Dilmah Tea Founder Merrill J. Fernando has passed away at the age of 93. He is the first to take single-origin Sri Lankan tea to 100 countries around the world.
Merrill Joseph Fernando (born 6 May 1930) was the founder and former CEO of the Sri Lankan tea company Dilmah. In 2019, Fernando stood down as CEO of Dilmah and was succeeded by his son Dilhan Fernando.
Merrill was honoured by the panel of Nobel Laureates that evaluates ‘businessworthiness’ amongst business men and women globally, as an Oslo Business for Peace Honouree in 2015. In 2016 he was chosen Sri Lankan of the Year by a panel of eminent persons and in the same year he was awarded the FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism for improving the lives of underprivileged children and deprived communities. The Award was presented by Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP., Chancellor of the Exchequer. Dilmah was recognized by brand think tank, Medinge Group as a Brand with a Conscience. That same year he was honoured as a Sri Lankan of the Year and in 2018 received a Lifetime Achievement Award for humanitarian service from the World Association of Chefs Societies at the Congress. In August 2019 Dilmah Founder was honored 2nd highest Sri Lankan National award and bestowed the title of “Deshamanya”.
In November 2019 Dilmah Tea Founder Merrill J. Fernando was capped as a Doctor of Science by Massey University in New Zealand. He was nominated for the honorary doctorate by the Pro Vice Chancellor College of Sciences, Professor Ray Geor, together with Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan, director Massey University’s renowned Riddet Institute. “This honorary doctorate, only the fourth to be bestowed upon an international recipient, celebrates his prowess in business and science, but also his commitment to ethical food production and his philanthropic activities that has seen Dilmah known for its commitment to people,”