Chandra Schaffter – Model Of Resilience

(GOPIO International Renown Entrepreneur Excellence Award 2010 – SRI LANKA)

Chandra Schaffter can today look back on eighty years, with a sense of satisfaction but the long journey to success was by no means easy, punctuated as it was, with life’s difficulties. Life had thrown its hardball at Chandra since at the age of three. He had more than his fair share of tragedy, hardship, frustration and humiliation.

This has created this though ness, tenacious and patience in Chandra. Today he heads a group of five listed companies engaged in insurance, housing, finance and dairy products – providing direct employment to 3000 people and indirect employment to over 5000. To begin with Chandra’s career, in 1952 he was employed as a clerk at Ceylon insurance. This was the beginning of he’s profession in the world of insurance. He moved to Manufacturers Life, a Canadian company, also as a clerk but with better offer. Within three years, he was promoted as branch secretary, in effect, the local head of the company.

Chandra played a significant role in the establishment of the Ceylon Tobacco – owned Eagle Insurance Co, which is 2 was run on a management agreement with him.

In 1994, he is well equipped to launch his own company, Janashakti. This company established as one of the leading insurance companies in the island. Of course, as with all great beginnings – there were teething problems and strong oppositions coupled with vicious campaigns from existing competitors.

But with the tremendous support extended to Chandra by a loyal and devoted staff, Janashakti forged ahead with re-deemed strength and vigor. Despite the enormous demands of his many commitments, a hectic daily schedule, and a very active life, Chandra also had a long and wonderful association with the world of sport. This is another aspect of the man. Chandra cherishes his active participation in the sporting world, especially for his many contributions to the “Tamil Union” as a player and administrator. The double international’s interest in sport was not con-fined to just his club but extended island-wide – specially in cricket and hockey as a national player for Ceylon. He believes in living as healthy and robust life.

He earned the post of vise president in the National Olympic Committee. He also served as selector on the Cricket Board for nearly five years and was the first Ceylonese President of the Mercantile Cricket Association and was manager of the Sri Lanka cricket team on several occasions.