The enigmatic Kishu Gomes has challenged the status quo from the word go as the versatile supernova has emerged victorious in every facet of life and similar to King Midas of Greek mythology, his touch has turned everything to gold…
Looking dapper in a custom –made designer suit spoke volumes of his attention to detail and star appeal as the suave CEO’s got the look and physique to model the most reputed brands in the Island. If we conduct a survey on Kishu per se, he rises above the prejudices and pre-formed notions of what a man is capable of by embracing all of lives challenges and moulding it into something extraordinary… He has a 360֩ degree personality which cannot be repressed by negativity or the vicissitudes of life, which is why he flourishes and does so in Kishu Gomes style after all he is a Path creator, a trail blazer who sets the beat for others to follow.
I must admit to being in absolute awe of his capabilities; He is a family man, a CEO; one of the youngest to achieve that title when he was 35 years old of two multinational companies ,model, Journalist with his own column Biz Talks with Kishu, Presenter and more.
“Doing something you love does not make it stressful,” said the enigmatic Kishu Gomes who epitomizes joie de vivre to the fullest.
Casting the Mould
The second in a family of two brothers and three sisters, he had been showered with love and attention from his immediate and extended family members.
“In the latter years of my school career I lived with my uncle (bappa) H. L. B. Gomes, a strict disciplinarian who stressed on the importance of education but his measures to influence me was to no avail as I was adamant to create my own destiny and my room- mate who was a studious boy, placed there in order to be a good example to me in terms of preferring books over sports was ironically drawn towards my way of life,” recalled he with amusement, adding that the two of them have reached unprecedented milestones in terms of career and others.
He was the 110m National Schools Hurdles Champion and Colombo District Champion for 04 consecutive years, having perfected the technique within a short time. Thereafter, the sports enthusiast further pursued his affinity towards athletics during his tenure at Coca Cola. At 19 the photo captured of him clearing a hurdle was selected for an advertisement, followed by many opportunities as a model for selected brands.
The Man of the Moment
At present he functions as the CEO /Managing Director of Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC, a leading blue chip in the country and Managing Director of Chevron Ceylon Limited, a fully owned Chevron company. Under Kishu’s leadership the company made a successful market entry into Bangladesh and overlooks the Chevron Lubricants operations in the Maldives. He is also a Leadership Team Member of the Asia Pacific Lubricants Team and an Extended Leadership Team Member of the Global Lubricant operation and plays an active role making strategic business decisions.
The strategic decisions he has made in life are not limited to his business scope but his overall character and portrayal of himself to the world at large. At 35 years of age he had reached his career objective as the youngest CEO and his modeling career gives him the freedom to choose the most effective brands to represent. Surmise it to say, Kishu Gomes has reached a point when he is able to call the shots so to speak but his relentless pursuit of trying to better himself is the very reason for his star appeal, after all he is humble enough to realize that one should never stop midway but keep challenging one- self to go that extra mile as there is always something more to do and learn in life.
He is also a musician as it is imbued in his blood having gained acclaim for his recital of folk songs as a child (National Kavi Gayana) and a Journalist having his own column in the Sunday Observer titled ‘Biz Talks by Kishu Gomes’. A strong propagator of revolutionized out-of-the-box thinking, he shares his opinion on many publications for the benefit of students and professionals.
Kishu has tapped every potential and discovered scores of adventures within himself which he has continued to master at a pace which marvels the younger generation as well.
“I believe that each one of us can be a brand and we have the capability of being a cut above the rest if we are willing to do so. We need to challenge the traditional methods and seek a broader vision of ourselves. The world is truly one’s oyster and our lives are a palette to be painted by none other than us. We need to enjoy each and every role we are assigned to and never give up. This will be a cause for respect from others. It is imperative that we connect with emotion and bridge with all strata of society.”
To my query regarding his non-conventional choice of interests from being a CEO to a model,” he replied, “why not? If you are in demand and it is a natural inclination and a passion of yours, go ahead and explore the possibilities at hand.”
He is also instrumental in making Coca Cola a market leader during an eleven year stint in the Sri Lankan company prior to joining Chevron Corporation which is one of the largest energy companies in the world based in United States of America and making its presence felt in all continents across the world.
Reaching Stellar Heights in Society
Kishu’s multi-faceted accomplishments include being the past President of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and serving on its board for a period of five years. In all his endeavours he has risen to stellar heights and made headlines. For instance his tenure at AMCHAM includes the highest recoded financial year in 2003 along with holding office as the youngest Head of such an esteemed organization. He held the post of Senior Vice Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK – Sri Lanka Regional Branch and served on the Advertising and Promotional Committee of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) as a representative of CIM.
In the past, Kishu served on the Advisory Board of the International Music Foundation, assisting Sri Lankan youth to improve their talents pertaining to art and culture. He was also the Vice-Patron of the Institute of Automotive Engineers, Sri Lanka for many years. In addition, he sits on the boards of Cine Star Foundation and Outstanding Song Creators Association (OSCA) to ensure the rights and welfare of the Cinema and Music artists in Sri Lanka. Kishu is a past Chairman of Lanka Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS representing the entire private sector as a leader, in addition to functioning as a board member of the AIDS Foundation of Sri Lanka for several years to mitigate the risk of HIV and AIDS penetration and its negative social and economic consequences to Sri Lanka.
Just when you think he could possibly have no more accomplishments you are produced with more such as having chaired the judging panels of the Effies Advertising Awards and Brand Excellence conducted by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM). He also had the opportunity on various panels including the Miss Sri Lanka Beauty Pageant for Miss World. In recent times he headed the ‘Platinum Awards 2016’ jury, known as OSCA’s of Sri Lankan sports, providing leadership to an elite panel inclusive of four Olympians and other members who had excelled in a global level in their respective sports.
At the beginning of 2017, he was appointed to the Committee of Experts to formulate the National Sustainable Development Vision of Sri Lanka -2030 by the Presidential Secretariat on H.E. the President’s initiative.
Kishu Gomes is an icon of our times, having accomplished impossible feats within his lifetime and he shows no signs of stopping!
Recognition and Awards
Some of the most significant awards received by him are;
- Regional Gold Award for Best Business Performance in the Asia Pacific
- Inaugaral Best Young Director award by the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors in 2002
- Most Outstanding Young Person in Sri Lanka (TOYP) award for Business accomplishments and Entrepreneurial Leadership by the Junior Chamber in 2003.
- Best Business Leader of the Year 2004 award by CIMA Sri Lanka
- Two Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 2007 at Provincial and National level
- Inaugural Top Three Marketers Award by CIM’s Sri Lanka Branch in 2001
- Most Outstanding Sri Lankan Award 2017 by the International Association of Lions Clubs for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and Business Management in May 2017
Orator par excellence
Kishu is an orator par excellence having addressed several National and International forums on a variety of topics such as addressing the Global Marketing Forum 2006 in Bangkok. His skills as a speaker have enabled him to represent the government on many occasions such as the Oil Exploration Technology Conference -2007 in Texas to promote Sri Lanka’s Oil Exploration Opportunity, the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CHOGM) in 2013 in Hambanthota and the World Conference on Youth 2014 I Colombo. In recent times he was invited by USAID to speak to the senior management of the Sri Lanka parliament on leadership.
He shares his knowledge and experience with private and public sector organizations, professionals and educational institutes with the sole purpose of shaping the Sri Lankan competitive outfit to gain economic autonomy for the country.
His unstinted support towards many charitable causes within the country is mainly due to a compassionate heart which understands the plight of the masses falling below the poverty line. “It is important for us to seek out those who require our help instead of waiting for them to approach you as there are many whose lives hang in the balance due to abject poverty,” stated the magnanimous philanthropist.
While judging a talent contest, I met a 15 year old boy from Hakmana who performed well, yet the opportunities open to him were limited despite his talents due to poverty, so I decided to help him further his pursuits . We have around 4 million or more people who do not have a sufficient income to have a square meal, let alone three meals. Many children walk around 10km to school without consuming any meals and access to sanitation and proper nutrition is restricted by the economic constrains. My aspiration is to advocate a positive attitude as an individual, to create a significant change in another person’s life before I bid adieu to this world. His mantra is to continuously challenge himself in every sphere as it spirals one to an elevated position, “do things you think are impossible and aim for perfection!” concluded the visionary et al who continues to aspire many to reach for the stars.
By Rochelle Palipane Gunaratne