Channa de Silva: Spearheading Transformation at LankaPay

Channa de Silva: Spearheading Transformation at LankaPay | The Enterprise World

Leaders wield immense influence over the growth and dynamics of organizations and the cities or countries in which they operate. Through their strategic vision, leadership prowess, and innovative thinking, these individuals shape the direction and trajectory of businesses, driving them toward success and sustainability. Effective business leaders inspire and motivate their teams, fostering a culture of excellence and collaboration that fuels productivity and innovation. Moreover, they play a pivotal role in fostering relationships with stakeholders, government entities, and the wider community, contributing to economic development, social progress, and the overall well-being of the region.

As one of the most impactful business leaders, Channa de Silva, CEO of LankaPay (Pvt) Ltd, stands out for his exceptional achievements and contributions to the industry. With decades of experience, Mr. Channa de Silva has held numerous global CXO roles in esteemed organizations, showcasing his versatile leadership capabilities. His ground breaking work as a technology pioneer, recognized by the Internet Society, underscores his innovative mind-set and forward-thinking approach. 

Mr. de Silva’s strategic acumen and commitment to excellence have earned him prestigious awards, including Circle of Excellence and Share Fighter Champion at Microsoft. Furthermore, his academic achievements and memberships in renowned honour societies highlight his dedication to academic excellence and lifelong learning. Through his visionary leadership and dedication, Mr. de Silva continues to drive growth and transformation, leaving an indelible mark on the business landscape.

Pioneering Path

Mr. Channa de Silva’s journey spans over three decades, transitioning from a medical career pursuit in Sri Lanka to engineering studies in the United States due to civil unrest in the country. Opting for electrical and computer engineering at the State University of New York, Buffalo, he obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees, pivoting his career towards technology. In the mid-1990s, amidst the rise of internet technology, Mr. de Silva specialized in computer networking, aligning with the era’s advancements. This interest was solidified during his final semester when he engaged with the founders of Sri Lanka’s first Internet Service Provider, shaping his career trajectory in technology.

In a project before completing his master’s degree, Mr. Channa de Silva was pivotal in designing Sri Lanka’s first commercial website,, in 1994. This endeavour marked the country’s foray into the digital world and set the stage for Mr. de Silva’s return to Sri Lanka. Upon completing his master’s in December 1994, he took on the challenge of setting up the country’s first dedicated Internet connection in 1995, a milestone that laid the groundwork for Sri Lanka’s digital infrastructure.

Mr. Channa de Silva’s early career was characterized by significant achievements, including introducing the first online newspaper, launching the first radio station online, and establishing the country’s first Wi-Fi network. His leadership and technological expertise eventually led him to the role of CEO, a position he held for several years, during which he made substantial contributions to the country’s digital landscape.

Transitioning through roles at global technology giants such as Microsoft and IBM further enriched Mr. de Silva’s experience, embedding a deep understanding of technology and its applications towards business growth. This experience prepared him for a monumental role as the CEO of LankaPay in December 2015. At LankaPay, Mr. Channa de Silva saw an opportunity to make a national impact by revolutionizing the financial sector through technology. His extensive background in technology and strategic vision enabled him to steer the company towards integrating various financial systems, thereby enhancing the sector’s efficiency and accessibility.

Transforming Sri Lanka’s Payment Landscape

LankaPay, as the operator of Sri Lanka’s National Payment Network, stands at the forefront of revolutionizing the country’s banking and financial services sector, focusing on innovation and advanced technology. Established in 2002, LankaPay’s mission is to innovate payment solutions that are simpler, faster and secure to empower every Sri Lankan and ensure financial inclusivity. Functioning under the guidance of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), LankaPay is recognized as one of the region’s most successful Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

Owned by the CBSL and licensed public and private Commercial Banks, LankaPay has pioneered numerous cutting-edge technology-based payment innovations, transforming the financial services landscape in Sri Lanka and setting benchmarks for the South Asia region. The services offered under the LankaPay National Payment Network prioritize speed, reliability, security, affordability and convenience for the general public, ensuring accessibility to essential financial services. Upholding core values of innovation, collaboration, inclusivity, convenience, accessibility, and trustworthiness, LankaPay’s vision centers on valuing people’s time through innovative, simpler, faster, and secure solutions.

Overcoming Challenges

Mr. de Silva encountered formidable challenges in launching Sri Lanka’s first commercial website. The absence of tools such as Google search and the scarcity of accessible knowledge significantly compounded these challenges. Mr. Channa de Silva and his team relied on newsgroups for information, posting questions and patiently awaiting responses, navigating through uncertainty with determination. Creating a website required manual coding due to the lack of graphical user interface tools that are common today.

Additionally, the infrastructure in Sri Lanka was not conducive to such digital endeavours. Mr. de Silva had to manage the website on a server located in the United States, further complicating the project. The lack of local know-how, information and support made the task daunting, yet these obstacles honed Mr. de Silva’s skills and resilience.

Establishing the first Internet connection in Sri Lanka presented its share of nightmares compounded by the primitive infrastructure at the time. The concept of the internet was still new globally and the existing websites were primitive. Mr. Channa de Silva had to navigate through coding in C language among others, to create the desired functionality and impact. This experience, while challenging, was ultimately rewarding. Through confronting and overcoming these obstacles, Mr. de Silva gained invaluable experience and expertise, laying the groundwork for his future successes in the technology sector and contributing significantly to Sri Lanka’s digital evolution.

Innovative Payment Solutions

LankaPay offers diverse, innovative payment solutions that cater to the evolving needs of Sri Lanka’s banking and financial sector. These products include:

Common ATM Network (CAS)LankaSign Certification Service Provider (CSP)National Card Scheme (NCS)Common POS Network (CPoS)
Cheque Imaging & Truncation System (CITS)Realtime Fund Transfer Network (CEFTS)USD Online Clearing SystemLankaRemit
US Dollar Draft Online Image Transfer System (UITS)Sri Lanka Inter-bank Payment System (SLIPS)JustPayFINCSIRT
LankaPay Government Payment PlatformPayment Exchange Name (PEN)Direct DebitLANKAQR 
Channa de Silva: Spearheading Transformation at LankaPay | The Enterprise World

Expanding its network, LankaPay partners with financial institutions, fintechs and merchants to increase accessibility to digital payments. Incentives and rewards encourage users to embrace cashless transactions, while transparency on fees ensures affordability. Stringent security measures build trust among users. LankaPay also focuses on digitizing payments for government services and utilities payments, streamlining processes, and promoting financial inclusion. Leveraging data analytics, AI coupled with market research, the company gains insights to personalize services, driving adoption and engagement.

Leadership Philosophy

Mr. De Silva adheres to a leadership philosophy of leading by example, perseverance and humility. Demonstrating a commitment to integrity and accountability, he emphasizes the importance of aligning actions with words, ensuring that principles are not merely spoken but actively practiced. By embodying the values and behaviours he expects from others, Mr. De Silva sets a standard of excellence that inspires trust and confidence within the organization.

Moreover, Mr. Channa de Silva believes in the power of perseverance, refusing to succumb to setbacks or obstacles. With a mind-set of never giving up, he approaches challenges with determination and resilience, viewing failures as opportunities for growth and learning. This persistence enables Mr. De Silva to navigate complex situations and drive towards achieving long-term objectives.

In addition to perseverance, humility is central to Mr. De Silva’s leadership approach. Recognizing the collective contributions of the team, he acknowledges that success is a result of collaborative effort rather than individual achievement. By fostering a culture of empowerment and recognition, Mr. De Silva motivates team members to excel and surpass their potential, ultimately fuelling the organization’s growth and success.

Insights for Entrepreneurs

Mr. Channa de Silva advises aspiring entrepreneurs to stay informed about the evolving business and technology landscape, emphasizing the need to understand market dynamics and potential threats. With rapid technological advancements, entrepreneurs must possess brilliant ideas and a deep understanding of emerging technologies to thrive. He stresses the importance of solving real-world problems with technology and leveraging data to make informed business decisions. By addressing pressing business and consumer challenges via technology and offering innovative solutions, entrepreneurs can increase the likelihood of success in today’s dynamic environment.

Channa de Silva: Spearheading Transformation at LankaPay | The Enterprise World

“Mr. De Silva adheres to a leadership philosophy of leading by example, perseverance and humility.”

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