Libra Engineering and family businesses in Pakistan

On the first of January 2020 Mr. Shamim Ansari founder and force behind Libra Engineering passed away.  This fateful day did not only shake the family thoroughly, but also anyone in the switchgear industry whose life had been touched by Mr. Ansari. Having been in the industry for 36 years, and known for “being an institution” and “having taught” people, Mr. Shamim’s sudden demise shook the confidence of the industry and clients alike. Everyone was sure that the one-man show called Libra Engineering was now going to meet its downfall. 

Businesses such as Libra Engineering that are started on the basis of pure passion and talent and built up by a single individual tend to either fizzle out with age or have the lifespan of whoever started them. In Pakistan, the industrial climate is such that if a company wants to hit the 100-year mark, it has to be a family business, i.e. the children of the CEO will be the next CEO. This is regardless of their aptitude or work experience when they inherit the position. This of course is necessary for the carrying on of the company, with factors of trust and legacy involved, it is important that the reins be in reliable hands. And who can be more reliable than one’s own family? Many a business have not hit the 100 year mark due to the misfortune of not having children old enough or interested enough or merely capable enough to carry on or build business in the same manner as the person who started it. Libra Engineering was in same dilemma. Mr Ansaris children, who were not equipped to carry on and run the business in the same way, however were very aware of this as well as clear on carrying on their father’s legacy, and not letting his life’s work be wasted. 

Business owners, who have established a business and have run it for decades, should look into drawing up succession plans for their companies. Not only will it help the company sustain calamity and mortality, it will help develop healthier business practices and break out of the so-called ‘sethiya’ system.

Additionally, Libra Engineering’s partnership serves as an example of much needed entrepreneurship, identifying opportunity in adversity and stepping up to take a risk. Danish and Jawwad humbly approached Libra with a healthy and positive energy. They proved themselves reliable, honest and forward thinker, collaborating with the family to arrive at a win-win strategy for the company. It is time that business owners trust merit equally if not more than family ties, when preparing a succession plan for the company. 

Even though 2020 was one of the most difficult years in the history of Libra Engineering (and the world in general), the slowing down due to Covid 19 was a blessing for Libra. This gave Mr Shamim’s family the time to study the market, understand the goodwill of the company, analyse and shortlist suitable contenders to carry on and expand his work. The new partners Danish Ghous and Jawwad Siddiqui were taken on board in July 2020. They are very pleased to announce that Libra Engineering has survived both the loss of its leadership and what has been a most difficult year globally. It is with great pride and hope that Libra Engineering will have a long bright future and Mr Shamim Ansari’s name will live on as its pioneer, that his family place their trust in Danish and Jawwad and urge the community to support Libra as they always have!