THE A LIST

MILLENNIAL TORCHBEARERS IN 2020

LMD shines the spotlight on 25 Sri Lankans from the millennial generation who are poised to feature among the captains of business in the future

It is a given that those who represent the millennial generation – a.k.a. generation Y (by and large, businesspeople aged between 24 and 39, for this purpose) – across the globe are playing their part in expanding businesses and generating wealth not only for themselves but to enhance the livelihoods of scores of others too.

The turbulent times endured by all and sundry in 2020 – in the national as well as business contexts – has meant that the younger generation from among the corporate and professional spheres has been called upon to play a greater role, to ensure that businesses withstand the headwinds and emerge stronger in the post-Covid future.

In the light of these developments and so as to provide a more holistic picture of the local business landscape and its evolution, LMD features 25 prominent millennials in its 2020 A List, many of whom represent the next generation of business leaders vis-à-vis the organisations they represent.

While some have undertaken the task of revamping traditional business segments, others are slowly but surely carving out niches for themselves – and this in turn sheds light on the opportunities there are for young and emerging talent in the country.

– LMD

Hussain Akbarally has served as a Director of Akbar Brothers since 2015 in addition to being a Management Executive of the organisation.

CLAIM TO FAME

Spearheading the group’s ventures into the spheres of energy and hospitality

HIGHLIGHTS

Former management trainee of MAS Holdings
MBA from Harvard Business School
Bachelors in Science from University of Melbourne


Kadija Faiz Alavi is a Senior Executive of menswear solutions provider Hameedia with a background in accounting and finance.

CLAIM TO FAME

Representing the next generation of the business

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Executive of BDO Sri Lanka/Maldives
Former Accounting Administrator of Vista Frozen
Former Audit Trainee of BDO ASEAN
Master’s degree in Financial Economics from the University of Colombo
Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Malaya
Affiliate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)


Danukh Amerasinghe is a member of the travel and tourism industry, and has been a Director of Worldlink Travel Group since 2012.

CLAIM TO FAME

Being part of a niche service provider catering to some of Sri Lanka’s largest and best known corporate houses

HIGHLIGHTS

Director of Sales and Marketing of Amaara Hotels & Resorts
Former intern at BCD Travel, Royal Bank of Scotland and E-WISE respectively
BSc in Economics from University of Bristol


Yasendra Amerasinghe is a Director and the Chief Executive Officer of Carmart, as well as the Chairman of the Ceylon Motor Traders Association.

CLAIM TO FAME

Reinforcing the organisation’s position as one of the longest running automobile importers in Sri Lanka

HIGHLIGHTS

Learning Chair of EO Sri Lanka
Managing Director of Cerebus Classics
BSc in Computer Science from University of Southern California


Zahara Ansary the Country Manager of CIMA Sri Lanka – is a management accountant turned strategic marketer with over 16 years of
work experience.

CLAIM TO FAME

Expertise in analytics, project management, finance transformation, marketing and business strategy

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Manager – Prepaid Churn Management of Bharti Airtel Lanka
Former Assistant Team Manager of WNS Global Services
Former Banking Assistant – Finance & Compliance Department of Nations Trust Bank
MBA from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)


Dr. Shanika Arsecularatne is a Medical Doctor at Christell Skin Clinic, which offers the latest cosmetic skin treatments available across the world.

CLAIM TO FAME

Youngest Sri Lankan to be certified in aesthetic medicine by the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine (AAAM)

HIGHLIGHTS

Medical Officer of Durdans Hospital
MBBS
Postgraduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff University
Diploma from AAAM


Gehan Blok is the Managing Director of Blok & Dino Productions, in addition to roles as stand-up comedian, actor, writer, filmmaker, producer, director, voice artist, digital and content marketing specialist and professional compere.

CLAIM TO FAME

Garnering a growing presence as a YouTube sensation in Sri Lanka

HIGHLIGHTS

Board member of the International Advertising Association – IAA (Sri Lanka)
Member of WAN – IFRA (World Association for Newspapers & News publishers)
Former Head of W NOW
Former Head of Digital Media of Wijaya Newspapers
Former Marketing Manager of Strategic Partnership Solutions
Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)


Shehana Brahmanage has been a Director of Prime Group since 2019, having previously occupied the position of Senior Business Analyst in the organisation.

CLAIM TO FAME

Representing the next generation of the realty group’s leadership profile

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Associate Trainee of KPMG Sri Lanka
Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from University of Greenwich


Naveed Cader is the Executive Chairman of Scope Cinemas, as well as the Co-Founder and Deputy Chairman of Food Studio.

CLAIM TO FAME

Revamping the service experience for local cinema goers and food connoisseurs alike

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Operations Manager of Ramada Colombo


Dmitri Cooray is the Manager Operations of Jetwing Hotels and represents the third generation of the hospitality and travel family business.

CLAIM TO FAME

A passion for hospitality and playing a part in business sustainability

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Management Trainee of Jetwing Hotels
Former Food & Beverage Trainee of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Bachelor of Business in International Hotel and Resort Management from Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School
Diploma in Hotel Management from SHATEC Institutes (Singapore)


Dino Corera is the CEO of Layup, a broadcast and digital media strategist, actor, radio and YouTube personality, stand-up comedian and host.

CLAIM TO FAME

Garnering a growing presence as a YouTube sensation in Sri Lanka

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Manager – Programming of TNL Radio and Manager – New Media of TNL Radio Network
Bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems – IT and Business Management from University of Westminster


Deshal de Mel is the Research Director of Verité Research and an economist with extensive experience in the public and private sectors.

CLAIM TO FAME

Leveraging on economic expertise to provide policy inputs for corporate and research entities

HIGHLIGHTS

Director of Capital Alliance Investments
Director of Sampath Bank
Former Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance
Former Senior Economist of Hayleys
Former Research Economist of the Institute of Policy Studies
Former Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC)
Recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a Young Global Leader in 2019
BA in Economics, Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Oxford
MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics and Political Science


Jithendran Gajendran is a Partner of Gajma & Co and tax consultant who seeks to provide a customised service in taxation and financial services.

CLAIM TO FAME

Tax preparation, personal tax planning, small business tax, bookkeeping, financial advisory and financial accounting

HIGHLIGHTS

GSEA Chair of EO Sri Lanka
Director of Asia Securities
Director of Ceylon Agro Products Holdings
Director of Linear Squared
Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Business from University of Warwick


Jeevan Gnanam is the Co-Founder of Hatch, and Founder and Managing Director of SAKS.

CLAIM TO FAME

Entrepreneurial spark – and encouraging startups

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Chairman of Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM)
Mentor and facilitator for entrepreneurial development for youth in Sri Lanka



Praveen Gnanam is the Director – Innovations of Tokyo Cement Group with extensive experience across the St. Anthony’s conglomerate.

CLAIM TO FAME

Leading the organisation’s efforts to develop and market value added products

HIGHLIGHTS

Director of St. Anthony’s Hardware
Director of Serendipity Retreats
Co-Founder & Director of Dwelling Solutions
Former Analyst – Brand Development of Innovation Protocol
BSc in Business Administration from University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business
International Baccalaureate Diploma from United World College South East Asia


Richard Gunawardene is the Head of Strategic Planning of JAT Holdings, and a marketing professional with multifaceted experience within and outside the group.

CLAIM TO FAME

Contributing towards fostering an agile and innovation-driven culture

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Head of Marketing of JAT Holdings
Cofounder of the property development sector of JAT Holdings
Co-Founder of Ceylon Hemp Effect
Founding member of EO Sri Lanka
Board member of Integration Chair
Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Curtin University


Rakhil Hirdaramani is a Director of the Hirdaramani Group, having joined the company in 2005 – he is responsible for manufacturing and IT.

CLAIM TO FAME

Instrumental in the group’s expansion into the IT services sector

HIGHLIGHTS

Chairman of the Manufacturers Committee of the World Federationof the Sporting
Goods Industry (WFSGI)
Member of the Young Presidents’ Organization


Stasshani Jayawardena is the Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotel Managements and Chairperson of Splendor Media.

CLAIM TO FAME

Helping the group adapt to emerging travel needs as its youngest director

HIGHLIGHTS

Chairperson of Sri Lankan Ambassador of the EY NextGen Club


Mega Kularatne sits on the board of Maga Engineering as Director of Finance & Planning and is a chartered civil engineer.

CLAIM TO FAME

Heading the company’s water supply construction sector that has garnered broad recognition

HIGHLIGHTS

Civil Engineering & Commerce graduate from Monash University
Master of Structures from the University of Melbourne


Rajeev Pandithage is the General Manager – Mercedes-Benz and After Sales of Diesel & Motor Engineering.

CLAIM TO FAME

Marketing management, strategic development, operations management, account management, brand management and business development

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Inventory Controller of Bitzer Australia
BBA in Economics and Management from Monash University


Selyna Peiris is an attorney-at-law and the Director of Business Development of Selyn – among the largest social enterprises in the country.

CLAIM TO FAME

Promoting sustainable livelihoods and business development

HIGHLIGHTS

Former Deputy Director – Programmes of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation
Former Consultant of International Alert
Former Intern at UNIDO, UNODC and ALDE Party respectively
Masters in Advanced International Studies – International Relations and Affairs from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna
LLM in International Business from UCL
LLB from the University of Hull


Shamal Perera was appointed to the board of Access Engineering as a Non-Executive Director with effect from September, having joined Access International in 2009 as Director – Healthcare.

CLAIM TO FAME

Playing a pivotal role in the growth of the business

HIGHLIGHTS

Director of Ninewells Hospital
MBA from University of Buckingham


Tanaz Pestonjee  is the Head of Lifestyle Brands of Abans

CLAIM TO FAME

Attracting leading global lifestyle brands to the country

HIGHLIGHTS

Alumnus of Monash University (Melbourne)


Chinthana Wegapitiya is the Deputy General Manager of LAUGFS Solutions, a subsidiary of LAUGFS Holdings.

CLAIM TO FAME

Actively expanding the group’s lifestyle retail business

HIGHLIGHTS

Assistant General Manager of LAUGFS Eco Sri
MBA from University of Kelaniya


Jiffry Zulfer is the Founder and CEO of the homegrown taxi hailing app PickMe (Digital Mobility Solutions Lanka).

CLAIM TO FAME

Embracing technology to take the ride hailing business model to the next level

HIGHLIGHTS

A former Chief Technology Officer and Founding Management Team of Digital Commerce Lanka
Former Programmer, Tech Lead and PM of Zeelabs