Susantha Ratnayake

From TobaccoUnmasked


Susantha Chaminda Rathnayake was appointed the Chairman of the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) on March 2013.[1] According to the, the database on executive profiles, he is “connected to 46 board members in 9 different organisations across 13 different industries”.[2] Ratnayake went to school in Trinity College Kandy and Royal College Colombo eventhough, he did not complete his secondary education. He joined the John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) in 1978, in which He became the chairman in 2006. JKG group engages in a wide range of industries including Hospitality, Retail, Food, Financial services, Plantation services, Transportation and Real Estate. Ratnayake is the Chairman of all the subsidiary companies of the group.[3] Ratnayake was reportedly mentored by Ken Balendra, Ratnayake’s predecessor in both Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) and the John Keells Holdings Pvt Ltd.[4]

Image 1: Profile of Susantha Ratnayake published in the JKH website as of 29th December 2017.[3]

The Employment History with the Tobacco Industry

Rathnayake functioned as a non-Executive Director in the Board of Directors of the CTC from October 2006. He was appointed Chairman in March 2013.[1]

Local media published several adverse reports on Ratnayake and his family members during the period as reflected by the following examples;

  • Ratnayke was accused by media in 2015 on his involvement in a controversial deal on a casino licence. The accusation was based on a reported declaration made to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sri Lanka Police by a former Member of Parliament, Sajin Vaas Gunawardena.[5]
  • Ratnayake’s daughter Anitra was among the 12 consultants in Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Sri Lanka in 2013. Reportedly those consultants were recruited by the Minister Sajin Vaas Gunawardena under non-transparent recruitment criteria[6]
  • Ratnayake’s name was mentioned in the media reports on controversial privatising of the Sri Lanka Maritime Services in 2002. Allegations were based on an appeal to the Supreme Court by a Member of Parliament, Vasudeva Nanayakkara[7][8]

As of 2017, Ratnayake was the only member of the CTC Board of Directors holding company shares under his or his family members’ name.[9]

Retired in 2018

Ratnayake retired from the chairmanship and the Board with effect from 31st July 2018, after completion of his five year period as the chairman.[10][11]

Positions in Government Institutions Held Simultaneously

Ratnayake held the following positions in government or affiliated institutions while he is holding a post in the CTC (the years reported is mentioned within brackets);

  • Member, Tourism Sovereign Rating and Investment Promotion Clusters of the National Council of Economic Development (NCED) (from 2008)[12][13][14][2]
  • Chairman, Sri Lanka Tea Board (2010-2011)[15][2]
  • Director, Sri Lankan Airlines (2011-2015)[16][2]

Positions in Government Institutions Held Prior to or After Tobacco Industry Employment

Image 2: A national newspaper, Daily Mirror reporting the appointment of Susantha Ratnayake to the committee[19]
In December 2019, he was appointed as the Chairman of the BOI by the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and he was the second individual who held the chairmanship of the CTC that was appointed to the post. Jayampathi Bandaranayake, the CTC Chairman preceding Susantha Ratnayaka, was appointed to the same in 2010, while he was serving as the CTC Chairman. (Please visit the page Jayampathi Bandaranayake for more details.) Rathnayake resigned from the post with effect from 30th November 2020.[21][22][23]

Positions Held in Other (Non-government) Institutions

Majority of Ratnayake’s managerial career is within the JKH Group, of which he served as the Chairman from 2006. The complete list of positions held in John Keells Holdings Group as of 2017 can be found in Bloomberg Executive Profile.[2][24] The other institutions in which he held governing positions were;

  • Employers Federation of Ceylon – Chairman[24]
  • Ceylon Chamber of Commerce – Chairman[24]
  • Sri Lankan Airlines Catering Ltd – Director[16]
  • Nations Trust Bank PLC – Director[2]
  • Union Assurance Ltd. - Director[2]

TobaccoUnmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:

Relevant Links

The local language translations



  1. 1.0 1.1 Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2015, 2016, accessed March 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Bloomberg. Executive Profiles: Susantha Chaminda Ratnayake, undated, accessed March 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 John Keells Group. Board of Directors, 2017, accessed March 2017
  4. I Perera Bandara. Salli Hambakarana Eka Mama Dan Navaththala, Silumina, 11 February 2017, accessed March 2017
  5. Lanka News Web. JKH Susantha should come clean about his involvement with fraudster Sajin Vas, 01 October 2015, accessed March 2017
  6. Colombo Telegraph. Sajin Appoints Rosy’s Daughter, 11 Others as CHOGM 70k Consultants, 15 September 2013, accessed March 2017
  7. The Sunday Times. SC’s scathing attack on business ethics and unethical practices, 27 July 2008, accessed March 2017
  8. GroundViews. Corporate Scandals with Impunity, 09 December 2008, accessed March 2017
  9. U Abeywardena. A letter to the Chief Operating Officer of the Colombo Stock Exchange, 28 February 2017, accessed March 2017
  10. DailyFT. Ratnayake retires from CTC Board, 02 August 2018, accessed August 2018
  11. Lanka Business Online. Susantha Ratnayake retires from Ceylon Tobacco Company, 01 August 2018, accessed August 2018
  12. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2008, 2009, accessed March 2017
  13. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2009, 2010, accessed March 2017
  14. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2011, 2012, accessed March 2017
  15. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2010, 2011, accessed March 2017
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 DailyFT. Susantha appointed to SriLankan Airlines Board, 29 December 2011, accessed March 2017
  17. DailyFT.Most powerful Board for Waters Edge, 11 January 2011, accessed March 2017
  18. President of Sri Lanka. A Six-member Committee of Professional was Appointed by the Presidential Secretariat Today, Official Website, 28 November 2019, accessed December 2019
  19. Daily Mirror. Six member committee appointed to select bosses for state enterprises, 29 November 2019, accessed December 2019
  20. Susantha Ratnayake appointed BOI Chairman, 18th December 2019, accessed December 2019
  21. Daily News. Susantha Ratnayake resigns as BOI Chairman, 4 December 2020, accessed December 2020
  22. Charindra. Susantha Ratnayake resigns as BOI Chairman, The Sunday Morning, 30 November 2020, accessed December 2020
  23. Daily FT. Susantha Ratnayake ends stint as BOI Chairman, 1 December 2020, accessed December 2020
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 John Keells Group. Board of Directors, undated, accessed March 2017