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Ranil de Silva crowned as an advertising industry 'maestro'.

Colombo, Oct. 8 -- The International Advertising Association (IAA) headquartered in New York with 56 Chapters around the world, presented its highest accolade for outstanding services to the industry - The Global Medal of Merit, to Sri Lankan advertising icon Ranil de Silva at the World Congress in Moscow.

Established in the 1960s the Medal has been granted to only a selected few professionals every two years, tribute to the contribution made by Ranil de Silva not only to the advertising industry in Sri Lanka, but also to the IAA as a whole.

Alan Ruthrford, IAA Chairman and World President, presented this year's medals at Kremlin Palace congress Centre in Mosacow during the IAA 2010 World Congress. Ms Lilamani Dias Benso, CEO Lowe LDB, accepted the award on behalf of Ranil de Silva.

Ranil De Silva, Managing Director, Leo Burnett Solution Inc who started his advertising career at the age of 15 and grew very tall in the industry with 30 years advertising work experience, while briefing the media of this Award Winning in Colombo said that he would never forget the accolade as it was the first time he was recognized for the contribution he has made to the industry and said "In fact it is a first for Sri Lanka and more importantly for advertising and my profession"

He said that his belief is that he has done the very best for his profession and said that though they compete with one another, the industry needed torch bearers to take it forward. If they don't drive and develop the advertising industry no one else would do it for them. So, he said he gave the best as the success of the industry fuels Leo Burnett and also enable him to excel.

Looking at the representatives of the advertising fraternity and the media personnel present at the occasion Mr De Silva said "Today is even more special because of the people who are here to congratulate me on this success and to share the glory of this Global Medal of Merit which has been bestowed upon me".

According to the organizers of the function, the selection of recipients in the past has been the prerogative of the World President. However, the current practice is to select the worthy recipients through a consultative process which is later endorsed by the Executive Committee of the IAA World Service Centre.

The number of Merit Medals awarded are limited to a maximum of five each occasion and it was indicated that Mr De Silva joins the ranks of renowned luminaries in the industry such as Khamis Al Muqla, President, Gulf Marcom; Diane Slade, Director, Edith Cowan University Australia and Takayuki Shimizu, Executive Director, Dentswu Inc Japan.

He also shares this mantle with fellow Burnetter Carla Michelotti, Global Chief zlegal, Government, Corporate Afairs Officer of Leo Burnett Worldwide.

Joined the JWT Colombo in 1981 as its first Sri Lankan employee and rose to the position of International Vice President. He was selected to serve in the JWT network outside of Sri Lanka and started Leo Burnett 11 years ago in Sri Lanka without a client or even an office, but has taken Colombo office of the leding global network of Leo Burnett Worldwide to great heights achieving the No.1 slot for the agency and bringing global recognition to Sri Lanka by winning the first ever metal for the country at an international Advertising Awards Festival.

His dedication to the advertising industry is further endorsed by the Cannes Lions, who appointed him as their representative in Sri Lanka. In this capacity he has given Sri Lanka's advertising industry the opportunity to be exposed to the best of the world in advertising through numerous exhibitions and forums of Cannes Lions winners. He has also provided 20 Sri Lankan professionals the opportunity to participate in the programmes conducted by organizers of the Cannes Lions.

Mr De Silva served the IAA Sri Lanka Chapter and later became the President in 2005 and served two terms in that capacity. During his tenure he gave a voice and led several initiatives to give the marketing communications fraternity a rightful place in the business world. He led a successful lobby against the levies imposed on the advertising industry.

The IAA Global Partnership of marketing communications professionals which comprises marketers, media and advertising professionals. This makes the IAA a unique tripartite partnership which is well poised to stimulate and support the development, growth and progress of the industry. The international network of the IAA makes it an even stronger force which is supported by a global body committed to supporting the industry.

One of his most exemplary achievements is the Leo Hope, an initiative which he spearheaded in response to the tsunami in 2004. Leo Hope is now a regional initiative of the network. Ranil led his team to resurrect an entire village comprising of 71 families giving them back their homes and their lives, bringing back into the hamlet of Hiddoruwa.

Ms Dias Benson speaking at this occasion said that she knew Mr de Silva for nearly three decades, and it was with great pleasure that she collected the award on his behalf when she attended the IAA World Conference. She said with pride "I watched him grow from an enthusiastic young executive to one of Sri Lanka's most renowned advertising personalities. This medal is a fitting mark of respect to a person who has worked so hard for this industry."

The others who spoke at this function were: Thayalan Bartlet, CEO, JWT and Vice President IAA and Ms Renuka Marshall, President, IAA Sri Lanka Chapter spoke of the contributions made by Mr De Silva to the advertising industry, praised, congratulated and appreciated his winning this rare award.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Date:Oct 8, 2010
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