Remembering the 110th birth anniversary of the late Deshamanya NU Jayawardena,the first Sri Lankan governor of the Central Bank, Senator and Financier, His daughter, MMBL Pathfinder Group President Neiliya Perera paid her respects at Deshamanya Jayawardena›s memorial located opposite his former residence at Cambridge Place, Colombo.
Group CEO K Balasundaram, Pathfinder Foundation Chairman Bernard Goonetilleke, Pathfinder Agro Director Dharmin Perera, MenakaBalendra and MMBL Group staff attended the event. In addition, the Group staff participated in laying the foundation stone for a construction work in Kalaniya Rajamaha Viharaya premises on request of Dr. Kollupitiya Mahinda Sangarakkitha Maha Nayakethero of Kalaniya Rajamaha Viharaya.
N U Jayawardena was the founder of the Mercantile Group of Companies that formed the Merc Bank Sri Lanka, Sampath Bank and several investment portfolios. Deshamanya Jayawardena was born in the backwaters of Hambantota, studied at St.ServatiusCollege, Matara and completed his secondary education at St. Aloysius› College, Galle. Thereafter, he gained a BSc in Economics from the Westfield College and studied Business Administration at the London School of Economics. On his return to Ceylon, he took up his first job as a clerk in the government service, which was uncommon for a graduate. In 1934 he moved to the Banking Commission and during World War II, he moved to the Department of Commodity Purchase and became the Controller of Exchange by 1948. Thereafter, he worked closely with John Exter, the American economist, in establishing the Central Bank of Ceylon in 1950 with Exter as its first Governor and Jayawardena as Deputy Governor. When Exter left in 1953, Jayawardena succeed him as the first Ceylonese Governor, holding the post till 1954 when he was interdicted.
However, he was appointed first Ceylonese Joint-Managing Director of a British-owned firm Vavasseurand Company and was exonerated in public service in 1957. Following his exoneration, he was appointed to the Senate of Ceylon. Moving into the private sector, he founded the Mercantile Group of Companies.