Thusitha Abeyesekera, a member of the Executive MBA 2017 cohort, expands his business and management skillset as his career advances.
Thusitha Abeyesekera, a member of the Executive MBA 2017 cohort, has been promoted to a senior leadership position at British American Tobacco (BAT). Based at BAT’s global headquarters in London, UK, Thusitha is taking on new challenges in this influential role at the company’s Global Brand Group.
Thusitha is now responsible for strategic marketing and global deployment of new innovations, aligned to the potentially reduced risk product agenda of this FTSE 100 company.
A global career in Marketing
Starting out at BAT as a Management Trainee in Sri Lanka 12 years ago, Thusitha has had an impressive tenure at the company, working his way up through key leadership roles across several continents. To date, he’s led marketing in Russia, headed up brand in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, worked as Head of Shopper Marketing and at the Corporate Strategy office for the South Asian Cluster. Prior to his promotion, Thusitha was working as the company’s Senior Global Brand Portfolio Manager.
Thusitha’s hard work for BAT has been recognised on several occasions. In 2012, he was the recipient of the prestigious Chairman’s Award in Sri Lanka, and in 2015 he scooped the company’s ‘Tier 3’ award in Pakistan. These are considered the highest forms of recognition awarded to BAT employees in the respective geographies. He was also awarded the Business Leaders Award by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in 2013 for outstanding professionalism and service.
“I’m very excited and humbled to have been given the opportunity to shape a key strategic enabler for the group,” says Thusitha. “I believe my experiences with BAT globally, and the more recent exposures gained via the Cambridge Executive MBA, have helped prepare me for this role”.
Broadening experiences at Cambridge
Thusitha is keen to discuss the importance of the things he learned on the Executive MBA programme.
“The Cambridge experience was an awe-inspiring journey. The education goes beyond the classroom to practical experiences which were truly gratifying. I believe my experience was epitomised by the motto of my college, Downing: ‘Quaerere Verum’, which means ‘to seek the truth’.”
“I especially enjoyed the exposure to the startup environment in Silicon Valley, to appreciate and learn from individuals with a very different mindset and approach to business,” continues Thusitha.
“I’ll definitely be applying things I gained from these experiences in my new role, which involves bringing to life innovations and also ensuring the end to end global delivery impacting the P&L positively”.
Thusitha also says he found the exposure to other professionals within the programme through its network of fellow participants rewarding.
“I enjoyed the diverse experiences my cohort brought into the classroom, from the discussions of case studies to the varied paradigms of corporate leadership. Over time, we built a strong sense of camaraderie and friendships which I believe which will remain for years to come”