Each member who has taken over the reigns of this family business through time, has added and improved the organization auxiliary, to become a reputed business both in Sri Lanka and beyond horizon. Each generational owner and successor has been a founder member, as each one added something new and unique, to elevate the organization to the subsequent level and to all four corners of the world!
In the late 18th Century, the late Mr. Charles David de Fonseka, a great Philanthropist, married to late Ms. Helen Agnes Gunawardena and being the heir to acres of coconut land in Panadura, built the ‘AbayakarunarathneMudalindaramaya’in Welipitiya,Panadura, which was constructed by locals in the area, together with a‘Chaithya’ in the temple premises.
The Late Mr. Fonseka, by birthright owned the liquor business and during the colonial era, was popularly known as ‘Reinda’(business owner). Since both Mr. and Mrs.Fonseka were much more involved in practicing the Buddhist doctrine, they slowly crossed the threshold, to open the ‘golden door’ to produce Vinegar from coconut sap, instead of liquor.
Since Coconut Vinegar was being used as an anti-bacterial liquid for the healing of wounds and an instant stamina drink for soldiers during World War I, the facility not only became a vital resource, being a key ingredient in many food items, with a versatile market, it also became a famous medicinal requirement too.
In his business career, the British presented Mr. de Fonseka a Silver Medal at the All Ceylon Industries Exhibition in 1922, and the Diploma Certificate of Appreciationat the British Empire Exhibition, in 1924.
In 1926, this great gentleman passed away, leaving the business to his wife, the late Mrs.Helen de Fonseka, and thereafter to his children and their descendants.
His main ambition was to take over the whole business and the land outright under his purview as the sole proprietor of the family of de Fonseka . His wife Late Mrs. Constance de Fonseka, a salient figure in the de Fonseka family took over the reigns after the death of spouse Late Eric Bertram de Fonseka in early 1960’s, an early demise unexpected.
Late Mrs. Constance de Fonseka, took over the reigns after the demise of his husband. She was an elegant lady at a time where the men dominated the business fields, she virtuously arose as a strong business woman, challenged by a world of men, emanated running a company alone. Being a lady, she tirelessly worked in order to safeguard the business, by finding suitable distributors. It was at this stage that she was able to score on CDDEF’s best contracts, M/s Reckit&ColmansPvt.Ltd. in 1971 (known today as Reckitt Benckiser), which was the first remarkable turning point of the company, and its introduction to the multinational corporate culture and the global business environment. The brand name of Colmans is still the largest market-share holder for coconut vinegar, from the day they joined to the present. Constance de Fonseka was an energetic business woman,where very few business women existed at that time. Her efforts allowed the company to move on to the next phase of its life. One would say the Golden Era of the C.D De Fonseka Group of Company. Today the present generations enjoy the harvest she reaped without an end and beyond.
Chairman. 1990 to date.
Mr. Rohantha de Fonseka, the son of Late Mrs. Constance de Fonseka, took over the family business gradually, eventually having full control of the company in the 1990’s. Mr. Rohantha de Fonseka worked tirelessly in multiple business fields, to achieve success in whichever project he put his mind to. Today, the most successful person to run C. D. de Fonseka & sons, he is renowned across the island for his achievements. Mr. Rohantha de Fonseka’s guidance to date, allowed CDDEF to climb heights to summit which one dreams of:-
Panted and invented the manufacture of coconut vinegar from coconut water
Revolutions contract manufacturing by supplying to all major reputed brands on the island
Systematically upgraded the whole facility to Global standards (ISO 22000:2008, SLS …)
Introduced Quality systems with a fully functioning Laboratory
Introduced the Acetaor process for High Strength Vinegar (First in Asia)
Diversified company by Contract manufacturing Dettol for RB
Multiple infrastructure establishment
Expanding the premises the Bandaragama
Expanding and diversifying the product portfolio
Architect of CMM, CDDEF Exports and CDDEF Estates.
Mr. Rohantha de Fonseka is well known in the industry as well as in the business community, as a leading figure for strategic guidance and planning. His personal and service records are beyond expression and his achievements are very well reckoned.
Being a Great Philanthropist in the hometown and country wide, he became a prominent personality addition to the company within the CDDEF group. His generous nature within the group and outside of the business was a heartening factor, which gathered strong support for the collective and cohesive culture which exists within CDDEF today. CDDEF today has many programmes and charitable causes, due to Rohantha de Fonseka’s selfless nature, of charity towards community and to the business. His vision and grand plans allowed CDDEF to become the well respected and well equipped organization as it stands today.