Independent Non Executive Chairman | Digital Reality Pvt Ltd (Dialog Axiata & Orion City)
Rajendra Theagarajah traces his origins from Manipay, Jaffna. Born in Colombo and educated at Royal College, he trained as a Chartered Accountant and having qualified as a CA in Sri Lanka followed by becoming a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK). Mr Theagarajah did his MBA at Cranfield School of Management UK and joined The Chase Manhattan Bank (know known as J P Morgan Chase) in London and obtained extensive training in a multitude of areas covering Global Commercial Banking while being attached to the bank’s London office. He chose to return to Sri Lanka in 1992 and joined the Colombo office of Banque Indosuez (now part of the Credit Agricole Group of France) as its Deputy General Manager.
Mr Theagarajah chose to remain in SriLanka when Indosuez decided to close operations in Sri Lanka and joined the Hatton National Bank as a young Assistant General Manager in 1997. During the next 8 years he steadily took on more responsibility in Business banking, International Trade and Corporate Finance and became the 3rd MD/CEO of HNB in Dec 2004. During the next 9 years he led the bank to great heights when the Bank was recognized as the “Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka for 6 consecutive years. He has been recognized by the Asian Banker magazine twice in 2010 & 2013 for Outstanding Leadership in Banking. In 2009 HNB was also recogised as the “Best bank in the Asia Pacific Region among 130 small cap banks delivering the Highest total shareholder Return over the 5 years 2004-2009. He was profiled as one of “Asia’s promising 25 banking CEOs” in the book FUTURE OF FINANCE IN ASIA by John Wiley & Co the UK publisher. Mr Theagarajah also became the first Chairman from Sri Lanka of the Asian Banks Association for the period 2010-12.
Having stepped down from HNB as its CEO in 2013, he led the National Development Bank for 3 years until November 2016. He then served as Deputy Chairman and MD/CEO of the Cargills Bank, part of the Cargills Group for 4 years until September 2020 when he retired from active full time executive management in financial services.
He has served his profession and industry with distinction by holding the positions of Chairman Sri Lanka Banks Association, Chairman Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Sri Lanka Board and co-opted Council member of CIMA UK for 4 years. In 2017 he became the first ever career Banker to hold the position as the Chairman of the 180 year old Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) until June 2019. He continues to engage with the CCC as the Chairman of the Enterprenuership Ecosystem.
A Founding Trustee of the Colours of Courage Trust, he has been actively involved in overseeing the fund raising/ implementation of the 120 bed Tellipalei Cancer hospital which opened to the public in January 2014. He followed this by becoming one of the two dozen who walked 670 kilo meters over 28 days from Point Pedro to Dondra Head, raising awareness across the country and helped to raise USD 5 mn for the construction and equipping of a cancer care hospital in Karapitiya, Galle.
Mr Theagarajah also served as a member of the Board of the Colombo Stock Exchange and Board Member/ Chairman Audit Committee of the World University Service Canada for six years. He is an Independent Non Executive Director of Carson Cumberbatch PLC and The Capital Maharajah Group.
Mr Theagarajah is married to Sharmani a PHd holder in Control systems Engineering from Imperial College London and has two daughters Arushka a MA in US Studies from University College, London and Anjali a Post Graduate from Green-Templeton College, Oxford.