The Correspondent in an exclusive interview talked to Syed Nadeem Ahmed, CEO Searle Company Ltd. 

He told us how his company was shortlisted by Forbes, the only pharmaceutical company in Pakistan included in the list. Furthermore, Mr Ahmed discussed the future trajectory and plans Searle has in terms of expanding its reach and output. 

Q: Searle has been included in Forbes 200 top company in Asia. What was the hard work behind it and what was especial about Searle?

Ans: Searle has done a wonderful job in the last couple of years. Today Searle is the second-largest pharmaceutical company in terms of units and fourth-largest in terms of value. Besides that, Searle was the company that always maintained the highest market cap on the Pakistan Stock Exchange. There are different ways of gauging the performance of any organization. Number one, off-course, is revenue, that you look at it. Number two, the bottom line it makes. Mostly the stock exchange look at these two numbers; that is what interest the investors.

But being a chief executive officer of the organisation, it is my responsibility that besides looking at the top and bottom line, there is a lot in between. Secondly, team, you need to buildup a strong team. And I am fortunate that I have an excellent team working for me, and we have evolved. Third, which is most important is that organizations are not going to grow for themselves, but they grow for societies also. And by the grace of Allah, we have been contributing to society for a long time. We are sharing with leading philanthropic institutions in the country, including Citizens Foundation, Shokat Khanum Memorial Hospital, Indus Hospital, Thalassemia Centers, Agha Khan Hospital and different non-government organizations NGOs involved in the education and health care sectors. Searle itself is running a hundred-bed hospital known as ‘AKAR’ in Liaqatabad for poor people. And every they had more than eight hundred patients in outpatients facility there.

So this is what we do for society, and this is what we do for the corporate world. I am really honoured when I have been shortlisted for Forbes Asia. It was around hundreds and thousands of companies in Asia.

When you say Asia, we are talking about India, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and the entire Gulf. So it is not small since Asia is not small. Out of hundreds of thousands of companies, they have shot listed around eighteen thousand companies 18,000 companies and out of 18000 companies, the only pharmaceutical company Alhamdulilah was our company.

Q: So what was the magic behind it, what made it happen?

Ans: The same question was raised when I was receiving this award, and the answer is I don’t know what I have done. I just continued to hard work as I don’t work for awards; I work for work. I work for the organization. I work for my team; I work for the betterment of society and the company. And I don’t know for some reason we use to get awards from somewhere. So the magic behind it is you should remain focused on your work, and you should continue to work exactly your thinking is to bring always an improvement. And when you do this, you will always get good results.

Q: Would you like to share views and advice to other companies?

Ans: My advice is, don’t run after the results run after excellence. Since when you run after excellence, you will get the results automatically. So I always ask my team to let work passionately, not greedily. When you bring greed in it, you will hardly get good results. On the other hand, when you bring in passion, I always noticed it; success will always come.

Q: What next, what are the aims ahead and beyond this level of achievement?

Ans: We are the only company that has a biological facility in Pakistan. We are the only company shortlisted not only by Forbes Asia but besides that, and we have been shortlisted by Morgan Stanley, Financial Times Index and, off-course, The Bloomberg. So I have been lucky that I and a wonderful board who always takes good directions and diagrams and an excellent team. And think that is a great combination.

We got a very clear cut future objective as we are the second-largest company. I would love to become the number one company in Pakistan, and we are geared up for that. All my team is working day and night to achieve that goal. On Number two, we are already in about eighteen nineteen countries we got our own setup. And I would like to bring it to 50 countries around the globe in the next few years.

Q: Any time frame you have in mind for the aim for this expansion?

Ans: The aim is to achieve it in three to four years. Besides that, we are trying to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for two of our facilities in Pakistan. So with this combination of becoming the number one player in the country and a sizable player in the region and having FDA approved plant is my ultimate goal for now.

The author is a senior business and economy journalist . He has worked for leading local and international news organisations.

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