Nouzab Fareed discusses why he joined Company Directors’ Fiji Committee and what it plans to offer members.
Company Director (CD): What is your background?
Nouzab Fareed (NF): I dropped out of school and started as a computer instructor. My first professional examination was with the Australian Computer Society. This was followed by qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of UK, then a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in International Economics.
I am now a Chartered Accountant (Fiji), Chartered Management Accountant (UK) and a Fellow of CPA (Australia). I am also a licenced investment adviser (Fiji) and certified fraud examiner (US).
The General Manager Program at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales made it all happen for me.
Before joining the Fijian Holdings Group, where I am now group CEO, I was the director of business development at Mercantile Merchant Bank in Sri Lanka and a director of FedEx, Western Union and NIIT in Sri Lanka.
CD: What is the value of an Australian Institute of Company Directors’ membership to you?
NF: My relationship with Australia through the Australian Computer Society, CPA and AGSM made me think an involvement with Company Directors would be great.
Out of curiosity, I attended a Company Directors Course in Darwin in 2012 and that was a turning point. Immediately after the course, I made changes to my company, from the board meeting agenda to directors’ training.
To date, Fijian Holdings Group has at least 18 Company Directors members, which is almost one-third of all members in Fiji.
CD: Why did you decide to join the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Fiji Committee?
NF: Fiji has gone through difficult times in terms of company directors and we have seen plenty of legal cases.
Joining the committee was an ideal opportunity to improve the quality of corporate governance in Fiji.
When the role was offered, I jumped at the opportunity and to date we have done well. It is a fantastic team. We are confident we will improve membership in Fiji two-fold within the next two years.
CD: What kind of support does the committee provide to local members?
NF: The committee is still in its early stages, but we are planning to host a few local workshops for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as for provincial companies. This will happen in the coming year.
The committee aims to find ways to launch and deliver Company Directors’ education programs and to identify opportunities for new programs.
We are responsible for ensuring the professional development and networking activities for directors and senior business leaders to undertake.
CD: In addition to chairing the Fiji Committee, what other roles do you have?
NF: I am the group CEO for Fijian Holdings Group and a director of more than 20 companies, including Goodman Fielder Fiji, Marsh Fiji and Golden Manufacturing.
I have directorships in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Samoa.
I am council member for Fiji Institute of Accountants, CPA Fiji Branch, Fiji-PNG Business Council and Suva Chamber of Council.
In addition, I sit on the University of South Pacific and MBA Advisory Board.
CD: What do you enjoy about being a director in Fiji? What are the challenges?
NF: It is a great experience as all companies are unique in some way. While it is a learning experience, it is also an opportunity to contribute. The challenge is to implement changes and adopt new thinking. But we have managed.
CD: Who inspires you?
NF: Business leaders from Mike Smith to Ann Sherry have inspired me. Of course, I am fan of Warren Buffet as well as Richard Branson.
CD: What are your passions outside of work?
NF: I love deep-sea scuba diving, international travel and being a member of Toastmasters, a group that focuses on improving one’s public-speaking skills. I am also an avid Freemason.
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