Teejay Lanka PLC, Sri Lanka’s largest textile manufacturer, has announced that distinguished business leader Mr Ajit Gunewardene is to be appointed Chairman with effect from 17th February 2022, consequent to his appointment as an independent non-executive director of the Company on 1st February.
Mr Gunewardene, a former Deputy Chairman of John Keells Holdings (JKH) and a former Chairman of Nations Trust Bank (NTB) and Union Assurance, will succeed Mr Bill Lam, who resigns on 17th February, ending a 13-year stint at the helm of the Company.
Announcing the succession, Teejay Lanka said Mr Gunewardene’s appointment is expected to be pivotal to the growth journey of the Company, which has already announced targets of becoming a US$ 300 million enterprise by 2023 and a US$ 500 million business in the longer term.
“Mr Ajit Gunewardene’s depth of multi-sector managerial experience, his renowned skills as a business strategist and innovator and his stellar record as brand builder will be of immense value to Teejay Lanka PLC, as it embarks on its next phase of growth,” the Company said.
Mr Gunewardene is the Founder and Chairman of Bluestone Capital Ltd., a leading private equity investment company. He is the Founder Chairman of Digital Mobility Solutions Pvt Ltd., better known as ‘PickMe’ – the leading ride hailing and delivery company in Sri Lanka, and Chairman of Fintrex Finance Ltd., a Central Bank of Sri Lanka registered non-bank financial institution. He is also a Council Member of the University of Colombo.
One of Sri Lanka’s most respected corporate personalities, Mr Gunewardene’s strategic direction and business insight is credited with enabling John Keells Holdings PLC to grow from a Market Cap of Rs 1 billion in 1992 to Rs 190 billion in 2016. In his 34 years at the company, his focus was on real estate, leisure, financial services and retail and Mr Gunewardene led the Keells companies in these sectors to market leadership positions.
In retail, Mr Gunewardene was instrumental in mentoring and guiding the island’s largest branded retail business ‘ODEL.’ As its seed investor and chairman, he guided the management of the company, took it public and sold the business in 2014.
Mr Gunewardene functioned as the Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) from 2000 – 2003. He was also an advisor to the various governments in Sri Lanka, functioning independently without any political affiliations. He was a member of the Prime Minister’s Taskforce for Financial Sector Reform and also functioned as a Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. He served a member of the Board of the Board of Investment (BOI) and has also headed the Task Force for Foreign Direct Investment and Exports.
Teejay Lanka was the first textile manufacturer in Sri Lanka to receive membership of the US Cotton Trust Protocol, and is a public quoted company with 40 per cent public ownership. The company is backed by Sri Lanka’s largest apparel exporter Brandix Lanka which has a 32 per cent stake. Pacific Textiles of Hong Kong whose key shareholder is the Tokyo Stock Exchange listed Toray Industries Inc., owns 27 per cent of Teejay Lanka.
The Company has been adjudged the Best Textile Exporter in Sri Lanka at the Presidential Export Awards presented by the Export Development Board (EDB) and has been named among the 100 Most Respected Companies in Sri Lanka by LMD.
An ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007 compliant company and the first in the industry to develop green fabric, Teejay has been listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) since 2011 and was included in the S&P Top 20 Index in Sri Lanka. The Company has also been named among the Forbes ‘200 Best under a Billion in Asia’ and been recognised as the ‘International Textile Firm of the Year’ and the ‘International Dyer and Finisher’ by World Textile Institute, London.