We compiled the New Establishment 100 to shine the spotlight on the generational transfer of leadership that has occurred in Sri Lankan business. The New Establishment 100 explores the future with these new Sri Lankan business leaders.
Echelon’s New Establishment 100 list details the most innovative and influential leaders who have succeeded in business. Private sector firms are central to the economy because they produce almost all goods and services, create jobs and contribute to much of the economic growth. It’s difficult to imagine what the world would be like without the contribution of private businesses.
We compiled the New Establishment 100 because during the last few years there has been a generational transfer of leadership in Sri Lankan business. This transfer of leadership is evident at not just Sri Lanka’s largest public companies, but also in privately held ones. A crop of startups that are shaking up markets also have new and young leaders.
Two words that follow, almost immediately, from the world of business are ‘prosperity’ and ‘opportunity’. Over the decades, companies have been central to creating jobs, growing prosperity and kindling hope across the country, that the future will be better than the present.
Indeed the future may not be a linear progression from the past. That break from trend may be the top reason why the New Establishment 100 is relevant now than any similar listing of private-sector leadership in the past. Technological change, individual freedom, free markets and open societies are driving a wave of change unlike any the world has seen. In the future, it will be businesses and their leaders who will drive economies and give hope for a better future.
Sri Lanka needs a grand vision to transform and achieve high growth. Eight percent annual economic growth over 15 years can lift the country into the league of a developed nation. However, Sri Lanka and its businesses will have to be mould-breaking and disruptive to achieve that.
It’s for these reasons we think the New Establishment 100 matters for the future. Listed here are Sri Lanka’s most visionary new and young business leaders who, over the next 15 years and more, have a great responsibility and opportunity.
The rigorous process to compile this list took us in unexpected directions that made one thing clear; entrepreneurship and innovation were alive and kicking. However, one of the most glaring things about the New Establishment 100 is that it lists only 14 women.
It also poses other questions for anybody looking beyond the obvious. Sri Lanka’s new innovators, disruptors, builders and thought leaders all come from the upper-middle class to privileged backgrounds. They have distinguished themselves no doubt, even if in a family business, but few of the 100 come from a disadvantaged background. The idea that one can achieve success without at least a middle-class upbringing has been disproved in Sri Lanka previously. However, there are none among the current crop of the same ilk. Those listed here had more than just passion, imagination and ambition; there were many entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors among them, qualities our selection criteria favoured.
There is also fantastic industrial diversity on the list. From managers of complex supply chains, to leaders at technology firms that are globally competitive, to individuals looking to shake up markets and bring new efficiency; there is a broad representation.
The objective of Echelon’s New Establishment 100 was to detail the most influential young people who have succeeded in business and who are 45 years or younger on January 1, 2019. Success and influence were broken down into four criteria, which were assigned weights. Scores for each criterion were assigned by the editorial team based on interviews with the listed and discussions with peers. The four criteria were:
of scale, manager of complexity, significant responsibility and cross-industry knowledge
first to introduce something better than before in Sri Lanka
shaking up markets, bringing new efficiency
recognized for progressive ideas and influence
Being a builder of scale, managing complexity, holding significant responsibility and having cross-industry knowledge, the first criterion, carried the highest weight in the analysis. The other three criteria had varying weights. The New Establishment 100 list is relative. There were one or more people who were top scorers in each of the four criteria, which set the benchmark for others on the list.
We have gone all out to make sure the list is competitive. However, we are acutely conscious that our reach can sometimes be limited. We have endeavoured to make sure no one of consequence is missed, but we are aware that our methods have their limitations. Also glaring is the fact that only 14 out of the 100 are women. Everyone on the list has made it on merit. We didn’t penalize those who held positions in a family business in our analysis. For this listing, an impressive designation didn’t matter. What mattered was a track record of achievement concerning our four criteria, which were derived to reflect an entrepreneurial bias because it’s far tougher to build a business or a brand from scratch.
The New Establishment 100 presents achievers from diverse industries. From mainstays of Sri Lanka’s economy like apparel and manufacturing to emerging ones like design, technology and consulting; the list is diverse. This diversity also reflects the emerging structure of the Sri Lankan economy. We suspect if this list were complied a decade ago based on the same benchmarks, there perhaps wouldn’t be much representation from consulting, investing and even technology.