Q&A with Al Fakher Tobacco CEO Samer Fakhouri
Samer Fakhouri is the CEO of Al Fakher Tobacco. He is also EICO’s Chairman of the board. In addition to his position in Al Fakher and EICO, Fakhouri held the position of General Manager of the International Tobacco & Cigarette Co. (ITC) in Amman – Jordan since 1995 and until EICO was founded in 2008. Under his command, ITC was sold to Philip Morris International in 2011.
Fakhouri’s experience in tobacco business extends beyond two decades. He is the driving force behind EICO’s acquisition and subsequent expansion of Al Fakher in 2006. Fakhouri holds a BBA from Oklahoma State University gained in 1993.
1. How has Al Fakher progressed since you arrived?
Al Fakher has experienced tremendous growth since it was acquired in 2006. Distribution networks didn’t exceed 20 countries. Our distribution network now encompasses 85 countries and with presence in 150+ countries.
Manufacturing capacity has increased tremendously. Usage of technology was minimal compared to a high usage of best technology now. Al Fakher have partnered with the world best technological providers to combine their technologies with our platform setup to create complete solutions tailored to fit our high-end requirements
2. What defines Al Fakher Tobacco?
Leadership. Our Leaders are humble, they take their ego away, their ambition is for the larger cause, Visionary, adaptable to change, and can be change catalysts.
Mentality. Our team have a winning mentality. We believe that Success is being the best in what we do and that Success is choice and discipline.
The team. Our team is empowered, motivated, engaged, enhanced, and enabled. We are a team, not just a group of people.
Environment of truth and transparency. We have a climate where truth and not compliments are heard. People can speak up freely and will be heard.
Simplicity. We simplify work. We don’t complicate things or processes. We work smarter, not harder.
Culture of discipline. People operate with freedom in a system of responsibilities. In a culture of discipline, people do not have "jobs", we have responsibilities.
3. Tell me about the wider business strategy. What are your aims and ambitions for the coming years?
Al Fakher focuses in maintaining its market leadership, through sourcing top quality ingredients, to produce premium products, and sell through a competitive pricing strategy, supported by aggressive marketing. We will focus on strengthening its premium offerings, unlocking new markets and M&A opportunities going forward, while maintaining operational and supply chain excellence.
4. How important a role does supply chain play in formulating this strategy?
It’s all about Efficiency, and flexibility. Our supply chain is an essential element to our operational excellence. Our efficient supply chain enables al Fakher to be more competitive in the market place and helps controlling costs which maximizes our profits.
Our flexible supply chain always aims to speed up products flows. It is fast in detecting and responding to short term requirements and in adapting to new strategies to support change in overall company or changing market dynamics.
Read the September 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”