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Board of Directors

Chairman Susantha Ratnayake was appointed as the Chairman and CEO of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) in January 2006 and has served on the JKH Board since 1992/1993 and has 38 years of management experience, all of which is within the John Keells Group. He is a past Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon.

Ajit Gunewardene is the Deputy Chairman of John Keells Holdings PLC and has been a member of the Board for over 24 years. He is a Director of several companies in the John Keells Group and is the Chairman of Union Assurance PLC. He is a member of the Board of SLINTEC, a company established for the development of nanotechnology in Sri Lanka under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Technology. He is also a member of the Tourism Advisory Committee appointed by the Minister of Tourism Development. He has also served as the Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange and Nations Trust Bank PLC. Ajit has a degree in Economics and brings over 34 years of management experience.

Appointed to the John Keells Holdings PLC Board during 2002/03, Ronnie, as Group Finance Director, has overall responsibility for the Group’s Finance and Accounting, Taxation, Corporate Finance and Strategy, Treasury, and the Information Technology functions. He is also a Director of several companies in the John Keells Group. He was previously the Managing Director of Anglo American Corporation (Central Africa) Limited in Zambia.

He has over 40 years of finance and general management experience in Sri Lanka and abroad. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK, and the Society of Certified Management Accountants, Sri Lanka and holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Previously, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors, he is currently a member of the Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Krishan Balendra has responsibility for the Leisure industry group and John Keells Stock Brokers. He also serves as the Chairman of Nations Trust Bank PLC and is the Hon. Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Sri Lanka. He is a former Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange. He started his professional career at UBS Warburg, Hong Kong, in investment banking, focusing primarily on equity capital markets. After a four year stint in Hong Kong, he continued his career in corporate finance at Aitken Spence PLC, Sri Lanka prior to joining JKH. Krishan holds a law degree (LLB) from the University of London and an MBA from INSEAD.

Gihan Cooray is responsible for the Retail sector, the Corporate Finance and Strategy division, Group Treasury function, John Keells Capital - the investment banking arm of the Group and John Keells Research. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Nations Trust Bank PLC. Gihan holds an MBA from the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University, Houston, Texas. He is an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK, a certified management accountant of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, Australia and has a Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. He serves as a member of the Economic Planning Steering Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Amal Cabraal is a former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Unilever Sri Lanka. He has over 3 decades of business experience in general management, marketing and sales in Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, India and Bangladesh. He is presently the NonExecutive Chairman of CIC Feeds (Private) Limited and an Independent Non-Executive Director of Hatton National Bank PLC, Ceylon Beverage Holdings PLC, Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC, Silvermill Investment Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and a member of the Supervisory Board of Associated Motorways (Private) Ltd. He has recently been appointed to the Monetary Policy Consultative Committee of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and is a committee member of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and also serves on the Management Committee of the Mercantile Services Provident Society. A Chartered Marketer by profession and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing - UK, he holds a MBA from the University of Colombo and is an alumnus of INSEAD-France.

Nihal Fonseka is a career banker and served as the Chief Executive Officer/Ex-Officio Director of DFCC Bank from 2000 until his retirement in 2013. He is currently a Member of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Non-Executive Director of Phoenix Ventures Pvt Ltd, Chairman of the Group Audit Committee of Brandix Lanka Limited and President of the Sri Lanka National Advisory Council of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments, UK.

Prior to joining the DFCC Bank, he was the Deputy Chief Executive of HSBC Sri Lanka. He is a past Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange and the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP). He has also served as a Director of the Employees’ Trust Fund Board and as a member of the Presidential Commission on Taxation (2009), National Procurement Commission and Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA). He holds a BSc from the University of Ceylon, Colombo, is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Studies, (FIB) UK and a member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments, (MCSI) UK.

Premila Perera was appointed to the Board of the Company with effect from 1 July 2014 as an Independent Non-Executive Director. Premila Perera, formerly a Partner, KPMG in Sri Lanka, also served as the Global Firms Regional Tax Director for ASPAC in 2000/01, as a member of the Global Task Force commissioned in 1998, to advise the International Board of KPMG on future directions in determining long term strategic plans, and faculty of the KPMG International Tax Business School.

She also served a period of secondment with the US Firm’s National Tax Office in Washington DC, and was a participant at the KPMG-INSEAD International Banking School programme. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, currently serves as an Independent Director and Chairperson of the Audit Committee of Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC, and served as a Non-Executive Director of Holcim (Lanka) Limited until August 2016.

Ashroff Omar is the Chief Executive Officer of the Brandix Group. He also serves as a Director on numerous corporate Boards including subsidiaries under the umbrella of Phoenix Ventures, and the national body of the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC). He also serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the United States-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission.

He is the Founder Chair of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), the apex body of the Sri Lankan apparel industry, in addition to chairing the Advisory Committee on Garments of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and being a frequent spokesperson for the apparel industry both in Sri Lanka and abroad. He has also spearheaded the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association as its Chair.

In his capacity as the Regional CEO for South Asia, Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya heads the South Asian Operations of the Axiata Group Bhd., spanning Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India. Axiata is Asia’s second largest Telecommunications Group.

Up to and including the year 2016, he additionally functioned as the Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC. He is a past Chairman of GSM Asia Pacific - the regional interest group of the GSM Association, and also serves on the Board of the TM Forum (TMF), and was also honoured by the GSM Association as the first recipient of the “Outstanding Contribution to the Asian Mobile Industry” Award in 2016.

Dr. Wijayasuriya graduated from the University of Cambridge, UK in 1989. He subsequently obtained his PhD in Digital Mobile Communications from the University of Bristol UK in 1994. A Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Engineering Technology UK, Dr. Wijayasuriya also holds an MBA from the University of Warwick, UK.

Dr. Wijayasuriya has published widely on the subject of digital mobile communications, including research papers in publications of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) USA, Royal Society and the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET) UK.