Arthur Senanayake

Group Chairman

IWS Holdings

2018

Eminent Leaders in Asia

Arthur Senanayake

Eminent Leaders in Asia

2018

Group Chairman

IWS Holdings

Arthur i. w senanayake

Finding greatness in the small

nation building, the i.w. senanayake way

There is no better way to describe Arthur Senanayake or I.W, Senanayake than as an oak-hearted visionary. By placing his faith on overlooked potential, the Chairman of IWS Holdings has built one of Sri Lanka’s largest private business conglomerates. Before his return to Sri Lanka, Senanayake had been employed in Europe for 15 years, cultivating an impressive portfolio across various industries. His professional profile includes specialisation in CNC machinery sales and services, consultancy services, high sophisticated machinery training, and the title of regional engineer for South Asia and ASEAN. Hence, when he returned to Sri Lankan soil, his keen eye found great value in Sri Lanka’s motherland and in the capabilities of its people.
Seizing upon the opportunity presented by the nation’s 1979 open economic policy, the visionary jumped into the developing economic climate, investing heavily in bold business ventures. Filled with passionate vigour, Senanayake built his company from scratch, implementing a plethora of innovative ideas, knowledge and experience gained from hls vast experiences. He also instilled a culture of business ethics and responsibilities, innovation and continuous improvement among his thousand-strong employees to ensure that his company would continuously enhance and bring excellence in their fulfilling of customer needs.
Soon after its establishment in 1 980. Senanayake’s business enjoyed exponential growth, quickly expanding into a large collective of companies under the name IWS Holdings. Within the first few years, the corporation had diversified into several fields including food and beverage processing and packaging, industrial solutions, communication services, transportation, commodities, general trading, shipping, warehousing and freight forwarding, logistics, automobile dealerships with Porsche and Volvo, engineering services, leisure, television broadcast, satellite transmission, IT services, and much more.
This was due to their two dimensions strategy, where one dimension of the company focuses on unity of traditional business activities through while the other technological innovation, while the other seeks greater diversification in emerging markets. IWS’ commitment to human resource and skill development, as well as Senanayake’s well founded entrepreneurial skills, are also key factors to IWS’ booming success.

However, the grand expansion of IWS Holdings was not enough for the ambitious Chairman. In 1987, he stepped into the finance and banking sector by establishing his own Sampath Bank Pic. He also invited Neptune Orient Lines, a Singaporean global container shipping company to establish operations in Sri Lanka, and became the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NOL/APL. Later on, Senanayake would become Sampath Bank’s deputy Chairman in 1998, and its Chairman between 2008 and 201 1 . He was to goon to take ownership of APL Lanka Ltd. with an investment of 2.4 billion. He was also invited to the Singapore Trade Development Board that was established in 1 993 as the honorary trade consul for Singapore. Under his guiding hand, these establishments thrive, further illustrating Senanayake’s savvy business techniques.
Today, IWS Holdings are champion business leaders who fulfil the needs and provide opportunities for Sri Lankans thanks to their international repute. With the connections established during Senanayake’s education and career in Europe, the group has developed strong international alliances and franchises in Germany, the United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Korea, Singapore, Thailand,Australia and China. This international outlook incorporated into their business strategy has given confidence and pride to the corporation’s members. With this key advantage on their side, they believe in their ability to meet Sri Lanka’s economic challenges through the advancement of the nation’s technological capabilities.
With such a dedicated heart to service, Senanayake truly deserve his title as ‘Justice of Peace Placing a strong importance on ethics, values and humanity the Chairman has placed full commitment of himself to the community, providing his services in any way possible. Not only does he contribute to the business and economic development of the nation, he has also provided education for underprivileged children by building a Computer Centre and a Daycare Centre in Kataragama. In the same area, he also constructed a golden temple in memory of his late son Alastair Yasvanth Senanayake, a memorial which was the first of its kind in Sri Lanka.

Senanayake, as a professional man who is the very embodiment of inspiration and innovation, could have easily pursued a grander career in first-world nations, leaving his nation behind like most young adults who gain the opportunity to study and work overseas. However, he took the grand step of returning to his homeland, and placing his trust in the people, making his great leap towards business success an honourable journey. Because of this as well as his kind heart, Senanayake truly deserves to be known as one of Asia’s inspiring leaders.

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