious about how the first impression and impact are important to set the tone of the environment.

Ayesha graceful and stylish in a sari.

Providing Electricity to all
For a country like Bangladesh, development has been multi-faceted, in terms of quality of life, providing improved healthcare at almost every level, maintaining economic growth rates of expected levels, if not more, and being declared a lower-middle-income country. All these achievements and more always tend to overshadow the more nuanced problems Bangladesh still may face at the root levels. There are still rural areas in the country that are deprived of electricity and in the midst of such innovation and development, the country still needs time to come to grips with the niche troubles that rural Bangladesh faces.

The subsidiaries of Summit Power International have taken up responsibility of playing its part in ensuring that development of Bangladesh is not hindered by being in the dark. Summit Power International envisions of providing cost-effective electricity to the people where tier-based pricing levels would help all segments of society to have access to electricity through the government. Effectively Summit Power International to produce electricity for the government, which the government distributes among the general population through national power grid and also regasifies imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) that is supplied to businesses and households through the national gas grid. Summit Group of Companies include the largest private fibre optics transmission network – Summit Communications, largest private off-dock – Summit Alliance Port, largest private fuel importer, distributor and storage service provider – Summit Oil & Shipping, hi-tech park – Summit Technopolis, and upcoming projects are telecommunications towers and hospitality infrastructure development. The process is an overly simplified version of what pragmatically happens, but the essence of the process is exactly that. What Summit regularly has to maintain is being price competitive in a market that is frequently updating itself in terms of technology, as well as incremental cost. Summit innovates itself on a regular basis to keep itself both updated and maintain prices that are applicable for rural areas.

Sustainable producers for the future
Summit Power International utilizes Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO)/High Speed Diesel (HSD) and Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) which are innovative in different aspects. The benefits of using HSD-and-RLNG-powered turbines to produce electricity are that they do not harm the environment to the extent that other inputs have done. In the ongoing project in Meghnaghat, Summit will be using GE’s 9HA gas turbine engine which is the world’s largest and tested to be the most efficient gas turbine. 

Maintaining a modernized approach to energy production as well as being aware of the harms that inputs have on environment is a behemoth task. Summit Power International tries to ensure that the tier-based pricing model does not force consumers to opt-out of consuming electricity, but rather consumption patterns dictate the cost. Additionally, sustainable energy production and green technology has been a bigger highlight with global warming threatening the well-being, The power production industry plays the most significant role in the world in terms of maintaining temperatures –something, which has been recognized by the founder and chairperson of Summit Muhammed Aziz Khan and his daughter Ayesha Aziz Khan. They maintain that life has to be made sustainable and not merely for the sake of making profits like most businesses tend to do. It takes a great amount of understanding and affection towards one’s own identity to genuinely want to ensure that improvement in quality of life for everyone, does not have to be made at the cost of environment where all live in. For that, Summit Power International’s and the group’s corporate social responsibility shows moral and ethical principles that are indoctrinated into their system throughout.

Ayesha always exudes sartorial elegance.

Accolades, Growth and Vision
Subsidiaries of Summit Power International have been awarded locally and internationally i.e. – Best Private Power Generation Company in the country five times in a row, Best Fast Track Power Project Award by Asian Power Awards, Silver Award at Asian Power Awards 2018 in Indonesia, International Star for Leadership in Quality Award by Business Initiative Directions (BID).

Summit’s leadership views the future of Bangladesh in the highest of regards. A nation with a population of 165 million shows vast potential in economic growth that can be achieved in the future where Summit envisions Bangladesh to have access to reliable, affordable and efficient electricity provision, which would be available everywhere in the country, through use of strategic promotion and establishment of LNG import infrastructure that would help minimise gas shortages. These small building blocks would lead to the boom of growth and development that would result in greater opportunities for the entire power production industry. All these together create the vision for Summit, through the eyes of a leader who has grown from within the family that has understanding of how to elevate the standard of quality.

Sarah Karim has brilliantly interpreted the personality traits of Ayesha while designing the wardrobe for the young and spirited business icon.

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