Tribute to Former Chairman
It is with profound sadness we pen the demise of our distinguished and much admired Chairman, Mr. W. Karunajeewa, on 29th January 2013. Mr. Karunajeewa with his forthrightness, humility and above all, a rare charisma is an irreparable loss to the People's Bank Group and to the Nation at large.

Mr. Karunajeewa with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Ceylon commenced his illustrious career as an Attorney-at-Law. Yet, he made is indelible mark in finance and was aptly awarded an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the banking industry by the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka. Prior to his finance and banking stint at People's Bank, Mr. Karunajeewa was the Chairman of Ceylon Fisheries Corporation and also of the Employee's Trust Fund Board.

Mr. Karunajeewa who came to the helm at the People's Bank Group in May 2007, made an invaluable contribution in taking the Group to be an embodiment of excellence in the financial arena in this country. In 2007, he joined the Board of People's Leasing & Finance PLC as Chairman and was instrumental in leading the Company and its subsidiary network to become the undisputed market leader and the largest non-bank finance company in Sri Lanka, centered on a solid mainstay of best practices in governance.

Under his visionary leadership, People's Leasing & Finance PLC spread its wings to reach new horizons with six subsidiaries spanning finance, insurance, microfinance, property development and fleet management. During his tenure, the Company acquired the majority stake of the "distressed" Seylan Merchant in 2009 and successfully turned-around operations as People's Finance PLC with a governance structure fit for emulation.

He gave his unstinted support and upheld corporate ethics to take the Company on a steady journey of advancement, with the right tools of best human resource policies and practices, innovation, the latest in technology, financial discipline but more so with the best in customer service. In the year 2011, he successfully spearheaded the Company to broad- base its stake at the Colombo Stock Exchange and subsequently, in the year 2012, paved way to transition of its core operations to a finance company with a wider and also a strategic scope than a specialised leasing company. He was a great proponent of the merger with the subsidiary, People's Finance PLC which will take the Company to the next phase of growth, thereby reinforcing its dominance in the non-bank sector.

Mr. Karunajeewa, a true champion of excellence set the tone for the Company's future journey ahead. A far-sighted leader, he initiated a culture of openness and team spirit. He taught us the true meaning of corporate empathy which defines our Company to be the true future of Sri Lanka with an ethos of integrity, trust, transparency and accountability embedded at the core of operations. The future generations of People's Leasing & Finance PLC will no doubt miss his visionary leadership.

We at the Board, the management and all employees pledge to take forward the legacy of best practices of governance he left behind.

Our sincere condolences are extended to his beloved family and friends.

May he attain eternal peace!
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