A Century in the Making

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Salman Habib, aged 28 years, is the Director of Habib Group and Managing Director of Regent Textile Mills Ltd. He is looking after the group’s export and power generation sector. He graduated in Business Management, BSc. (Hons.) from Queen Mary University, UK.
There are many companies who have established themselves as a name that is synonymous with the business stratosphere. As such, Habib Group has woven themselves into a prestigious position in the textile industry.
Salman Habib is modern in outlook and mission. He is very articulate in synthesizing business decisions and a believer of proper delegation of responsibility and building blocks though HR practices; he is competitive in every sense of business. Salman believes modern day businesses have to run with efficiency, competency and agility where corporatization and inculcating values have paramount importance and completion has no boundary in this stage of globalization. ”We won a tender in home textiles earlier this month by competing with China, India and Turkey ” he added.
While continually expanding their company, the Habib family stays true to their legacy for maintaining quality. They have retained the success of the company for generations. Salman elaborates upon the history of his family, “The Company was founded by my grandfather, late Habib Ullah Meah, it was then taken over my uncles Yakub Ali, Mahabub Ali, and my father Yasin Ali. Since its inception, our family has stayed true to the vision that Habib Group would become a defining name in the business atmosphere of Bangladesh.” The company currently employs 21,000 people and has a number of ventures. They strive upon the commitment to expand and create flourishing businesses in numerous sectors. “We firmly believe that there is always room for growth. Our company, which had started with trading, has expanded into various different sectors. We are currently involved in apparels, aviations, banking, cement, textile, paper, steel, power generation, fertilizers and real estate.”
Further evidence of the company’s endeavor for excellence is Regent Airways and the Power Plants that they are running in Chittagong and Narsingdi. “We currently have five aircrafts in our fleet which is covering a number of destinations domestically, as well as the Middle East and South Asia. We strive to increase the number of destinations day by day.” Unfortunately, a climate of mistrust has been developing in Bangladesh and there is an imperative need to bring back the engagement of investors. Habib Group’s commitment to honest business is helping bring back a sense of trust towards businesses. “We want to create a model for other companies to follow. As large entities of business, we cannot just be driven by the means of profit. A company must also focus on terms of employment, payment to the national exchequer and the overall development of the nation.”
Habib group may have started as a family affair but it has taken on noteworthy success as results of their collective effort. Salman explains, “What started as a family venture has now become the efforts of many dedicated individuals without whom the company would not have stood in such a prominent position. We have the strong commitment of sponsors, an excellent corporate culture and good governance practices throughout the various sectors of the Group.”
In the context of Bangladesh, Salman expands that there are a number of challenges that are preventing the country from reaching its true potential. “The culture and literature of our businesses need proper depictions of ethical practices in order to be recognized as powerful entities. This is why we continue to function in accordance with international standards; we want clients from all over the world to realize the potential within our nation.” Proper delegation and corporatization will only successfully occur with adequate job training in every field with an emphasis on education of the respective vocations. Salman adds, “If you witness the potential of the RMG sector, you will notice that a small nation such as ours has gained such a name. This proves that we have the potential to be one of the top RMG exporters of the world against nations such as China, India and Turkey. With globalization, comes a greater degree of competition in the international market. When we recognize a demand, we find both the vertical and horizontal solutions. Sustained GDP growth through impressive economic development is so much dependent of a good political climate, energy security , and adequate infrastructure. If these issues can be addressed by the government our economy would be growing at a much faster pace.”
Salman cites the inside components of a company to the outward success. “Your employees are essentially like the foundation of a building. No matter what materials you may have used, they are not of efficiency without them. We want our employees to be treated with the care that they deserve. It is a company’s social responsibility.” Given that healthcare is one of the main concerns in the context of the industry, the company provides free medical services to all its employees at its own hospital.
Having an efficient work force is what has led Habib Group to continually provide standard quality in all their sectors. Salman contributes this to proper management. “The managers and professionals are constantly running training programs in order to properly place the manpower available. We believe that nurturing manpower will optimize worker ethic and efficiency.” He attributes providing them with the due facilities because a healthy employee-worker relationship can only occur if both parties understand the needs and visions of the other.
“I believe that Bangladesh will see a better future through education. There are many students obtaining degrees from prominent universities within our country and abroad. If the education system is further emphasized, the country will see a greater number of CEOs from local origins. “Furthermore, if we strongly enforce infrastructural changes, ensure energy security, the double-digit growth that our sectors have set as a challenge, can easily be met.”
Salman Habib is hopeful for the future of Bangladesh. He believes that just like his family’s company, the country can also find great potential if it can consolidate its prospects and use policy level support.

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