The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka elects Shirendra Lawrence as President at its 31st AGM

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The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AmCham SL), part of the world’s largest business organization and network, the US Chamber of Commerce, recently commemorated its 31st Annual General Meeting and election of the Board of Directors.

In keeping with over three decades of tradition, the AGM was held under the esteemed patronage of HE Julie J. Chung, the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka, who during her remarks commended the member business community on its strength and resilience in the face of unprecedented economic circumstances, and commitment to ensuring that Sri Lanka not only recovers but comes back even stronger and wiser. She also expressed sentiments that Sri Lanka’s strategic location, strong infrastructure, and educated population could turn the country into a leader in a rising South Asia.

“Through investment, advocacy, and social responsibility AmCham has been part of the fabric that help Sri Lanka together over the last tumultuous year. I’ve seen the commitment of people in this room to the vision of a strong, resilient, and growing Sri Lanka.  During my tours of U.S.-tied companies like Microsoft, FedEx, Revlon, Dell, Hayleys, Sysco, and Walters Bay, I’ve seen firsthand not just your strength and resilience in the face of the crisis, but also your intrepid commitment to growth.   

When I came to Sri Lanka, investors were asking when Sri Lanka would seek the IMF’s help to access the tools and best practices the country needed to begin its recovery.  I want investors to ask now “where can I invest?”  Sri Lanka’s strategic location, strong infrastructure, and educated population could turn the country into a leader in a rising South Asia.  This crisis is an opportunity for Sri Lanka to learn from challenges of the past and move decisively toward a more stable, more inclusive, and more profitable future. This year, the 75th anniversary of relations between our countries, the United States is fully committed to a vision of a strong, resilient, and growing Sri Lanka.  A strong economy that plays a key role in global supply chains.  A resilient economy that can withstand the shocks in the global market.  A growing economy that is creating wealth and opportunity for everyone.”   

she noted. 

The keynote address on the occasion was made by Hon. Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance, who enlightened the over 120 members represented at the AGM on the numerous critical actions being undertaken by the Government toward sustainable economic recovery. He noted that Sri Lanka has the potential to be a textbook example of a country that has expeditiously recovered from a debt crisis if [the said] reform measures are continued:

“As long as the reform momentum is continued, Sri Lanka has the chance of becoming the textbook case for recovery from a sovereign debt crisis; this sets up an enticing opportunity for investors to obtain first mover advantage in a market that is primed for a sustained, high quality growth over the medium to long term. 

As Sri Lanka positions itself to embark on rapid economic recovery followed by sustainable, equitable growth, it is an ideal time for investors to position themselves to benefit from this opportunity” 

he noted. 

The formalities of the 31st Annual General Meeting of the AmCham SL, saw veteran corporate leader Shirendra Lawrence representing MAS Holdings elected President for the period 2023/24, together with a dynamic and versatile Board comprised of Sanjeeva Abeygoonawardene representing Advantis Express as Vice President, Dimantha Senevirathne representing NDB Bank Group as Treasurer, Sandun Hapugoda representing Mastercard Sri Lanka & Maldives as Secretary, and Tania Polonowita-Wettamuny representing IAS Holdings, Harsha Randeny representing Microsoft Sri Lanka & Maldives, Kevin Green representing HSBC, Bertram Paul representing Chevron Lubricants Lanka, Rasika Karunathileke representing Sysco LABS & Riza Wadood representing Digiratana were appointed as Directors, together with Thamari Senenayaka representing Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd, and Tamani Dias representing Standard Chartered Bank. 

Outgoing President, Lakshan Madurasinghe representing Coca-Cola Sri Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd.) was appointed President Emeritus, and Economic Section Chief of the US Embassy in Sri Lanka, Phill Loosli was appointed as the US Embassy representative to the Board of Directors. 

Addressing the gathering, newly elected President Shirendra Lawrence thanked the membership for placing their faith in him and the elected Board, and shared 

As we look to the future, our corporate vision for 2023-2025 is firmly rooted in supporting the Government’s effort to attract Foreign Direct Investment and to promote a more diverse and thus more sustainable portfolio of exports. This will facilitate market access both inward and outward, promoting trade and investment opportunities for our members.

He further expanded that this vision is underpinned by three key pillars.   Firstly, continued Advocacy on critical policy matters including Labor Reforms, Tax Regulations and Digitalization,  secondly Best Practices to empower our members to thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape, and thirdly access to Markets, leveraging on strong international relations and networks through regional AmChams and other Business Chambers. 

Once again, despite the difficulties that the business community has faced in recent years, which have considerably limited typical activities, the AmCham SL continued to record growth in both membership and financial reporting. 


About the AmCham Sri Lanka

The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AmCham SL), which is now in its 31st year of operation, is one of the most prestigious and influential business chambers on the island and is regarded as the premier forum for the facilitation and growth of trade, investment, and business relations between Sri Lanka and the United States. AmCham SL is an association whose stakeholders are its over 350 members, made up of the island’s top blue-chip companies. It offers its members access to a multi-dimensional resource network that provides the information, tools, and knowledge they need to succeed in bilateral business relations between the two Nations through information sharing, LQAs, Seminars, Workshops, B2G and B2B networking, and exclusive connect & advisory services. Find out more  at

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