Dian the Professional

Dian Gomes is a Management Accountant with a passion for people. Dian has been Managing Director of Sara Lee Courtaulds/MAS Holdings joint venture Slimline since 1992. Today he is a Group Director of MAS Holdings and heads the MAS INTIMATES cluster of companies; & Linea and

Slimline(Pannala), Koggala), Clothing(Pallakele), M.A.S. Design


Slimtex(Kulliyapiyita), Services (Ratmalana)

Casualline(Mawathagama). MAS Holdings, established in 1987 is the largest apparel exporter in the South Eat Asian region specializing in Intimate Apparel, Sportswear and Leisurewear. Beginning with a single factory and a staff of just 60, MAS has invested over US$ 200 million in 39 facilities in the region growing to a regional giant amassing turnover volumes of $ 700 per annum in less than 20 years. With a year-on-year growth of 20%, MAS produces 250 million pieces of apparel per year, including 40 million bras and 130 million briefs. The MAS Group employs over 35,000 people & accounts for 20% of Sri Lanka’s apparel exports. Dian Gomes leads the MAS Intimates division, which is South Asia's largest producer of Intimate Apparel, with a turnover exceeding USD 300 million. MAS Intimates delivers in Design to Delivery solutions for globally renowned labels of Intimate Apparel. The Division employees over 14,000 and has a customer base that include Victoria’s Secret, Marks & Spencer, DBA, Nike, Gap and Jockey. In 2006, the division churned out over 110 million briefs, 7 million bras and 3 million pieces of sleepwear and is active in 26 geographical markets.

His Footsteps
Dian commenced his career at KPMG Ford Rhodes in UK. Later, he became Director Finance for the British design construction company Saracen Interiors International, and subsequently General Manager for US retailer May Department Stores International Inc. in Sri Lanka before he joined MAS in 1990.
Master of Business Administration, University of Kelaniya. 1

Executive education at Wharton Business School. Hans Wijesuriya of Dialog). 2 . Qatar. Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK). Mireka Land Capital (formerly known as PDL Enterprises (Pvt) Limited) – a subsidiary of Bank of Ceylon. What sets him apart is his versatility. 2004 – CIMA / Janashakthi Pinnacle Awards 2003 – adjudged as the Business Leader of the Year 2003 for large scale category – Gold Award (joint with Dr. Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka 2002 – Board Member. which won the State Literary Award for the best prose non-fiction in 2003 2007 Male Icon Offices Held  2001/2002 Division – President – Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. University of Kelaniya. Amateur Boxing Association of Sri Lanka 2003 to date – President. Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Master of Business Administration. Sri Lanka 2002/2003 & 2001/2002 – Vice President. appointed by the Prime Minister. the Ashridge Business School and Harvard Business School. “Costumes of Sri Lanka”. 2003 – Member of the Steering Committee on Human Resources Development in the implementation of “Regaining Sri Lanka”. 2002 – Board Member. Pakistan in 2004 Team Manager Commonwealth Games in Melbourne Australia in 2006 Chef de Mission for a contingent of 200 plus at the 15th Asian Games in Doha. 2003 – Board Member. Amateur Boxing Association of Sri Lanka. in December 2006. 2005 to date – Vice President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka. Team Manager for the Commonwealth Boxing Championship. Malaysia in 2003 & SAF Games. National Institute of Business Management of Sri Lanka 2002 – Committee Member. Co-author of book. Achievements 2004 – CIMA and Financial Management Awards UK –adjudged as “Highly Commended Business Leader of the Year”.Dian has a sound academic background and well-rounded corporate experience.

there are three types of skills which are important for successful management performance. His corporate achievements has been ably supported by the teams he built. through a mixture of intuition and finely honed people skills. Human Skills and Conceptual skills. Beginning in 1993.2007 – Chairman of the Textile Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. So amazing experiences at different levels and different parts of my career. According to Robert L Katz. They are Technical skills. Because in his own words “it all ultimately boils down to the leadership qualities and how you manage people”. The Individual Within Dian has got the basic foundation in finance which was developed in to general management through various programs. “When you setup plants in the villages it gave me a different exposure dealing with people. University of Kelaniya. Dian from the start of his career has built upon these three skills which are needed for each level of management and now as a top executive he demonstrates more of the human skills as well as conceptual skills. which is a testament to the relationship between the management and workers. 3 . Dian is also known for his uncanny ability to pick talent. working with a multinational background under SLC (UK). but the ultimate learning out of this is how we manage people.” Master of Business Administration. something that is quite unusual for an apparel manufacturing facility. 2007 – Director of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board Visiting lecturer at the University of Moratuwa Dian’s reputation of being a “peoples’ person” is grounded on his philosophy of work and life that began during his years at Slimline in Pannala. and the focus he put on developing them to become world class. Slimline also bloomed into a breeding ground of champions with a host of sporting talent competing at the highest global level. but the real success lays in how he motivates people and gets people to work. His charismatic leadership saw the company achieve many an impossible task. which categorize him as a competent top level manager. he guided the company into a globally renowned center for excellence that won awards and plaudits for its governing philosophy and execution.

The significance of his tenure heading MAS Intimates is how he has been able to blend various talents together not only to achieve the business growth but the passion built on for sports. a brother and even as a god. Dian gives great value to the opportunities he gets to motivate people. Those I believe are the attributes of success” Dian has a close relationship with all the levels in the organization. The Team Player “I could reach at any level. whether right or wrong I make the call and then I move on. Dian highlighted that. MAS Intimates has grown to be a 300mn USD business entity with about 14. All of the above attributes shows how Dian has contributed to the achievement of the group objectives. his job at MAS is to play like the conductor of an orchestra bringing all of the talents together. University of Kelaniya.All of these skills acquired through his career with various experiences have made him a highly capable individual making productive contributions through talent. “Lot of us takes long time to be decisive. The career he started at MAS had a huge turn around when he was appointed the first Managing Director of Slimline (Pvt. He has built this relationship up to a point where he’s treated as a father. The Competent Manager During an interview. even to simpler things like giving a lift to a worker who’s on his way to work.” As he stated above he does not let this closeness interfere with his managerial decisions. He’s very decisive and empowers his team mates to be decisive as well. which is now under the cluster of seven plants of MAS Intimates headed by him. working effectively with others in a group setting.000 workers. skills and good work habits. knowledge. 4 .) Ltd. And that could be his greatest success and Master of Business Administration. one of the traits which I have is that I’m decisive. for example I have plain tea with the workers in the canteen and share the same rice with them and also I have had tea with Prince Charles when he opened the factory. there by he clearly grasps in to the affiliation needs of his subordinates in motivating them. McClelland’s Acquired Needs Theory defines how the need for affiliation motivates people. specially boxing.

well guided by Dian. They’ve gone to the extent of getting the girls from the sewing lines to participate in operational decision making through what is called the JCC (Joint Consultative Committee). MAS Intimates today has reached to 300mn USD Company with his great ability of organizing people and resources towards the effective and efficient pursuit to predetermined objectives. The reason behind this is the open door policy and the participative style of management adopted by the management. You need to look deep into the mentality of your employees and identify what is most important to them. This cannot be done. and motivating them with some KPIs and drive it hard.that his people are much more competent in their backgrounds than him and that he tend to recruit people those who are better than him. University of Kelaniya. He’s a firm believer that in order to be effective in people management. They need to understand what makes people come together and use this to steer them ahead to achieve exceptional performance.” MAS Intimates run a labor intensive operation with more than 12. understand and empower their employees. Dian also make it a point to address the staff at least once in three weeks. understanding what is the required technology and the required people.” Here Dian emphasizes the importance of organizing people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives. sitting back in plush city offices. 5 . it is important to ‘walk the talk’! Master of Business Administration. My experience of over a decade working with the rural majority has taught me that. Thus there have never been any strikes or anything of the like. The Leader with great sportsmanship “Our leaders need to know. This will vary among different levels of employees. Dian personally sit at this forum and together with the workers.000 people under their payroll. The significant fact is that they don’t have a single trade union in any of their factories. “Most important thing to build a successful business is. understanding the vision. collectively address issues that arise on a day to day basis. which are attributes of a competent manager. It is not possible to assume what drives people.

He embarked on that journey recruiting 5 school boys. “According to Maslow’s theory I would say I’m one notch away from self actualization.” Master of Business Administration. University of Kelaniya. And today after 40 years he has managed to take a boxer to the Olympic Games. He has been profiled in the world renowned Wall Street Journal and has been appointed to the world body of Boxing. My philosophy to life is also like that. So you take eight breaths. In 1999 long years after he had left boxing and boxing administration he went for the SAAF games in Katmandu and then the chairman of the National Olympic Committee mentioned that he should take on Boxing. When I boxed I’ve taken a countdown. but I’ve never been counted out. when you get a punch on the chin and those days we didn’t have head guards. He claims that he has reached the pinnacle in terms of his career. “I have one philosophy. basically a count is about ten to be counted out. I’ve got up after six or seven counts. he has been carrying this vision forward gradually towards the success of this vision. And this opportunity and technical competency is more than enough to run this business. when you get a hard punch on your chin you go down you get up again and get used to the next fight.” It is very much eminent that he is an effective leader who catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision. In my job I’m always telling my people that we are not doing brain surgery here or we are not making rockets here. From the moment of his appointment as the Chairman of the amateur boxing federation. And my actualization will come if we win a gold medal in Olympics for Boxing. stimulates the group to high performance standards. where within the period of 8 years he should be able to get a medal for Sri Lanka in Olympics. it’s like boxing.Dian is well known as a visionary leader. the blood doesn’t go the brain so you hit the canvas. And for last five years he has been the president of the amateur boxing association. His vigorous pursuit of goals is very much visible in his philosophy to life. He has been recognized as a business leader locally as well as internationally by being awarded various awards. we are just making bras and panties. 6 . The Executive who loves humility Dian in his professional career has been the president of CIMA in Sri Lanka and was well recognized by CIMA for his contributions. two years later Slimline beat army in national championships.

the Classical. innovation. Master of Business Administration. Harvard Business Review. Slimline (Pvt. Conclusion Dian demonstrates a number of personal and professional qualities that classify as being from the Great Person. money everything to make a better place for us. 2006. “Modern Management”. Jim Collins. “Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve”.But he doesn’t want to be remembered for any of the successes he had in his career. leading are all apparent when analyzing his day to day performance. resources. he used his time. that I have changed their life and helped them in their life. Analysis of his success story provides valuable insights which can be used by anyone in developing their career as well as life.. 2004. 10th Edition. Prentice Hall. References “Timeless Slimline”. energy. 2001. the Leadership and the Management Schools of Entrepreneurship. And the day that I die I want them to come to the cemetery and think that look this man was a great coach he gave a helping hand. vigor. motivation. University of Kelaniya.” This brings out the humility within him and with the will power he has demonstrated all over his career he has built enduring greatness as a Level 5 leader. 7 . persistence.) Ltd. His skills and behaviors of intuition. Certo and S Travis Certo. “I want to be remembered by my people that I have been a difference in their life. directing. Samuel C.

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