A Holistic Approach to Leadership – Teranka Carim, Chief Executive Officer of Volvo Cars Sri Lanka

An alumnus of the prestigious Wesley College Colombo, Teranka Carim currently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of the iconic Volvo, Sri Lanka; a company that belongs to the diversified conglomerate, IWS Holdings. Founded by Mr. I. W. Senanayake, IWS Holdings seeks to provide state-of-the-art solutions and services to multiple segments in the market. The company has partnered with global brands such as Porsche, Volvo, Skoda, Polaris, Motorola, Krones, IGEBA, and CNN, and Teranka is proud to be a leader at an organization with such an illustrious, international portfolio. 

Teranka spared no time, entering the workforce at the age of 19 as a marketing assistant for the local agent of the Malaysian National Shipping Line (MISC) – A world-leading provider of energy-related maritime solutions and services. Eager for change and determined to further his career in shipping, he joined the Evergreen line as a Marketing Executive which emboldened him to take the brave entrepreneurial step of starting a freight company with his friend at the age of 22. Despite sustaining a successful entrepreneurial venture for almost 2 years, Teranka and his friend were faced with challenges that proved to be insurmountable given their lack of experience in the industry. Far from defeated, in 1999, he seized the opportunity to start over in a completely different industry – healthcare & pharmaceuticals.

Backed with great leadership, mentorship, and experience in sales and marketing, Teranka progressed rapidly from his position as a medical representative to being appointed as the Head of Marketing at CIC Life Sciences Limited. In between these two points of his career, he also served as the Senior Executive for Hemas Healthcare and as the Area Manager for Thorn Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd. Working in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector gave him exposure in areas such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, product sourcing, product development, and supply chain activities, adding to his knowledge and expertise; Teranka was headhunted by Delmage Forsyth & Co. Ltd and was appointed as the company’s Business Development Manager. Additionally, Teranka is proud to have contributed towards innovative market penetration solutions for e-channeling – a system and brand that has undoubtedly evolved to become a household name in Sri Lanka.

After a successful run in the healthcare sector, with the added exposure to the tech world for his work on the e-channeling platform, Teranka made the bold decision to change industries yet again, leaving behind his senior management role in the healthcare & pharmaceuticals sector. He wanted to prove his versatility as a professional by succeeding in any industry as he believes that, “The industry is independent of your profession and your profession is independent of the industry you work in”.  Teranka entered the premium automobile industry with BMW and was part of the iconic team that launched BMWi – the first sustainable electric automotive brand made available in Sri Lanka; sparking the disruptive notion that luxury is sustainable.  Today, as the CEO of Volvo, Teranka is responsible for his team, their well-being, their future, and their performance; he firmly believes that it is imperative to execute your responsibilities diligently, irrespective of your position or scope. When asked about his accomplishments, Teranka was proud to say that his team was able to achieve the excellence award for exceptional sales performance in the region for the year 2019  – but emphasized that all credit goes to his team for their relentless efforts.

What we experience today is unprecedented. The entire world had to adapt. We live in the new normal which is far from normal. The fabric of life as we knew it changed. Macroeconomic implications are beyond what we ever imagined. You need to make some tough decisions. Adopt bold strategies and remain positive as we believe that tough times don’t last but tough people do.” Stated Teranka, in conversation about the ongoing global pandemic.  He continued to say, “The vehicle import ban is the biggest challenge to the industry. We had to think out of the box and realign our resources. Keeping the team morale high during arduous times where “uncertainty is the norm” is a tough challenge.”.  However, Teranka was confident that the IWS Holdings Group is strong enough to sustain the business, continuing to deliver exceptional customer service despite the trying times.

“There are three essentials in leadership; Humility Clarity and Courage”

Volvo stands for safety. As a brand, it has evolved in leaps and bounds, and its commitment to safety is altruistic; Volvo invented the 3-point seat belt and refrained from patenting it to ensure the technology was accessible to other manufacturers so more drivers can be safe, regardless of the car they drive. Renowned as the world’s safest automobile, Volvo has remained consistent with this promise through the years. From finely crafted Swedish Nappa leather luxury to the premium onboard infotainment systems powered by high-performance, efficient drive trains. Volvo stands at the forefront as the world’s fastest-growing luxury automotive brand, and the brand addresses Sri Lankan premium vehicle consumer needs holistically. Moreover, by 2030, all Volvo cars will be zero-emission vehicles. “Since 2016, Volvo has appointed Swedish cars (a subsidiary company of IWS Holdings) as the sole importer and the dealership for Sri Lanka. Customer confidence has risen since. With our up-to-date Volvo Qualified and experienced staff. We offer the best experience in motoring ownership to our customers.” said Teranka.

The team at IWS believes in being pragmatic and they understand it is only a matter of time until Covid (yet another pandemic in history) is brought under control, and the future of tomorrow depends on perseverance through adversity. “R&D does not stop and the mobility industry will evolve. By the time Sri Lanka opens up for imports, global trends would change.  The systems, drivetrains, customer interfaces, and retail experiences are evolving. The future is zero-emission sustainable electric mobility”, said Teranka.  IWS is taking this opportunity to gear up for the future and invest in their human resources and infrastructure to be optimal for performance, to better serve their clientele. Bearing in mind the vision of their chairman, Mr. Arthur Senanayake, IWS strives to look after its employees, undertaking many measures to assist them through these difficult times.

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