Arif Naqvi

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Arif M. Naqvi
Born Karachi, Pakistan
Alma mater Karachi Grammar School
London School of Economics
Occupation Founder and Group CEO of The Abraaj Group

Syed Arif Masood Naqvi, SI (born 13 July 1960 in Karachi, Pakistan) is the Founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group, a private equity investor operating in Asia, MENA, Turkey and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Naqvi founded the Group in 2002. It started with 60 million USD in assets under management and as of 2013, manages 7.5 billion USD.


Naqvi began his career with Arthur Andersen in London and American Express in Karachi. In the early 1990s, he joined the Olayan Group in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s largest trading company. In 1994 he started an investment firm in Dubai called Cupola with $50,000 of his own savings. Five years later, Naqvi bid for the Middle East business of the logistics company Inchcape Shipping Services. Cupola won the bid, buying Inchcape’s marketing interests for $116 million, making it the MENA region’s first leveraged buyout.[1]

The Abraaj Group[edit]

Since inception, Naqvi has spearheaded the Group to become a pioneer in sustainability and integrating ESG considerations into investment decisions. This is reflected and driven by Abraaj Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Track (ASSET), which is a dedicated stakeholder focused engagement practice within the firm.[2]


In October 2012, Naqvi and Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, signed a five-year framework agreement on family planning and health in Pakistan. They will also explore further areas for collaboration to advance global health and development.[3]

Recognition and Thought Leadership[edit]

In 2012, Naqvi was appointed to the Board of the United Nations Global Compact by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.[4]

Naqvi is a board member of the Pakistan Human Development Fund and Chairman of the British Asian Trust Advisory Committee – Pakistan. He also serves on the Board of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association, International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Foundation.[5] Endeavor Global[6]

Naqvi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Oslo Business for Peace Award from The Business for Peace Foundation,[7] the highest form of recognition given to individual business leaders for fostering peace and stability through creating shared value between business and society. He was also a recipient of the Kennedy Centre's Gold Medal in the Arts award [8] and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, a prominent civilian honor awarded by the Government of Pakistan. In 2011, he was named as one of the 50 most influential people in the global private equity industry by Private Equity International.[9]


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