Written by – Siyathma at OmeBiz
Sri Lanka is home to many leading corporate leaders and entrepreneurs. Being a child of a well-known successful leader is quite stressful, everyone in society expects you to be just as successful, or more. Here is a list of corporate leaders and entrepreneurs who have marked their own place up the corporate ladder and the market, just as successfully as their parents (in no particular order).
Ken Balendra was the first Sri Lankan to be appointed as the Chairman of John Keells Holdings in 1990. This great achievement was followed by him being elected as Chairman in various leading companies and government institutions in Sri Lanka such as the Bank of Ceylon, Ceylon Tobacco Company, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Brandix and more.
Ken Balendra achieved many honorary awards and titles such as the ‘Deshamanya’ title in 1998 for his highly meritorious service and the ‘Cavaliers Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland’ for his great service to Poland. Moreover, in 1998 he was named as the ‘Sri Lankan of the Year’ and in 2003 he was voted as the ‘Most Effective Business Leader in Sri Lanka’.
His son Krishan Balendra was the youngest person to be appointed as the Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange in 2011. Currently, he is the Chairman of Nations Trust Bank and the Deputy Chairman of John Keells Holdings where he is responsible for the Leisure and Transportation industry groups, John Keells Stock Brokers and John Keells Office Automation. He is also the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Sri Lanka. Mr. Krishan Balendra has truly marked his own place in the industry with his many achievements.
D. Hasitha S. and D. Stasshani T. Jayawardena
Harry Jayawardene is one of the most influential business tycoons and investors in Sri Lanka. He was listed as one of the richest Sri Lankan’s. Harry Jayawardene served as the Director of HNB and was the former Chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Sri Lankan Airlines.
Currently, Harry Jayawardene is the Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Stassen Group, which is one of Sri Lanka’s premier conglomerates. Stassen Group commenced their operations in 1977, where they started off by exporting bulk tea, tea bags and packeted tea. He is also part of the board of directors in companies such as Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC, Aitken Spence, Lanka Bell and many more.
Moreover, Harry Jayawardene was the only Sri Lankan to be bestowed the Knight Cross of Dannenberg for his outstanding contribution to Denmark and for nurturing ties between Sri Lanka and Denmark.
Hasitha S. Jayawardena
Stasshani T. Jayawardena
In 2003, Stasshani Jayawardena was known to be one of the youngest interns at the Clinton Foundation. She continued in her father’s footsteps as well by being on the board of directors at companies such as Stassen Group, Aitken Spence and more.
In 2016, Stasshani Jayawardena was appointed as the Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotel Management PVT Ltd. She is responsible for the overall tourism sector of the group. Moreover, she is the Founder and Chairman of CUURATE, which provides a curated travel experience in Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Rusi S. Captain
The father and son duo, Sohli and Rusi Captain are among the richest people in Sri Lanka. The family were known to be the major shareholders of John Keells Holdings and Chemical Industries Colombo. Sohli Captain is known for being a leading business tycoon. He initiated the company Polypak Secco and now it is one of the largest plastic packaging solution providers in Sri Lanka.
Sohli Captain was also given the ‘Deshamanya’ title for his highly meritorious service.
Rusi S. Captain is the Director of Polypack Secco and Non – Executive director of HNB PLC, CIC Holdings PLC and more privately owned companies. Rusi Captain is known to be a skilled entrepreneur just like his father, and moreover, he is a shrewd investor.
Shiwantha Dias and Shalin Balasuriya
The late Janet Balasuriya created a pioneering and household brand ‘Janet Ayurveda’ which manufactures Ayurvedic beauty and personal care. It is not only a popular local brand but it is known internationally as well. Janet products are sold in countries such as Australia, France, Germany and more.
In 2003, Janet Balasuriya was honoured with the ‘Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World’ award presented by the Star Group of the USA. Her legacy has still continued onto this date.
Her two sons, Shiwantha Dias and Shalin Balasuriya are the Co-founders and Directors of Spa Ceylon, yet another household brand that is as successful as Janet Ayurveda. There is no doubt that no matter where you go around in Colombo that you will see Spa Ceylon shops and spas everywhere. Spa Ceylon started its operations in 2009 and ever since it has only grown to become the world’s largest luxury Ayurveda chain. They have over 30 signature boutiques and spas located across South Asia and the Far East and Europe.
In the World Luxury Spa awards 2017 held in Hanoi, Vietnam, Spa Ceylon marked its global dominance by winning three major awards; Best Luxury Ayurveda Spas, Continent awards for Best Luxury Spa Group, and the Regional Award for Best Luxury Urban Escape.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of ‘Does Success Breed Success?’