Dr D.S. Bandarage – Father of Modern Management in Sri Lanka passed away
Posted on July 2nd, 2009

J Kumarasinghe

Dr D S Bandarage, Father of Modern Management passed away peacefully, this morning (2 July 2009). 

 During the late 40s Dr Bandarage was appointed as the Personnel Manager of Shell Company of Ceylon (one of the four multinational companies operating in Sri Lanka at the time). Afterwards, he worked as Personnel Manager at Lever Bros (now Unilever) for several decades. These are major watershed appointments in the Sri Lankan management arena because they were the first occasions that a native born Sri Lankan was appointed to set up Personnel Departments in Sri Lankan multinational companies. Dr Bandarage went on to serve as General Manager, Director and Chairman in leading Sri Lankan companies and Government Corporations. Dr Bandarage served as a UN adviser in Africa.  The Kenyan Government, including the then Prime Minister of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi, felicitated Dr Bandarage’s efforts to rehabilitate and streamline Kenya’s ailing management and administrative system.

 In the fifties, sixties and seventies Dr Bandarage had emerged as a giant in Sri Lanka’s Management field.  He was instrumental in establishing the Institute of Personnel Management (Inc).  This was way back in 1959.  In the formative years of the institute, he was the President of the Institute and held this position for a very long time.  He was the first Fellow of the Institute of Personnel Management in Sri Lanka.  With other Sri Lankan management luminaries of the time, Dr Bandarage worked tirelessly to promote Modern Management in Sri Lanka, and was instrumental in setting up several Sri Lankan Management Institutions. He served as a visiting lecturer of Management Studies at the Universities of Colombo and Sri Jayawardanapura.

 Thanks to Dr Bandarage’s contributory efforts Sri Lanka today is well abundant with a huge reservoir of management talent.  The management fraternity of Sri Lanka today must thank Dr Bandarage for working tirelessly in the 1950s, 60,70s and 80s to unlock doors for them to enter into the private sector with opportunities and traineeship, at that time dominated by the British or English only speaking Sri Lankans.

 In the last two or three decades Dr Bandarage had been involved with management development activities of Sri Lanka, but had also been extremely involved in the propagation of Buddhism.  Being a great Buddhist and a philanthropist himself, in the recent past Dr Bandarage donated monies to charities and Buddhist institutions, especially towards the propagation of Sinhala Buddhist values in rural and urban Sri Lanka.  Dr Bandarage has been a long standing active member of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress and the YMBA. 

 Dr Bandarage’s residence at 7 Ohlums Place in Colombo 8 was always open to the down trodden to come and relate their unfortunate plight.  Dr Bandarage helped them with words and deeds.  Until recently on every Sunday he conducted classes to disadvantaged university graduates numbering about 20 who are studying for the administrative exams (former Civil Service exam where he was an examiner and panel selection member).  These classes were conducted free of charge at his home.

Dr Bandarage is the father of 6 distinguished children  among whom are the distinguished professor of Harvard/MIT, Professor Asoka Bandarage (daughter), Rohan (Chartered Engineer, Australia) Wasantha (daughter) who heads the UN Peace Keeping Forces in New York, and the prominent Sri Lankan barrister practising in the High Courts of Canberra, Chanaka Bandarage. Dr Bandarage’s wife, Thilaka, is currently recuperating from a surgery in Australia.

His funeral arrangements are to be notified.

Dr D S Bandarage’s Home Phone Number – 2694301

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