By Muhammad Usman
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but they also say that some big trees tend to cast shadows on smaller ones. In the case of Ali Jahangir Siddiqui the former is definitely true while the latter is open to scrutiny. Ali grew up with an entrepreneur legend as a father, a tireless philanthrop as a mother and a business empire as his school and inspiration. Many lesser intellects would have seen their good fortune as a silver spoon or to use their father’s hard earned empire as their personal playground. However, Ali Jahangir Siddiqui only got more motivated as a business person and his father’s success proved both inspiration and aspiration for him.
Education is indeed the great equalizer, not only for providing equal opportunity based on merit but because education does not discriminate. After being an exemplary student, leader and gaining top SAT scores; Ali Jahangir Siddiqui set out to gain the best education the world has to offer. He got accepted in to Cornell University and majored in Economics, and continued to be a student leader representing Pakistan proudly every step of the way. “My father attributes a lot of his success to his own father pushing him to be well-educated, so for myself and my family, education is very important”, commented Ali during an interview.
Having a large corporation was in no way seen by Ali as his birth right, especially as his father, Jahangir Siddiqui is a huge proponent of individuals earning their way and position. Siddiqui Senior, who had his humble beginnings selling Coca Cola as a fourteen year old instilled the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit in his son as well. Ali began his career in Hong Kong in the private equity industry where he managed funds for various Asian governments.
After gaining considerable business experience and savvy by working with various investments and companies, Ali Jahangir Siddiqui became ready to not only set up his own ventures but take on the heavy responsibility of managing his family’s legacy as well. Since then he has co-founded or invested into a number of emerging market companies within the Agriculture, Aviation, Banking, Energy and Ports sectors.
Within JS Group, Ali Jahangir Siddiqui has worn a number of hats which is testament to his versatility and eagerness to challenge himself. Ali Jahangir Siddiqui is a sponsor of JS Group and has held various responsibilities, including being an Executive Director at the Group’s investment management business from 2002-2003 and Managing Partner of JS Private Equity, the private equity business he established in 2006. JS Private Equity is Pakistan’s largest private equity firm. He is also Advisor to the Chairman and Board of JS Bank.
However, according to Ali Jahangir Siddiqui the work he is most passionate about is giving back to communities. He is CEO of theMahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation, one of the largest private sector charities in Pakistan, which funds projects in healthcare, education, social enterprise and disaster relief. He is always trying to figure out the most effective and innovative solutions to bring seamless relief and development to marginalized communities so that their future may be brighter.
Investing in the future is very close to not only Ali’s heart but it is also a strategic plan for him. As a younger businessperson he understands that youth are brimming with ideas and energy for innovation that need to be effectively harnessed and guided to reach their potential. Thus, he is a Board Member of the Acumen Fund in New York, which invests in innovative businesses that serve the underprivileged in Africa and Asia.“Fundamentally, Acumen is different from the rest of the sector. It’s innovative & it tries to take risk and tries to fund companies that actually are changing the way business is done”, boasts Ali.
The young businessman also understands the importance of policy and government lobbying in affecting change in a sustainable and effective manner. His involvement as Member Board of Investment of the Government of Sindh, Member Community Development Board of the Government of Sindh and Member Corporate Advisory Council of the National University of Science and Technology is resounding evidence to that effect. He was also formerly a Board Member of the Privatisation Commission of the Government of Pakistan. It is not common that a young and successful businessman is so involved in government agencies, which sets a great example for the country’s youth that need more positive role models in both, government and business.
Only in his thirties, Ali Jahangir Siddiqui has garnered a lot of success and is one of the youngest to be on Bloomberg Business as an executive. He is an example for never resting on your laurels or good fortune. Greatness begets greatness; time will tell what greater feats will come out of the Siddiqui family!
The writer tweetts at @depakiblogger