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GCC 100 Inspiring Leaders 2019

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Paras Shahdadpuri

Paras Shahdadpuri


Nikai Group of Companies



Paras Shahdadpuri has built a business conglomerate based on ethically serving the needs of consumers, according to him. He calls himself a dreamer who abandoned a career as a diplomat to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions. Shahdadpuri credits his passion and integrity for his success.

Through his leadership, the Nikai Group and its many businesses have developed into a major brand in the Middle East region. Shahdadpuri explains, “Every organisation and every leader must have core values. These may be different for different people and different for different businesses. For me, the core value is to be reliable. When you are reliable, it means you are honest in delivering quality at a reasonable price, and you are dependable and trust worthy. When you are reliable, it means you are a brand that delivers what it promises.”

Shahdadpuri was born in Sindh (now in Pakistan) before India’s partition. His family immigrated to Nagpur and then to Delhi, where he grew up and pursued his studies. His father was a senior health officer.

After joining the Indian Foreign Ministry, Shahdadpuri served in Indian missions in places such as Beijing, Washington, DC, Jeddah and Tripoli. His unique position in the upper echelons of the diplomatic corps gave him an opportunity to mix and mingle with global leaders, decision-makers, diplomats and essential leaders across different countries. But he was craving a sense of personal fulfilment and achievement, and he knew that only entrepreneurship would offer him that.

Determined to make a mark in business, Shahdadpuri resigned from diplomatic service in 1986, and set up his business in England, as he could relate to it in terms of professionalism and business opportunities. But luck had different plans for him.  During an unscheduled halt at Dubai, he missed a connecting flight to London which changed his life. He was so fascinated by the way business was conducted in Dubai that he decided to start his business in the city.

So the concept of Nikai was born in 1995. Shahdadpuri saw that there was a niche for a private brand that could stand its own against major international European, Korean and Japanese brands. And today, Nikai is a formidable brand in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and parts of Europe. His initial foray was into general trading and bulk movement of commodities to various international destinations. Later, Nikai Group’s Crescent General Trading tied-up with the Indian FMCG giant, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, to stock, market and distribute the vast portfolio of Unilever products in designated countries. Gradually, the group diversified its commercial activities into the retail food business with Boston Foods, a franchisee of the second largest American fast food chain, Subway.

The Group has also broadened its horizon to consulting, outsourcing and staffing to a wide range of industries with TASC Outsourcing, a global staffing solutions company based in Dubai and Bengaluru.

He was recently honoured by ITP Media Group publication CEO Middle East for his outstanding contribution to business in the Middle East.