Harry Jayawardena

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Harry Jayawardena
Harry Jayawardena.jpg
Born (1942-08-17) 17 August 1942 (age 74)
Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka
Residence Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lankan
Other names D.H.S. Jayawardena
Occupation Businessman
Years active 1977–present
Net worth Increase US$3 billion
Spouse(s) Priya Jayawardena
Children 3
Website stassengroup.com

Don Harold Stassen Jayawardena (born 17 August 1942 in Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka), widely known as Harry Jayawardena, is one of the most prominent and successful Sri Lankan businessmen. He is currently the Chairman of the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC, Lanka Bell Limited[1] Sri Lanka's only indigenously owned second largest fixed line telecommunications operator, and of the highly diversified Aitken Spence PLC. Jayawardena is also the Honorary Consul General for Denmark in Sri Lanka. He was listed as the richest person in Sri Lanka in 2008. His Founding Company Stassen Exports controls approx $1.4 billion in equity owning one of the leading banks in the country HNB valued at Rs. 84billion approx ($650m), Aitkenspence at Rs. 38billion ($260m) Distilleries Company Rs 82billion approx ($620million) and large amount of private companies. He is currently battling in Colombo Commercial High Court for his dispute with the founding members for controlling Share Ownership which through he owns all investments [2][3]


After resigning from public service as the Tea Department Manager of state owned monopoly trading company State Trading Company Consolidated Exports Ltd, better known as Consolexpo, he pioneered the Stassen Exports Limited on 7 September 1977 as a company to export Ceylon Tea. This happened when Sri Lanka ventured to the free market economy with the induction of the then Sri Lankan President Junius Richard Jayewardene.

By 1988, Jayawardena's companies became a significant shareholder of the country's largest private commercial bank, Hatton National Bank.[4] The companies significantly owned by Harry Jayawardena ventured into many other areas such as food and beverage with the acquisition of majority shares of then state owned Lanka Milk Foods(CWE) Limited in 1991 and later the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC [1] (DCSL) in 1992 in the then-largest transaction in the Colombo Stock Exchange. In 2007 DCSL under Jayawardena's Chairmanship became the No. 1 listed company as per the "Business Today" Top 10 rankings.[5] In July 2016, Harry Jayawardena made a bid to acquire Holcim Lanka Ltd. Harry along with Nandana Lokuwithana (Onyx Group) are the only Sri Lankans who were interested in Holcim acquisition. But both found to be unsuccessful in the bidding process.[6][7]

Business interests[edit]

Currently, Jayawardena has interests in the following listed companies (in the Colombo Stock Exchange), where he is also acting as the Chairman of the board of directors.[8]

Jayawardena's investments also extend to the following listed companies:

Jayawardena also has significant investments in the following private companies:[8]

  • Stassen Group
  • Milford Exports
  • Lanka Dairies
  • Ambewela Livestock Company
  • Pattipola Livestock Company
  • Lanka Bell
  • Continental Insurance Lanka
  • Melstacorp

The group of companies, where Jayawardena has significant investments, operate in:

  • financial sector (commercial and development banking, insurance,fund management and unit trusts),
  • telecommunications sector
  • food and beverage sector (including dairy products, liquor, tea and produce)
  • hospitality & destination management (hotels, tour operations)
  • transportation & logistics
  • power generation and infrastructure

Awards and recognition[edit]

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka and Aitken Spence, both in which Jayawardena is the chairman, were the first Sri Lankan companies ever to be listed in the Forbes List of best managed companies outside the USA.[9] In 2007 Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC is the sole Sri Lankan company to be listed once again in the Forbes List of Asia's best 200 under a US$ Billion.[10]

World-renowned First Asian Green Globe award winner Heritance Kandalama Hotel[11] and award winning Heritance Tea Factory hotel[12] both located in Sri Lanka are owned by the companies in the group.


During a December 2006 alleged attempt to remove the Chairman of the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, Jayawardena, then managing director of DCSL, was allegedly quoted as threatening to shoot the chairman.[13] Subsequently Harry Jayawardena assumed duties as the Chairman of DCSL. The same news paper alleged that Jayawardena threatened a customs officer, many years back.[14]

Harry Jayawardene announced his voluntary resignation from CPC (Ceylon Petroleum Corporation) on 12, January 2012, a post given by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. As reason for his resignation from CPC he stated due to his personal issues he has announced his resignation.[15]

Honorary positions[edit]

Jayawardena also held several honorary positions including the Senior Adviser for International Trade and Foreign Investments to the then Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga.[16] He was a member of Colombo Stock Exchange for many years. He was a member of the Apex Task Force to Rebuild the Nation (TAFREN)[17] established by the President of Sri Lanka after the December 2004 tsunami that affected most parts of Sri Lanka. He was also appointed Chairman of SriLankan Airlines, Sri Lanka's National carrier,[18] becoming Executive chairman in January 2008.[19]


  1. ^ "Lanka Bell targets over 100,000 CDMA lines by mid August". Daily News Online. 9 August 2005. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  2. ^ Fallout at Stassen
  3. ^ Richest People in Sri Lanka – 2008
  4. ^ "Stassens still holds HNB reins". Daily News Online. 26 December 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  5. ^ "Top 10". Daily News. 10 October 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  6. ^ http://www.dailymirror.lk/113107/Thailand-s-Siam-City-Cement-bags-Holcim-Lanka-for-US-mn
  7. ^ http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=2016/07/11/local/87125
  8. ^ a b "D. H. S. Jayawardena Chairman / Managing Director". DCSL Group. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "Aitken Spence Group posts record results". Daily News Online. 14 November 2003. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  10. ^ "Sri Lankan Distilleries in Forbes's 'Best Under a Billion'". Lanka Business Online. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  11. ^ "Heritance Kandalama Acclaim". Aitken Spence Hotels. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  12. ^ "Tea Factory Hotel Acclaim". Aitken Spence Hotels. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  13. ^ ""Harry J threatened to shoot me" – Vittachi". The Sunday Times. 3 December 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  14. ^ ‘Dirty Harry’ threatens Business Times journalist
  15. ^ Harry J to resign ?
  16. ^ "Cover Supplement: Aitken Spence". LMD Cyber Edition. September 2005. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  17. ^ "Background". www.recoverlanka.net. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  18. ^ "Looking back at 2006: Harry J, peace talks dominate business focus this year". The Sunday Times Online. 24 December 2006. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  19. ^ "Harry J. flies higher and higher on SriLankan Airlines". The Sunday Times Online. 13 January 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 

External links[edit]