Gayan Wellala

A Visionary Orchestrator of Holistic Business Strategies

Gayan Wellala

Chief Executive Officer,

Bio Foods (Pvt) Ltd

Gayan Wellala’s journey from CFO to CEO at Bio Foods (Pvt) Ltd represents more than career progression; it’s a strategic leap from the precision-driven realm of finance to the multifaceted world of holistic leadership. This transition, from meticulous number-crunching to navigating the intricate landscape of people and organisational direction, demanded a seismic shift in mindset and skill sets. While finance relies on precision and analysis, leadership demands vision, strategic foresight, and the ability to cultivate a united organisational culture.
As the newly appointed CEO, Gayan embodies a fusion of traits essential for steering Bio Foods towards innovation and growth. His journey intertwines exceptional analytical finesse, honed through years of financial mastery, with a deep understanding of business intricacies beyond conventional numerical evaluations. Gayan’s leadership canvas is richly woven with a collaborative spirit, seamlessly integrating diverse teams into a dynamic, cohesive force. This collaborative finesse heralds a departure from solitary number crunching, transforming it into a teamdriven, visionary leadership style.
Moreover, Gayan’s strategic vision, cultivated across varied sectors spanning manufacturing, exports, hospitality, auditing, and banking, paints a panoramic canvas—an amalgamation where financial expertise converges harmoniously with a comprehensive understanding of business strategies. TradeFlock interviews Gayan to learn more about his new role and leadership style.

Which milestones from your 17- year career are you most proud of, and how have they influenced your leadership style?

Over my 17-year career, specific milestones have greatly influenced my leadership style. Assuming directorship at 31 and later becoming CFO at 34 were pivotal moments that instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility and highlighted the profound impact leadership positions wield in steering an organisation’s course. Leading an esteemed finance team recognised as the best finance team in 2014 for excellence across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa was another significant achievement.
These experiences, coupled with managing vital roles in prestigious hotel clusters, shaped my leadership ethos. They emphasised the importance of sacrifice, passion in driving success, and genuine commitment while fostering a leadership approach focused on prioritising people, driving commercial growth, and ensuring holistic decisionmaking. Managed large-scale operations of hotels, demonstrating competence in handling significant responsibilities, and being entrusted with crucial roles despite being relatively junior in some instances. These helped me successfully transition from a finance-oriented role to that of a CEO, running operations and taking care of the business.

How have your varied job roles influenced your approach to managing people?

My career journey has been a continuous learning experience, particularly in managing people, which has been a focal point. Understanding the diversity in backgrounds, beliefs, and attitudes has profoundly shaped my leadership approach.
Across various roles, my focus has always been on genuine integration, mentorship, and recognising the unique strengths within a team. I prioritise fostering a culture that values individual contributions, nurtures skills, and encourages professional growth.
Experience has taught me that effective leadership involves acknowledging and meeting the specific needs of individuals. I aim to lead by example, promoting an inclusive and collaborative environment where every member feels valued and motivated to offer their best.

How do you align financial goals with broader business objectives, and what strategies ensure this alignment?

Aligning financial goals with broader business objectives is integral to my approach as CEO. While my tenure as CFO centred on ensuring financial health, my role now extends beyond fiscal success to maximising all resources, particularly human capital. To achieve this alignment, I prioritise human resources’ significance in driving business success. This involves fostering trust, nurturing high-performing teams, and grasping the wider business landscape beyond finances alone. I firmly believe success hinges on the synergy between financial strategies and overall business goals, emphasising the pivotal role of human capital in driving sustained growth.

How does your past role as CFO influence your integration of technology in daily operations and its impact on overall business functions?

Leveraging technology is pivotal in modern business operations for efficiency and growth. My transition from CFO to CEO has highlighted the significance of integrating technology across diverse operational areas. This spans from procurement to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, hiring procedures, and customer service functions. Prioritising continual assessment and updates of technology is key to enhancing operational efficiency, enabling informed decision-making, and optimising business functionalities. Technology plays a pivotal role in datadriven decisions, offering real-time insights essential for strategising and maintaining competitiveness in today’s dynamic business landscape.

How do you approach mentorship and contribute to social causes beyond work commitments?

Mentorship is a fundamental pillar of my career, essential for both personal and professional growth. Within my team, I actively engage in mentoring individuals, guiding them through their career trajectories, and nurturing their potential.
Beyond professional responsibilities, I hold a strong belief in giving back to society. Engaging in diverse social initiatives, I recognise the importance of supporting communities and uplifting the less fortunate. This involvement goes beyond financial aid, encompassing active contributions of time, knowledge, and resources for the greater good. To me, happiness is a key metric of success. I believe that we must share and give back to those in need, which reflect a value-driven approach to life and work.