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Mian Rehman Aziz Chan: An innovator

Mian Rehman Aziz Chan. Image: File

Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, a law graduate with honours from the University of London and MBA degree holder of the Government College University, is a successful entrepreneur who has taken the family business to new heights by introducing several innovations.

After assuming the charge of the chief executive officer and director of several initiatives of the Chan Group of Industries after completing studies in 2007, he brought several changes in the management and operational system. The group is now a multi-billion-rupee corporate enterprise, mainly dealing in steel, information technology and cold chain management.

Being the CEO of Al-Sakhi Steel Mills, Siddique Iron Industries and M-R Technologies, director of Rehman Steel Furnace, Naveed Faheem Steel Mills, Siddique Cold Storages and managing partner in the Iqra Cold Storages, he is also a philanthropist and vice chairman of M-R Foundation, which is an international charitable organisation with its headquarters in London, UK.

Chan is among the founder directors of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT), where he was part of the team that developed policy, strategy, structure, vision, and shaping of the organisation. He has also served as a member of the board of directors of the Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Tevta) and Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC). Having an interest in trade politics, Rehman Chan is presently working as a senior vice president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Besides, he was the youngest vice president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) with the additional responsibility of the Regional Chairman (Punjab Chapter). He was elected twice as the member of the FPCCI Executive Committee and remained an LCCI Executive Committee member for four times. He has also served as the chairman of the Pakistan Steel Melters Association.

The following are the excerpts of an informal discussion with him:

What was your first business venture?

Upon completion of education, I started legal practice as a senior associate of Salman Akbar Raja. I am a senior partner of the M-R Law chambers, a multinational full-service law company having its headquarters in London, UK. At the same time, I started managing affairs of some of the units working under the Chan Group of Industries. I had brought innovations and worked a lot for expanding the family business.

What is your biggest achievement?

I had brought changes for improvement in the working and overall atmosphere of the companies. In a true sense, I corporatised the companies. Now, the Chan Group of Industries is a big corporate enterprise.

Who is your inspiration?

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is my inspiration, as He is the only perfect human being.

What is your greatest fear in life?

The pandemic has adversely affected all businesses. There is a risk of fall of one’s business or the other due to such unseen threats. Under these circumstances, there is a need to do a variety of businesses and keep on bringing innovations to face such challenges.

How do you take part in public welfare?

I am a donor and head of the M-R Foundation in Pakistan. This international charitable organisation is working to promote entrepreneurship, extending interest-free microfinance facilities to startups, creating and providing jobs to skilled youth, besides offering food to the poor.

What is your favourite sport? Have you ever been an athlete yourself?

Swimming is my passion. I love spending time in the pool.

Your favourite sportsman?

Michael Schumacher ……due to his focus and precision.

Your hobbies?

I am an avid book reader with an interest in philosophy and fiction. Francis Fukuyama is my favourite writer.

Do you listen to music?

I had always been a music lover. Now I have little or even no time for such luxury. Anyway, I love ghazals. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Assad Amanat Ali and Amjad Sabri are my favourites.

How many hours do you work in a day?

I usually spend 10 hours in the office and in the field.

Which is your favourite holiday destination and why?

London is my favourite holiday destination, as I have spent a lot of time there and I have a lot of friends. Turkey is also a preferred destination for holidays due to its loving people and variety of food.

iPhone or Android phones?

iPhone, as for me, is easy to handle. But I do not change the device unless and until the existing one starts causing problems or there is a major update worthy of spending more money.

Which clothing brands do you frequently wear?

I am not a brand conscious but go for the quality. I can wear any quality brand. I also have tailors to get my clothes stitched.

What inspires you to join business politics?

Politics is in my blood. Besides taking part in general politics, my father has been in business politics since 1980 and is among the senior members of the Founders Group. I entered business politics to make my experience and expertise productive for my community. My politics is aimed at serving the nation and bringing positive change to our homeland. There is a need for trade bodies to play the role of think-tanks and provide policy advocacy.

What can make the business environment easy and encouraging?

The business environment is not conducive for both the new entrants and the existing players. Uncertainty, expensive energy and existing laws relating to the property are major hurdles. The entire focus of the government is on large-scale manufacturing and that too only the textile sector. There is little or even no attention paid to other sectors such as agriculture, engineering and services. The Export Promotion Bureau and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) are practically defunct institutions. Pressure groups and vested interests are major hurdles in putting the country on the right track.

The business environment will not improve until reforms are brought from top to bottom. Continuity of leadership at the top level is a key to the continuity of policies. There is a need for practical measures for reducing input costs to make our products competitive in the global market. New entrants should be given proper guidance, enabling atmosphere and tax exemption, at least for three years, to encourage investment.

What is the future outlook of the overall business environment in Pakistan?

I am not optimistic about it. The Western democracy model is a complete failure in Pakistan. It deprived us of consistency of leadership and continuity of policies. There is a need to bring constitutional and institutional reforms and devise such mechanisms that ensure continuity of leadership and policies.

Aziz-ur-Rehman Chan, father of Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said: “He has brought revolutionary changes in the working of industries and I am satisfied and a proud father who has seen his only son coming up to the expectations of the family.”

“He has corporatised the industry and raised [the] hope of taking the family business to new heights in the days to come. He was not only a successful entrepreneur but also a great human being who always treated employees with love and care.”

Mian Rehman Aziz Chan’s cousin Mian Hammad Faheem, said he has updated all the units working under the banner of Chan Group of Industries. Besides updating machinery, he improved the office atmosphere and now his family business is a big corporate enterprise.

He is in the habit of treating employees like his own family members. He is always ready to help people in need. He has inherited a passion of supporting the deserving people.

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