As officials, staff and even trade union reps rallied around to heap praise on his initiatives, the outgoing EDB Chairman and CEO Bandula Egodage –the eleventh Chairman to hold the office-was quick to stress that he is not entirely quitting the country’s exports regime on 28 October. “Though I am stepping down from EDB today, I shall continue to link with the exports sector” voiced outgoing EDB Chairman and CEO Egodage on 28 October at EDB.
EDB Chairman Egodage, who is stepping down on 28 October after a 29 month-stint as the Chairman with Sri Lanka’s apex exports facilitator, was addressing the farewell event organized by the EDB staff to felicitate him for his services to EDB and Sri Lanka’s exports.
Joining the session were top officials of EDB including Dr Yousuf Maraikkar (ED-EDB), Himali Jinadasa (Actg DG-EDB), Rekha Hewa Liyanage (ADG-EDB), Jeevany Siriwardene (ADG-EDB) and Additional Secretaries from Ministry of Industry and Commerce under which EDB functioned previously. Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen initially appointed Egodage to lead EDB (when EDB was placed under Minister Bathiudeen) as the eleventh EDB Chairman on 11 June 2013.
“I am thankful to Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen for appointing me as the EDB Chairman in 2013” said Egodage, and added: “I am also highly appreciative of our present Minister of International Trade Malik Samarawickreme, under whom EDB is now placed, since despite my stepping down from EDB as Chairman, he still appointed me as a member of the EDB Board. I am pleased of Minister Samarawickreme’s confidence in me. Therefore though I am stepping down from EDB leadership, I shall continue to link with the exports sector as a member of the EDB Board and render my services to our exports development. Meanwhile I shall continue full time as AVP – Corporate Affairs and Communications with Nestlé Lanka. I am pleased that I have been able to support many branding and development initiatives of EDB and also help EDB to progress in human resource development and bring prompt solutions to several employee advancement efforts. I cannot ever forget the great support I received from everyone in EDB and exports community during my tenure.”
“Outgoing Chairman Egodage has worked hard to introduce team spirit to EDB management and taught us many things as a successful team leader. More importantly, you always strived to inculcate private sector multinational culture in to this semi-government organization. Long hours spent working during CHOGM Expo Fair are unforgettable” said Jeevany Siriwardene (ADG-EDB) and added: “Giving due recognition to star performers of EDB, your excellent PR, networking ability and your humble qualities earned the respect of many. The establishment of the Advisory Committees was your maiden duty after assuming office and thereafter you continued to support their development. We successfully led the EDB team for the completion of its 2015-2020 Strategic Plan and we undertake the implementation of the same in future. Also your guidance to obtain Certification Mark for Ceylon Cinnamon and to get registered in USA, Columbia, EU, Peru and Mexico, and facilitation to get GI registration and your travel in Sri Lanka’s regions and connecting to EDB regional offices, your taking part in many a business event with the business community and Chambers are unforgettable. The recent compilation of market briefs, the many international fora and conferences organized by EDB and your facilitation for a good rapport with line ministries and other government agencies brought us the much needed recognition–the invitations to EDB to join many state delegations and joint country presentations, uplifting of EDB corporate website, were evidence of this. Your networking efforts with international corporations such as Geneva’s ITC, EU and many a trade promotional organisations have been fruitful. These paved for the first Asia Trade Promotion Forum (ATPF) in Colombo this year. Your initiative to hold World Export Development Forum in Sri Lanka in 2016, the flagship event of ITC in Geneva is laudable.”
“This is a sad as well as a happy occasion” said Himali Jinadasa (Actg DG-EDB) and added: “Happy, because of many accolades that EDB achieved during your tenure including clinching of World Export Development Forum session to be held in Sri Lanka in 2016, clinching this victory last week after stiff competition from global export giants. This milestone event will no doubt uplift Sri Lanka’s exports sector and a big event for EDB. We were also, with your support, able to work on the national export targets and your coordination with agencies such as the Treasury were quite effective. It is a sad event since we shall lose such level of support from you in time to come.”
All EDB staff packed the DHPL Auditorium in an unprecedented manner for the October 28 farewell and many –some, fighting tears-took turns to praise CEO Egodage. Upul Galappaththi, a staff member and EDB’s Trade Union rep for JSS, stressed: “Many a CEOs came and went but we found you to be different! Your down-to-earth approach is unforgettable and we always commend you for your direct personal involvement in resolving many human resource issues promptly and successfully.” Dr Yousuf Maraikkar (ED-EDB) also praised outgoing Egodage for his many contributions and more importantly, his down-to-earth administrative approach.
Many business leaders and members of Lankan business community were immediately forthcoming on Egodage’s contribution to Lankan exports. “Bandula is a very amiable personality with whom we could always work well” said Mangala P.B. Yapa (CEO/Secretary General of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce). “He is always accessible, which is a positive. The Chamber and EDB worked together in several aspects while he was CEO. I am positive that such initiatives with EDB would continue in future as well. We wish him great success” Yapa added.
The new, twelfth EDB CEO is scheduled to be appointed this week. (News Release)