Rajeeva Bandaranaike

In conversation with Ruwandi Perera

Your alma maters are…?
S. Thomas’ Preparatory School and S. Thomas’ College (Mount Lavinia).

If you were not involved in this profession today, what would you be doing?
Perhaps I would have been a diplomat.

What has given you the greatest sense of professional achievement?
I think that’s yet to come.

What do you love the most about your job?
The ability to help people create wealth is very satisfying.

What is a typical day at work like for you?
I begin by reading my emails and the newspapers, and then take the plunge!
Given the nature of my job, the buck stops with me so every day is a new experience and somewhat unstructured. I meet many people and staff throughout the day, make endless calls, read document reviews, attend to approvals, check more emails, and participate in presentations and meetings.
But amid all this, I find the time to walk around the office and drink many cups of plain tea in between! After a hectic day, things tend to quieten down by about 6 o’clock in the evening.

So how do you handle difficult situations and people?
This comes naturally to me. I’m a very patient person – and I think this helps me understand and deal with difficult people and situations.

Could you describe your family?
My wife is a lawyer in private practice and my son entered university recently.

What did you want to become when you were a youngster?
I wanted to become a pilot but never got very far with that plan!

Could you share your favourite childhood memory with us?
Playing softball cricket in the neighbourhood!

What is the most outrageous or extreme thing you’ve done?
The most outrageous experience was probably when I gave up a perfectly stable job some years ago and ventured into managing two companies in quick succession in a fiercely competitive industry. I survived and managed both companies, and have become richer by the experience.

And what has been your most embarrassing moment so far?
Probably when I left my first job after five years of working for the company and had to make a farewell speech. I remember finding myself overcome with so much emotion and being completely stuck for words. My boss helped me out at that point.

If you have six months off work, what would you like to do?
I’d like to travel to exotic places.

What are your favourite places to visit in Sri Lanka?
Kandy, Anuradhapura and Jaffna.

And your favourite overseas holiday destination is…?
Europe is definitely my favourite.

What are your three favourite brands?
Clarks, Apple and Parker.

Where do you spend most of your free time?
At home.

And how do you relax?
I love reading – to relax by reading anything I can get hold of.

Your favourite books are…?
I enjoy Agatha Christie novels and have read them all!

What is your all-time favourite movie?
I like all Bond movies.

And your hobbies and interests are…?
I love travelling. And I also enjoy watching movies and going to the theatre, as well as reading.

What is your motto in life?
Listen to your heart but use your head.

Is there a phrase you use often – and if so, what is it?
‘Can we try…?’

 What inspires you the most in life, personally and professionally?

And what motivates you to achieve your goals in work and life?
I am a self-motivated person. Every day, I’m energised from within and have a passion for whatever I do.

Who are your role models?
Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and one of my former bosses.

What is your next goal in life?
I want to build a life from which I won’t need a vacation.

If you had the chance to change one thing about your life, what would it be – and why?
I’m content with life so I don’t want to change anything – except maybe to have a little more hair!

Describe yourself in one word…

Could you tell us something that few people know about you?
I’m quite good at gardening.

Rajeeva is the Chief Executive Officer of the Colombo Stock Exchange