About
D

ian is a transformational business leader who turned around the odds for men and women across rural hamlets in Sri Lanka, at the same time building one of the most powerful business brands with global recognition. His inspirational and upbeat approach to life in both professional and personal spheres has made him a much sought-after teacher and public speaker.

"Make a positive difference in people’s lives", this is the simple philosophy that drives Dian. Dian has made a profound impact among those whom he meets and interacts in all aspects of his life, business, sports, arts and social.

‘He is a perfectionist, he is unconventional, and he is revolutionary. He is Dian Gomes – A man with a mission, and zest for life that is incomparable’

There’s nothing that is impossible, nor is anything rocket science, except rocket science. If you desire to achieve something and you persevere, the universe is an abundant place where opportunities abound. Identify, focus, and persist; you can achieve greatness

Short Story
  • Careers

    On completion of his secondary education, Dian’s career began at KPMG Ford Rhodes. He joined as a management trainee and acquired considerable experience and knowledge, but at the tender age of 22 made a career move to British design and construction company Saracen Interiors as its Financial Controller.

  • Sports Life

    Dian is passionate about sports and was actively engaged in various types of sport from college days, where he was the college flyweight champion for 04 consecutive years and the National Flyweight champion in 1975.

  • Today

    Dian’s retirement plans fell by the wayside when Dominic McVey offered a stake in ownership and the chairmanship of Hela Clothing (Pvt) Limited. Always up for a challenge, Dian accepted the position due to the potential that the company held and has not looked back since.

  • Interests

    A versatile individual, Dian is an entrepreneur at heart who has transformed some of his indulgent passions into creative businesses.

Careers


On completion of his secondary education at Royal College, Dian’s career began at KPMG Ford Rhodes. He joined as a management trainee and acquired considerable experience and knowledge, but at the tender age of 22 made a career move to British design and construction company Saracen Interiors as its Financial Controller. It did not take him long to become the Finance Director of the company. Nonetheless, Dian’s calling was in the apparel industry. US Fortune 100 retailer May Corporation which had a buying office in Colombo recruited Dian to become their youngest General Manager globally, in 1987. He continued there, until MAS beckoned him to become the General Manager of Shadowline; an apparel manufacturing plant and joint venture between MAS Holdings and MAST Industries of USA. Dian was appointed as a board director of Shadowline within a mere 12 months.

Slimline was an expansion to Shadowline. It was a manufacturing plant specializing in underwear and was earmarked to be operated as a separate entity and required a CEO. Dian fitted the bill perfectly. This was the opportunity that would give Dian the freehand to create a company which was unique while his capabilities and diverse experiences could be employed to bring out the best in office, and in sports.

The experience that Dian gained at Shadowline and Slimline was proving ground for Dian to take up the position of Managing Director/ CEO, of MAS Intimates (Pvt) Limited. Dian was also a Group Director of MAS Holdings. The immense change and expansion that Dian carried out whilst never losing the human touch created a work ethic and atmosphere within the company that was unique. MAS Holdings is where it is today, due to Dian’s humongous efforts at uplifting the conditions of the people and pinning a value to their contribution while directing this towards a healthy and sustainable growth for all stakeholders concerned.

Sports Life


Dian is passionate about sports and was actively engaged in various types of sport from college days, where he was the college flyweight champion for 04 consecutive years and the National Flyweight champion in 1975.Dian also represented Royal College in athletics. From boxing to fencing to swimming, Dian believes that sport enhances character and creates team spirit, killer instinct and a winning attitude that cannot be instilled through ordinary interaction or direction. He believes that sport is the ‘balancing factor’ in a person’s life. This is why he is adamant in creating opportunities for employees to find that special talent and assists them to grow and excel; creating local and global champions, bringing glory to Sri Lanka.

Recognizing this love for sport, Dian is the first Sri Lankan to be appointed as one of the 14 members of the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport (CABOS) which is the key sports policy advisory body to the Commonwealth Secretariat. Dian was also instrumental in leading team Slimline (MAS) to their 9th consecutive championship title at the ABA National Boxing Championship. 2006 saw him becoming the Chef de mission for the Sri Lankan contingent at the Doha Asian Games where his daughters Shahili and Elisha Gomes represented the Sri Lankan Synchronized Swimming team and were placed 07th in the finals. Through Dian’s sheer commitment at pushing people to be their best, Anuruddha Rathnayake was qualified to participate in boxing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This was a great achievement and a personal dream of Dian’s come true, since it was after a 40 year lull in the Olympics history of Sri Lanka that this breakthrough occurred.It also gave Dian the opportunity to become the Chef de mission to the Sri Lankan contingent at the Olympics.

Taking over the Presidency of the Amateur Boxing Association of Sri Lanka from 2004-2009, Dian provided strategic leadership and direction to guide Sri Lanka to a significant position in international boxing. Dian currently serves as the Vice President of the National Olympic Committee and as the President of the National Fencing Association. He also sits in the Women’s Commission in the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA). His commitment to the development of sports across the country is renowned in local and overseas forums.

Today


Dian’s retirement plans fell by the wayside when Dominic McVey offered a stake in ownership and the chairmanship of Hela Clothing (Pvt) Limited. Always up for a challenge, Dian accepted the position due to the potential that the company held and has not looked back since.

Hela Clothing (Pvt) Limited is a USD 140 Million apparel manufacturing group with a history of over 25 years in the country and a pool of 10,000 employees. Hela Intimates and Hela Casual, which produces intimate wear, active wear, casual wear and kid’s wear carries a total of 15 production facilities out of which 13 are within Sri Lanka and two in Kenya and Ethiopia. Furthermore, the company has evolved as a complete solution provider with design and innovation services offered through its offices in Sri Lanka, New York and United Kingdom.

Dian’s goal for Hela is to grow it from a present USD 140 Million to USD 300 Million in 2 years (2018). With Dian at the helm, Hela is on a fast track to shaking the foundations of the apparel industry in the country and in creating greater future for Sri Lankan apparel.

Interests


Entrepreneurship


A versatile individual, Dian is an entrepreneur at heart who has transformed some of his indulgent passions into creative businesses.

Gandhara

Dian, a benefactor of talented artisans has fashioned a haven for the creative mind at Gandhara, the iconic artifacts and lifestyle store. He appreciates the highest forms of craftsmanship and art, and has hand-picked all items displayed at Gandhara during his numerous travels overseas. The store offers a collection of items from Sri Lanka as well as other culturally diverse regions of the world such as Peru, Tibet, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and Africa, bringing together a collection of cultures from across borders.

He is also known for generously supporting upcoming artists in Sri Lanka, and has launched ‘Gallery Red’, Gandhara’s very own art gallery, offering a platform for protégé artists to showcase their inherent talent and passion for art. Gandhara is the center point of Gandhara Street, which has now become Sri Lanka’s premier destination for artifacts and lifestyle offerings.


Westgate Interiors

In 1990 Dian and his wife Dehara launched Westgate Interiors, now Sri Lanka’s leading interior design company offering inspirational works of art to diverse corporate clientele. A Colombo head-office centralizing their space planning, design and consultancy practices along with a 35,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art manufacturing facility located in Panadura, Westgate vaunts a multifaceted team of creative professionals who bring about an artistic nuance to every project they undertake.

Dian and Dehara’s passion for creativity and commitment to perfection is reflected through this venture, which offers its clients a wide range of services, from interior architecture and refurbishment to designing and manufacturing customized furniture.

Villa Republic

As an entrepreneur, Dian has also ventured in to the hospitality industry, having nurtured a love for the perfect blend of architecture and nature throughout the years. Villa Republic was born, and Dian’s first endeavor was Villa Red, Bentota. What he envisioned as perhaps a personal getaway became Dian’s own canvass, where he created his own sketch of a dream home away from home. Inspired by globally acclaimed architect Geoffrey Bawa, Villa Red, Bentota eventually became a reality, built on the shores of the Bentara River, hidden in an enclosure where guests can enjoy a quiet vacation away from the hustle of city life.

Design Republic

Deeply passionate about architecture that is timeless and elegant Dian established Design Republic, an architectural design consultancy, in 2013. The firm was established in partnerships with architects, Sanjeewa Lokuliyana and Sameera Dharmasena and interior designer Shanaka Dias.

Under Dian’s guidance Design Republic is now a nascent firm in the field, delivering exceptional design ideas through creative blending of human need, environmental stewardship, science and art, striving to create exceptional environments that meet the client’s most complex design challenges. The firm specializes in innovative elegant contemporary design with experience of both new-build and refurbishment projects for modern and historic buildings. Design Republic services both personalized residencies and corporate clientele.

Appreciating Art

With a personality that is as versatile as Dian’s, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he has many interests at heart, one of which is his love for fine art.

He is the co-author of ‘Costumes of Sri Lanka’ with Dr K.D.G. Wimalaratne, chronicling the evolution of Sri Lankan costumes from as far as the 6th century B.C. His combined effort to bring to life Sri Lanka’s rich history and diverse culture was lauded by critics and readers alike. The book, published in 2000, went on to win in the Best Prose Nonfiction Category at the State Literary Awards in 2003.

The adept eye, keen on spotting raw talent in the sporting and business arenas, also flares to life when it comes to works of art. Dian, a firm benefactor of talented artisans has fashioned a haven for the creative mind at Gandhara, the iconic arts, crafts and artifacts store. He appreciates the highest forms of craftsmanship and art, and has hand-picked all items displayed at Gandhara during his numerous travels overseas. He is also known for generously supporting upcoming artists in Sri Lanka.

Enriching Lives


In times where Social Responsibilities are looked upon as shortcuts to brand recognition, Dian approached the same subject with the reverse strategy. With a firm belief of bringing in a positive and impactful change in the communities that MAS operates in, Dian created some much needed awareness on important social matters via his popularity and repute.

When Dian established Slimline in Pannala, he not only discovered a new way of business, he discovered a new way of life. The close relationships he built with the community in Pannala transformed Dian’s outlook towards communal wellbeing, and as Slimline grew as an organization, Pannala grew in infrastructure, the same world class facilities being infused into the community to assist the underprivileged. New standards were set for other organizations in Corporate Social Responsibilities, with MAS receiving multiple accolades for empowering communities. Responding to the tsunami disaster in 2004, MAS Intimates raised donations under Dian’s direction, rebuilding houses, community centers, school buildings and playgrounds.

A true philanthropist at heart, Dian is an advisor and member of the Board of Trustees of the Colours of Courage Trust, an organization addressing the needs of the Maharagama National Cancer Institute, and the patients entrusted to its care.