Since its inception in the year 2006 the Association of Professional Bankers (APB) has recognised ten eminent individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Banking Industry in Sri Lanka.
This year the council of APB conferred this award on Rohini Nanayakkara and Rajendra Theagarajah. Theagarajah was conferred with this award in absentia at a glittering ceremony at the inauguration of the Convention. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabral was the Chief Guest at this ceremony.
Theagarajah, who is the youngest recipient of this award, is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants – United Kingdom, and holds an Honorary fellowship of the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Cranfield Business School – United Kingdom.
Theagarajah has contributed immensely to the industry of Banking and Finance by having held many coveted positions such as Treasurer, Secretary and Vice President of The Bankers Club, Chairman – Sri Lanka Bankers Association, Chairman – Sri Lanka Banking Ombudsman Ltd, Director – Lanka Clear (Pvt.) Ltd, Member of Academic Council – IBSL, Chairman Lanka Financial Services Bureau Ltd., Chairman – IFRS Convergence Sub Committee of Asian Bankers Association.
Holding highly responsible positions in such reputed institutions locally and abroad has enabled him to make a significant contribution to the banking industry in Sri Lanka. He has also made valuable contributions to the APB, having been a Council Member and a Past President. He presently serves as a member of the Advisory Council of APB.
He also serves as a Director of the Colombo Stock Exchange, Vice President of the Governing Board of CIMA – Sri Lanka, Member of Council – Sri Lanka Institute of Directors, Council Member – Employer’s Federation of Ceylon, EXCO member – Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Trustee Outward Bound Trust of Sri Lanka and Trustee Colours of Courage.
The recognition earned by Thegarajah for invaluable contributions made by him in different business disciplines and commitment displayed to “deliver” was not confined only to organisations and entities in Sri Lanka. Thegarajah as the Current Chairman of Asian Bankers Association is the first ever South Asian to be honoured by being bestowed with the responsibility of providing leadership to an umbrella body of some 130 member banks in Asia.
He was the main force behind hosting the Annual Asian Bankers Association Symposium in Sri Lanka in October 2011, which was the first time the said symposium was hosted in the South Asian Region, in the 27 year history of Asian Bankers Association thus bringing recognition and honour to the Sri Lankan Banking industry.
Thegarajah has shared his knowledge with the Professionals of the Industry of Banking and Finance, not only within the country but also in the Regional cities such as Mumbai, Manila, Taipei, Hong Kong, Ho chi Min City, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok etc. by presenting numerous technical papers and chairing various sessions organised by bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants – Sri Lanka, Institute of Directors, Asian Bankers Association, Association of Professional Bankers, Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and Institute of Internal Auditors.
He has also presented technical papers on convergence of International Accounting Standards in Banks at annual private – public dialogue between Asian Bankers Association, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and South East Asian Bank Regulators. He has been a much sought after Presenter and Panellist at Seminars on a wide range of topics, especially in Banking and Finance.
An accountant turned banker, Theagarajah started his career in Banking at The Chase Manhattan Bank in London and thereafter moved to Banque Indosuez in 1992. He joined the top management team of Hatton National Bank Plc with the takeover of Banque Indosuez by the former in 1997. He took up the driving seat of HNB in 2004 as its Managing Director/CEO in which capacity he functions to date. In addition he functions as a Director of HNB Assurance Plc, Chairman Acuity Partners (Pvt) Ltd and Acuity Group and Director – Sithma Development (Pvt.) Ltd.
Under his dynamic leadership HNB was recognised by the ‘Asian Banker’ in 2010 as the “Best performing Small cap Banking stock” among 130 Banks in Asia Pacific, for having delivered the highest overall return during the five year period of 2004-2009.
In recognition of his dedicated services and the excellent leadership qualities displayed by him, he was adjudged as the recipient of Qatar Financial Services Leadership in Banking Award, for Sri Lanka in 2010. He was also recognised and featured as one of the top 25 Banking CEOs of Asia, by the UK based Wileys publication, which is another colourful feather in his cap.