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Top CEOs in Pakistan – 2015

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2 years ago

Business

There is no shortage of ambitious and intelligent business leaders in Pakistan. So trying to compile a list of the “top CEOs in Pakistan” is a massive challenge because:

  1. Every reader will have their own ideas regarding who should be on the list,
  2. There are so many great CEOs that listing them all would result in a too-long article.

When determining a criterion for who should be on this list, I focused on growth and change. Which CEOs have made a huge impact in the companies they run during their tenure?

Still, the list could still be endless. And how do you measure growth and change? We don’t exactly have minute data on every company in Pakistan.

Therefore, we’ve tried to highlight a few CEOs that we can definitely see standing out from the pack. If you feel we’ve missed someone, please do leave a comment with the change/growth they’ve brought to their company.

If you’re wondering why I just spent 10 minutes explaining the criterion, please read the comments on Pakwired’s previous Top CEO listicles here. Also, this list isn’t in any particular order.

1. Ehsan A. Malik – Unilever Pakistan

ehsanmalik1

image via pbc.org.pk/mr-ehsan-malik/

Unilever is a household name in Pakistan. When Ehsan Malik took over as CEO in 2006, it was already doing really well but under his leadership the company has grown almost triple in terms of business. In just 9 years, that’s an incredible level of growth.

2. Sarfaraz Rehman – Engro Foods

SarfarazRehman ENGRO

People in the know will complain that Sarfaraz Rehman is no longer the CEO of Engro. Yes, but seeing as how he voluntarily left the company this June, we’re going to go ahead and put him on this list.

Five years ago very few people knew of Engro foods. The company, having launched in 2006, was struggling against heavy hitters like Unilever and Nestle. Sarfaraz Rehman has taken the company to a 40+ billion business, and a household name – with brands like Olpers and Omore. In fact, he left the company once before – for philanthropy work – but the board asked him to come back as CEO after two years as the company’s revenue fell during his absence.

3. Musharaf Hai – L’Oreal Pakistan

Musharaf Hai L’Oreal Pakistan

Musharaf Hai was the first Pakistani woman to become a CEO of Unilever Pakistan, and left the company to launch L’Oreal Pakistan. Competing against established brands, such as P&G and Unilever, L’Oreal Pakistan has grown exponentially under her leadership. They’ve setup local production and currently have a sustainable market share of around 10% in just five years.

4. Jon Seward – Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Limited

John Seward - General Manager of Coca-Cola Beverages

Till 1996, Coca Cola operations in Pakistan were managed through franchises. Since then, CCBPL (Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Limited) has almost overtaken Pepsi – which previously had an 80%+ share of the market but now stands around 50% – under the leadership of John Seward.

5. Faheem Ahmad – JCR-VIS

Faheem Ahmad JCR-VIS

Not many people know of JCR-VIS, one of only two credit rating companies in Pakistan. Faheem Ahmad has been running the company since its launch in 1997. In 2001, he participated in the establishment of the Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) in Bahrain.  He has also launched Pak Ujala – a solar solution in the cold storage network. In 2013 he was elected Chairman of the Board of ACRAA (Association of Credit Rating Agencies in Asia), the first Pakistani to be elected to this position.

6. Roshaneh Zafar – Kashf

Roshaneh Zafar - Kashf

Managing Director of Kashf Foundation, Roshaneh launched the organization after leaving her job at the World Bank. Under her leadership, the Kashf Foundation has spread its operations to Sindh, KPK and Balochistan. They provide micro-finance to female-led businesses and start-ups, thereby encouraging female entrepreneurship in low-income areas.

7. Farees Shah – Daraz.pk

Farees Shah – Daraz.pk

Co-Founder of Daraz, Farees Shah, has changed the online shopping landscape in Pakistan since launching the website in 2012. While still not mainstream, more and more people have started shopping online – specifically on Daraz.pk – as it offers a massive range of products from different companies. They recently launched a mobile app as they believe the future of online sales depends on that.

8. Javed Afridi – Haier Manufacturing Unit

Javed Afridi - Haier Manufacturing Unit

Javed Afridi is the CEO of Haier Manufacturing Unit. He was recently awarded the best CEO award by CEO Summit Asia 2015. He has been very supportive of both the domestic and international cricket teams for Pakistan, sponsoring them multiple times in the last few years.

9. Nadeem Hussain – Tameer Microfinance Bank

Nadeem Hussain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Thank you Fayyaz Khan for bringing Nadeem to our attention. 

Nadeem Hussain is the Founder, President and CEO of Tameer Microfinance Bank. The pioneer of branchless banking in Pakistan, with Easy Paisa, TMB was established in 2005 and had achieved break-even by 2009. Nadeem Hussain has been recognized as one of the top 100 CEOs in the country as well as “Leader of the Year” at the 6th Annual Global Microfinance Achievement Awards 2011 held in Geneva.

Alright, these are our picks for top CEOs that are driving change in their industry – and companies. Who have we missed? Leave us a comment.

EDIT: Please check Top CEOs In Pakistan – 2016

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Nida Rasheed is a freelance writer and business owner with a serious caffeine addiction. She loves her dogs, wants to travel the world, and dislikes referring to herself in the third person. Follow her on Twitter: @nidarasheed

  • You forgot Nadine Malik, the only female country manager for a Rocket Internet company in Pakistan.

    • Didn’t forget her. While Jovago is a great company, I didn’t include it because it launched a year ago and hasn’t yet made a huge impact.

      • Zaina Liza Iqtidar

        Hi Nida,

        I was wondering if you’ve heard of Farhan Masood.. the CEO of Solotech Labs and the CTO of SoloInsight Inc., the company that created one of the world’s fastest 3D facial recognition and iris scanning algorithms right here in Pakistan. Farhan brought ‘hi-tech’ out of hollywood movies and into everyday life in Pakistan and has won 39 international awards for his achievements. His company has been around for over a decade and has 96 clients in 144 locations including PepsiCo, Nestle, Nishat Group, Monnoo Group, McDonald’s, Lays, IKEA etc. I think he’d look alright in a list like this :)

        • Hi Zaina,

          Multiple questions about this. He’s the CTO, by my understanding, not the CEO. Is that correct? Also, isn’t this company based in the US? We were looking for Pakistani companies..

          • Agreed !

          • Zaina Liza Iqtidar

            Hi Nida,

            Farhan is the CEO of SoloTech Labs, the Pakistani company that has developed the facial recognition algorithm, designed the hardware as well as produced it. He has boot strapped his business into one of the largest provider of biometric technology along with Attendance and Payroll management solutions in Pakistan.

            He has now also become the CTO of SoloInsight Inc., a US based start up.

          • Hi LinkedIn doesn’t reflect this information :/ I have to have verifiable information to add him to this list.

      • Please share qualitative and quantitative metrics on what counts as a “huge impact”.

        • In that I don’t know one person that uses it for hotel bookings :)

  • Fayyaz Khan

    What about Nadeen Hussain,,? Founder & CEO of Tameer Microfinance Bank , the pioneer of Branch less Banking Solution (Easypaisa) in Pakistan.. winner of several national and international awards,,,

    • EasyPaisa is a joint venture between Telenor and TMB. However, Nadeem was on a draft list as TMB is undoubtedly doing great things. It’s not really sustainable yet, as a bank, and that is why I decided to leave it off. Let me know if you have any info to the contrary and I’ll add him to this list.

      • EasyPaisa is exclusively belongs to Tameer while Telenor is providing back-end/connectivity services. (I was the part of Team when EasyPaisa launched) As for as the matter of sustainability of bank is concerned please note that….

        (a) Tameer is not only the largest micro-finance bank of the Pakistan in terms of disbursement , touch points , profitability , deposit base and product base but also one of the most sustainable MFIs of the world;

        (b) Bank established in 2005 and achieved break-even in 2009 only after four years of its establishment;

        (c) JCR’s ratings declare the bank a highly sustainable MFB;

        (d) Nadeem Hussain is among the top 100 CEOs of the world;

        (e) Only MFB in Pakistan which is registered in KSE & licensed as scheduled bank;

        (f) Several national and international awards are the prove that Tameer is rightly called the “Shark Micro-finance Sector in Pakistan “;

        Here I would disagree to include the name of Roshane Zafar in list of top CEOs , as Roshane is running a small NGO (Kashf Foundation) and Kashf Bank (Established in 2008-09) is already taken over by the Finca (Inefficient management caused huge delinquency and liquidity issues and bank failed to survive);

        If you need further information , you are most welcome….

        Sincere Regards,

        F.H.KHAN

        • Hi Fayaz, Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’ll add him :)

  • Habib Haider

    You have skipped the name of CEO of PTCL Walid Irshaid as the company has remarkably furnished and he added to revolutionize the Telecom Industry in Pakistan under his leadership…

    • Hi Habib. Could you share some stats? Warid is one of the smaller telcos, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on how he fits the bill.

    • Izzi Hassan

      No. PTCL continues to be one of the worst failures in Pakistani business. They are completely mismanaged and unreliable in most parts of the country that are not financial hubs.

      Just no.

  • Ahmed Ali

    also review Mr. Zakir Mahmood former president of HABIB BANK LIMITED, is silent, powerful, strategist and an amazing personality.

    Atif Bajwa is another success story being the youngest president of any banking company in Pakistan i.e. ABN Amro Bank in 90’s.

    • Hi Ahmed, there are undoubtedly a lot of great CEOs in the financial sector, but we were looking to highlight those that have either led their company through a huge change or have seen tremendous growth. Let me know if either of the two fit the bill, and send across any information you have via comment :)

      • Ahmed Ali

        Thanks for your response Nida,
        Mr. Zakir Mahmood took over as President Habib Bank in 2000-2001 a government nationalized bank while the bank was showing losses and by taking short and long term strategic and financial decision bank took a turn towards profit making and efficient business management. although i never met him after 2001 but the numbers speaks, he can be a good role model for upcoming leaders… just my personal opinion…….rest is upto you and your criteria for setting the list….

        • Hi Ahmed, Isn’t Nauman K Dar the current CEO of HBL (http://www.hbl.com/about-us-board.php).

          • Ahmed Ali

            yes, you are very right, Mr. Noman Dar has taken over in September 2012 after retirement of Mr. Zakir Mahmood, Previously Noman has been heading International, Investment and Corporate Division of the bank, but when he took over the bank it was already on the highway of success.

            When Zakir Mahmood took over in Feb 2000, he actually accept the challenge to turn the bank (with losses of 8,850 in 1999)

            into a profit making entity ( after tax profits of 22.3 bn in 2012) after getting it out from troubles by making many difficult decisions and building a professional management team for sustainable growth in future.

            (http://jang.com.pk/ads/hbl/Ten%20Years%20at%20a%20Glance.pdf)

            http://www.hbl.com/downloads/pdf/Announcement-of-HBL-financial-result-for-2012.pdf

          • We’re only including current CEOs. The only exception, as pointed out, is Engro Foods CEO who left the company in June.

          • Ahmed Ali

            its ok you are owner of your page, i was just trying to share my knowledge about these people.. anyways thanks for time to respond me…..kind regards

    • Atif Bajwa is still CEO at ABM Amro? Also, Zakir Mahmood isn’t a current CEO :)

      • Dr Shahid A Zia

        Atif Bajwa is now President Bank Alfalah

  • Muhammad Ehsan Iqbal

    How can you forget Mr. Saquib Shirazi of Atlas Honda Limited? he brought tremendous change/growth in AHL.

    • Hi, Can you share specifics of the change he brought about? Maybe some numbers? That would really help. Thanks.

      • Saleem Jan Khan

        Hi. I was reading comments of different people and your responses. In KE you just mentioned to the gentleman that you were not sure as to “financials are enough to consider of a success” and just afterwards in next chat on Honda Allas you are asking for some financials….. . I think, you should tell people as to what is your criteria for selection Madam Nadia”. Is it: Personal connection or really the growth of that particular business, Best. SJ

  • mirza hammad baig

    How can you miss CEO of K-Electric Tayyab tareen, from 9.5 Billion rs per year loss in 2009 it is 13.5 billion per year profit after tax in 2014

    • I’m not sure if just a financial turnaround is considered enough of a success in the power sector. Anyway, thanks for pointing him out.

      • mirza hammad baig

        apart from that KE is the only vertically integrated power utility in Pakistan. It also has the most efficient thermal power station with 45% efficiency in Pakistan setup under tayyab tareen leadership

  • Farrukh Hussain

    You did not include the name of Dr. Abdul Bair founder of Indus Hospital. Please note case study of Indus hospital is studying at Howard Business School and The Indus Hospital is the first hospital who works with paperless environment.

    • It’s a philanthropic hospital, not a company. :)

  • Faraz Butt

    You didn’t include the name of Pakistan’s top property portal “Zameen.com” (www.zameen.com) CEO ,Mr. Zeeshan Ali Khan. This property portal has 1.3 million monthly users plus Zameen.com is one of the largest and most successful property websites
    in Pakistan with 1.3 million monthly visits, 7.5 million monthly
    pageviews, over 1.1 million property listings and more than 7,000 listed
    real estate agencies.
    For further info open the below mentioned link :
    http://www.techjuice.pk/a-candid-interview-with-zeeshan-ali-founder-zameen-com/
    http://www.techjuice.pk/zameen-com-hits-1-million-listings-mark/
    http://www.techjuice.pk/zameen-com-pakistani-real-estate-portal-rolls-out-a-very-convenient-feature-for-mobile-phone-users/

    • Thanks for pointing him out. I’m not sure if he’s CEO or Co-CEO. Can you clarify that and I’ll include him/his brother. Thanks

      • Faraz Butt

        Mr. Zeeshan Ali is Co- Founder & CEO of zameen.com while Imran Ali (his brother) is Co-Founder of Zameen & its sister company Bayut.com…

        Thanks

  • Asif

    Unilever, Coca Cola, Loreal, Engro, they all are established names and having very strong systems and controls. While in the same list you put Daraz, JCR-VIS which is new brands and established with their efforts in Pakistan. I believe you should have separate segments. Further Roshane Zafer is just the KASHF foundation which has no significant presence in Pakistan compare it with TCF You might feel the difference.

    • Growth and innovation, not actual size, is what we were looking for. The Unilever CEO is mentioned, as he took the company to 3 times it’s size since he joined :)

  • M usman

    And what about ceo of national foods abrar hassan , as national foods currently leading in more then 10 categories of fmcg segment , have leading volumetric growth from last three years vs companies like unilever and nestle

    • Can you link to the relevant pages/sites here so I can verify the info?

  • Umair Ali

    Why not Duraid Qureshi, CEO of Hum Network Ltd. The only public listed company in Media and the company growth is almost 25% average in previous years which made it almost double the size in every 3 years. They recently made history by organising first pakistani channel awards in dubai and going to make a new history on eid by releasing Bin Roye world wide including India which never happened since 1947.

    • Can you link to the relevant pages/sites here so I can verify the info? Thanks

  • shuja

    Public limited companies must be separated from non public limited as this also impacts the level of decision making a CEO can have… The ability to maneuver decisions in non public limited is far more… Also CEOs who are of the owner family have far more authority especially if operating non public limited company…. Basically the match should be apple to apple… Further separate the social development sector as their deliverable is measured in terms of impact and not profitability

    • Makes sense. Maybe we’ll follow that for next year’s list.

  • Adeel Noor

    Dear maker of this list
    What criteria did you follow
    Top line and bottom line of the company
    Salary of CEO
    New business initiator because in any criteria your list raises lots of q? Because you missed many intellectual ceos like abrar hassan from national food,Shahid Hussain and many more but you pick I think only those who mostly see on media only

    • Hi Adeel,

      Most of these CEOs are definitely not in the media. No, top and bottom line of the company was not a criteria. In fact, if you’ve read the article, you’ll note I said we were looking at CEOs who have made an impact in their industry/company, either through innovation or immense growth. Is every CEO in Pakistan who has met this criteria on this list, no. Mostly because there’s not enough information online about Pk CEOs. Why don’t you suggest a few names :)

      • human

        mr usman Y mobeen.. Nadra…

      • Jamshed Jadoon

        Mr. Abdul Waheed. CEO AGICO. for reference please visit http://www.agico.com.pk.

  • Zaid K. Iqbal

    Great effort.

  • Ahmed Ateeq

    Girl go and meet Ayesha Aziz, CFA – MD Pak Brunei Investment Company .
    http://www.pakbrunei.com.pk : you can give my reference Regards Ahmed Ateeq

  • I don’t read papers nor watch news (not much), and for people like me blogging and content like these provides an awesomely cool way to get knowledge and then share it with my fellows.

  • John

    Very Good!!! :)

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