Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy on Friday departed the Central Bank as previously announced but with much respect and love, according to insiders and industry representatives.
Dr. Coomaraswamy assumed duties in July 2016 and many weeks before the 16 November Presidential Election had informed authorities of his intention to step down on 20 December.
Previously, Dr. Coomaraswamy served the Central Bank for 15 years, working in the Departments of Economic Research, Statistics and Bank Supervision. However, from 1981-1989, he was released from the bank’s service to serve at the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
On Friday (20 December), he paid a courtesy call on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Dr. Coomaraswamy, on Thursday (19 December), addressed the Central Bank staff. Assistant Deputy Governor Asoka Handagama, in a Facebook post, said for the first time during his 30-year career in the Central Bank, he witnessed a Governor addressing all the members of the staff at the time of his leaving.
Handagama recalled that the end of the tenure of all the other Governors of the Bank was so abrupt that they did not have an opportunity to meet all the staff at their departure.
He said Governor Coomaraswamy did not forget to thank everyone, from the Monetary Board, Senior Deputy Governor, to the friends who served tea at the meetings.
At the occasion of assuming duties in 2016, Dr. Coomaraswamy revealed what he expected from everyone in the bank – integrity, professionalism and technical excellence. “He possesses all three of those,” said Handagama in his Facebook post.
In addition, through his engagement with people, he taught everyone an important lesson; “Be a human before becoming an officer.” Handagama added that Dr. Coomaraswamy departed the Central Bank, embracing love from all.
Industry representatives hailed Dr. Coomaraswamy for being fiercely independent during his tenure and for spearheading a raft of reforms.
Dr. Coomaraswamy completed his university education with a BA (Hons.) Degree from the University of Cambridge and went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Sussex. He joined the Central Bank in 1974 as a staff officer.
He held a number of senior positions at the Commonwealth Secretariat from 1990-2008, including Head of the Economic Affairs Division, Deputy Director of the Secretary General’s Office, and Interim Director of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Social Transformation Program Division.
He was a member of the Monetary Policy Consultative Committee of CBSL from 2013-2015 and Advisor to the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade during 2015-2016.
Dr. Coomaraswamy was also a Non-Executive Director of John Keells Holdings and Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC. In addition, he was associated with a number of research institutes in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Coomaraswamy was also a keen sportsman. He captained the Sri Lanka Rugby team and led the country to emerge runners-up at the 1974 Rugby Asiad, held in Japan. He also played first-class cricket.