Business leader Ken Balendra was last week
honored by Poland with one of that country’s highest and most
prestigious decorations – The Cavaliers Cross of the Order of
Merit of Poland.
Balendra, a former chairman/CEO of John Keells
Holdings (JKH), has served as Poland’s Honorary Consul-General
here for the past several years.
He continues to be active in business and in
social service post-retirement from JKH and is the non-executive
Chairman of the Ceylon Tobacco Company and sits on the boards of
several of the country’s best known quoted and unquoted
companies including Caltex Lubricants, the Commercial Bank of
Ceylon, Brandix and many more.
The Polish decoration was conferred on Balendra
by Dr. Krzysztof Majka, Ambassador for the Republic of Poland
based in New Delhi and concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka at
Balendra’s Colombo home.
The ambassador said that he was conferring the
honor on behalf of Polish President Lech Kaczynski who confers
this award to both citizens of Poland as well as foreigners for
outstanding contributions in different walks of life – public,
social, international and also military services.
Balendra is the first Lankan to receive this
award "for his outstanding contribution to the development of
bilateral relations between our respective countries," the
ambassador said in the citation.
Replying, Balendra said that whatever he was able to do was
possible thanks to the cooperation he had always received from
wsArsaw and the Polish Embassy in Delhi, his own staff who
helped him with is work and ``my uncomplaining wife, Swyrie.’’