Engro CEO Asad Umar quits; for a possible political future


It has been a while since press releases from Pakistan’s conglomerate Engro Corporation have spelled good news.

Yesterday was no different – the only difference being it was not about gas curtailment issues or the slow government response on Thar coal.

It was bigger – as Asad Umar, Engro Corporations President and CEO, announced his resignation.

He served for 27 years at Engro and took over as the President and CEO of the firm in 2004. It was under his leadership and vision that Engro managed to successfully launch the worlds largest single terrain urea plant. When nobody gave him a chance – he managed to bring an investment of 1.3 billion dollars for the Enven plant.

He transformed Engro into the giant that it is today by expanding the businesses – and in just five years time, Engro has gone from being merely another fertilizer company to a well-diversified conglomerate. The businesses in which he ventured tell he believes in Pakistans strength, and his actions have proven what he often says, “indigenous resource is the future of Pakistan”.

Engro is now into fertilizer, food, and rice businesses amongst others, which is all about indigenous organic growth. Engro also ventured into the power sector, but it was never going to stop at Engro Powergen alone – which is why Umar went ahead to tap the immense potential that lies in Thar coal, with Engro now having a block in Thar from where it expects to generate electricity sooner or later.

It wasn only about Engro; Umar has seen assisting governments through various platforms, be it advising the Punjab government on reforming industries, being on the board of OGDC, aiding Sindh government on the Thar coal project or being the chairman of the Pakistan Business Council (PBC).

It was under his chairmanship that PBC got more vocal and attracted positive comments even from politicians as it presented its plans on education, energy and institutional reforms in Pakistan. Why has Umar resigned? The million dollar question could best be answered by the man himself. The press release reads, “(he)..has decided to …pursue other interests”.

Recall that back in early 2008, just before the general elections, Asad Umar made it to the finals of a reality show Enter the Prime Minister.Thats not to say its the reason why he resigns, but a political career cannot be completely ruled out as one of the reasons why he called it quits at Engro.

“Your future is in the line, stand up and be counted” is what Asad Umar said in his speech addressing the members of the IPF.

What is IPF? It is not Institutional Policy Reforms, in case youre wondering.

It is Insaf Professional Forum – a wing of the now popular Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.

Take a hint if you would.

Should this happen (Umar joining PTI), it may not be a bad thing (assuming youre not one of several Engro shareholders) as he has a proven track record of immense leadership qualities and success. The upper house of the parliament has the space for such bright people to offer a professional touch wherever required. That said, if he does end up taking the political role, he will have to do away with his directorship role at the State Bank of Pakistan, as per the SBP Act.

His joining PTI will be considered a serious blow to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

But Umar would be required to walk a tight rope between old-fashioned humour and modern comedy.

His talent and skills will be of immense value to the country only if PTI wins and forms government.

Source: Business Recorder

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