For the eight time, PakWired presents its popular list of the Top CEOs in Pakistan in its 2022 edition. Since 2014, we’ve been rounding up the best and brightest men and women heading prominent Pakistani companies.
Every year, PakWired has the difficult task of winnowing dozens of fantastic candidates down to a compact list of just 10. In the past, readers have questioned the selection process – and rightfully so. There’s no cast-iron set of criteria that decides who makes the ranking and who doesn’t.
Instead, we use a combination of complex factors – ranging from the standard business metrics presented in quarterly and annual reports over leadership style to innovation and social impact.
If you still think that someone who absolutely should have been on this list has been left out, let us know in the comments!
Now, without further ado, here are the Top CEOs in Pakistan in 2022!
Note: This list is never sponsored. Also, the order the CEOs appear in has no significance – their names are simply listed randomly.
Salim Ghauri – NetSol
Heading this list is “the Bill Gates of Pakistan”, Salim Ghauri. He is the co-founder and CEO of NetSol, one of Pakistan’s biggest IT exports and the only Pakistani company to be listed on the NASDAQ.
In addition, Ghauri is the president of the Lahore Chapter of TiE, as well as the honorary Consul of Australia (Punjab).
Part of why Ghauri has been selected to feature on this list – not for the first time! – is also his online presence. He is extremely active on social media, and shares guidance and industry expertise to motivate young people and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Sara Saeed Khurram – Sehat Kahani
Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram is the CEO and co-founder of Sehat Kahani, a telemedicine tech company founded in 2017.
According to Sehat Kahani’s website, 50% of the Pakistani population lacks access to a doctor in their local community. The company’s network of e-health clinics aims to address this issue. To date, it has treated over 1 million patients.
The company maintains 35 rural clinics in which female patients can consult women doctors remotely, under the care of a local nurse. Currently, over 5000 female doctors are part of the Sehat Kahani network.
For her achievements, Saeed recently won the APTECh Young Entrepreneurs award. She was also featured in a BBC documentary. Furthermore, Sehat Kahani won the Global 2021 We Empower award, part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Challenge. This earns her a well-deserved spot in PakWired’s Top CEOs in Pakistan in 2022.
Aamir Ibrahim – Jazz
CEO of Jazz since 2016, Aamir Ibrahim is the head of Pakistan’s largest telecommunications company and internet provider. Furthermore, he’s a member of the Global Executive Committee of VEON, the sixth-largest telecom operator worldwide.
Ibrahim’s CV is impressive, with a career spanning seven countries and a quarter of a century. After receiving his BA in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin, he went on to earn an MBA from IMD and an AMP from Harvard Business School.
In 1999, he launched Jazz (formerly Mobilink) as Pakistan’s first prepaid mobile service. He played a key role in transforming the company into its modern form, as a provider of broadband internet, financial services, and content ranging from music to gaming.
Sikandar Tiwana – Shan Foods
Sikandar Tiwana is the CEO of Shan Foods, a major producer of spice mixes. The company was founded in 1981 and has become a powerful global brand since. Today, it maintains a presence in over 65 countries on five continents.
Tiwana launched his own career in 1983 at Rafhan Bestfoods. In 2001, he joined Unilever and rose through the ranks to become Managing Director for Unilever Bestfoods in 2002. He took over Dabur Pakistan over as CEO in 2006, a position he held for nearly 10 years before becoming Shan Foods’ CEO in 2015.
Tiwana has a solid record of building and reviving businesses, building dynamic teams, and generating sustainable value for shareholders.
In addition, he is a member of Champions for Change Pakistan. This means he’s committed to leadership on gender equality, diversity, and women’s empowerment within both his company and society as a whole.
Muhammad Uns – Swyft Logistics
Another member of Champions for Change, Muhammed Uns is the CEO of Swyft Logistics, a B2B tech-based logistics startup. Launched in October 2019, it now delivers in over 300 cities throughout the country. In 2021, it won the prestigious Brand of the Year award for its success.
Uns holds an MBA from LUMS and launched his career at TRG, a leading call center. Throughout the years, he transitioned into analytics and data capitalization. His true calling, though, is in entrepreneurship and spearheading startups, making him a perfect pick for one of the Top CEOs in Pakistan in 2022.
Monis Rahman – Rozee.pk
Monis Rahman is a serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Rozee.pk, Pakistan’s biggest job portal. He is also co-founder and chairman of Finja, a fintech company that provides mobile wallets, and dukan.pk, an online marketplace.
Born in Lahore, Rahman studied in Wisconsin and worked at Intel in the 90s. In 2002, he returned to Pakistan and launched Naseeb Networks in Lahore, a social network site inspired by Friendster. In 2005, he launched Rozee.pk as an online job board to look for employees for Naseeb, but it quickly evolved from there.
Kalsoom Lakhani – i2i Ventures
Kalsoom Lakhani is the co-founder of i2i Ventures, Pakistan’s first female-founded early-stage venture capital fund. It has invested in companies such as TelloTalk, Tazah, Creditbook, and EZBike.
Lakhani holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MA from George Washington University. She has helped train young entrepreneurs and changemakers across the world, in places like Nepal, Cambodia, Ireland, Bangladesh, and Ukraine.
Furthermore, she has spoken at international venues like the World Economic Forum, the U.S. State Department, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, and SXSW. Her work has been featured in publications such as the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Foreign Policy, and Pakistan’s Dawn Newspaper.
Zia Imran – Zaheen Machines
Another serial entrepreneur, Zia Imran is the CEO of Zaheen, and a founding member of Plan9, one of the largest tech incubators in Pakistan.
Imran holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School Of Business. He also earned an MSc in Computer Engineering from Cornell University, and a BSc from UET, Lahore.
In the 1990s, he worked for Oracle. Throughout the 2000s, and 2010s, he founded a string of successful tech companies, including Axika and VahZay. He furthermore served as the Chairman of P@SHA, the industry trade body for IT, and as the managing director of the Pakistan Software Export board. Currently, he’s the Executive Vice President of the Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP).
In 2014, Imran founded Zaheen Machines, which builds IoT devices.
Imran is also known for using his training as an electrical engineer to design energy-saving devices and renewable energy systems.
Farhan Masood – SoloInsight
Next among the Top CEOs in Pakistan 2022, Farhan Masood is the founder, CO-CEO and CTO of Soloinsight, a tech company that started with a proprietary facial recognition system now expanded to a holistic physical security governance and identity management platform.
Unlike many other CEOs on this list, Masood is entirely self-taught, having dropped out of formal education at 19. He built his company from scratch, securing over $12 million in funding, and scaling it to a global level.
Furthermore, Masood is the founder of Pakistan Go-Green movement, which organizes blood donations and raises funds and volunteers for relief work and community service.
Usman Gul – Airlift
Please note: This article was compiled prior to Airlift’s sudden shut-down in July. At the time, the company was one of Pakistan’s most prestigious startups, at a valuation of $275 million. Airlift abruptly ceased business operations following a failed round of C1 funding, according to reporting by TechCrunch.
Finally, there is Usman Gul, co-founder of logistics and quick-commerce company Airlift. He founded the business back in 2019 and was propelled into the headlines for raising $12 million in Series A funding.
Gul holds a BA from Denison University in Ohio in the US. He also gathered extensive experience as a senior analyst at Mastercard, as well as at Marqueta & Door Dash.
During the pandemic, Airlift took off. To date, the company has raised over $110 million, with a Series B funding boost of $85 million in 2021. This makes it the largest-ever single private funding round in Pakistan’s history.
PakWired’s Annual CEO List is always evolving, so we’d like to get your feedback. What names would you add and why?