Mrs. Shamalie Gunawardana received her professional education at Sri Lanka Law College, and was admitted as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 1985. She obtained a Master’s Degree in Commercial Law (LL.M) from the United Kingdom in 2006. She is a legal consultant to several companies and other institutions and a Board Member of DFCC Bank PLC and Haycarb PLC. She is also a member of the Company Law Advisory Commission of Sri Lanka. Her more recent contributions include serving as a Member of the Core Group that developed and finalised a legal framework for the Special Economic Zone - Colombo Port City, in line with the vision of the Government. She served as a Member of the Presidential Expert Working Committee on the Implementation of Data Protection in Sri Lanka. She has previously served in several Boards as a Director, including at Renuka City Hotels PLC and Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka and as the Government Nominee at DFCC Bank PLC.
Mrs. Gunawardana started her career in 1985 at M/s Julius & Creasy, a prestigious Sri Lankan Law Firm and proceeded to serve as a Legal Officer of the Legal Division, Central Bank of Sri Lanka in 1989. She held several senior public service positions between 1996-2015 including Legal Advisor - Department of Fiscal Policy and Economic Affairs, Senior Assistant Secretary (Legal) - Ministry of Finance, and Director General - Legal Affairs Department of the General Treasury. During her tenure at the General Treasury/Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Gunawardana served as a member of Government negotiation teams, the last being China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement negotiation team in 2014. As the Director General of the Legal Affairs Department, Mrs. Gunawardana gained extensive experience in structuring commercial contracts and foreign loan agreements, participating in contract/ loan/ programme negotiations, and preparing initial structures of finance, taxation, land alienation restrictions and investment related laws, to implement Government policy towards facilitating the development of law.
She also served as the Director Legal and Secretary to the Commission of the Public Enterprises Reform Commission of Sri Lanka (PERC), the privatization arm of the Government between 2002-2004 and directly contributed towards the liberalisation and privatisation efforts of the Government as part of the core team that led major privatisations including Sri Lankan Airlines to Emirates of Dubai, Sri Lanka Telecom to NTT of Japan and Sector-related liberalisations including LPG, Plantations, Lubricants, Bunkering, Insurance and Petroleum. While at PERC, she directly contributed to the preparation of pre-bid documentation, engaged in contract negotiations, facilitated to finalise agreements alongside officials of the Attorney General’s Department and other local and foreign consultants. As the Project Director, she led the Fiscal Reforms Project and the Fiscal Management Reform Programme of the ADB/Ministry of Finance, and the Legal and Judicial Reforms Project of the World Bank/Ministry of Justice, being large reform oriented projects of strategic importance.
Mrs. Gunawardana has undergone extensive foreign training including programmes at HIID/Harvard University (USA), Amsterdam Institute of Finance, LKY School of Public Policy (Singapore), City University of Hong Kong, Commonwealth Secretariat (London), International Development Law Organization (Rome) and the World Bank (Washington D.C.).
A recipient of the ‘Genre of Excellence - Power Women’ award at Sri Lanka’s ‘Professional & Career Women Awards 2013/14’, Mrs. Gunawardana was ranked 8th in ‘Top 50 Leading Business Women of Sri Lanka’ in 2013. She was ranked Power Woman 2014 at the awards ceremony conducted by Women in Employment.
While her Thesis for the LL.M was on Minority Shareholder Rights and Derivative Action, she co-authored several professional Guides published by the Ministry of Finance, with emphasis on Constitutional and legal provisions relevant to Public Finance, Responsibilities and Liabilities of Board Directors and Responsibilities and Liabilities of Government Nominees in Corporate Boards. She authored a paper on ‘Legal Implications of the 2004 Tsunami Disaster - the Sri Lankan perspective’ which formed a chapter of the post Tsunami publication by the City University of Hong Kong.