Since the pandemic, uncertainty, and volatility are continuously affecting all business organizations worldwide, it is clear that visionary business leaders should address the new changes of the pandemic and the 21st century as a whole. One such visionary leader, James Michael Lafferty, is effectively managing and leveraging these constant changes with his foresight and innovative leadership.
James is an American business leader, award-winning journalist, philanthropist, and Olympic Coach. He started his career as a fitness coach and has been at the top of many well-known organizations worldwide. Presently James is serving as the CEO of one of the most well-known wellness groups and manufacturer of hygienic paper products, Fine Hygienic Holding.
During the mid-1980, James established his own business in the developing world of corporate wellness. Later he was hired by his hometown company, Procter and Gamble, to teach its employees how to stay fit. While working for the organization, James met a Brand Manager who inspired him to join the Brand Management department of the organization. Eventually, he made a couple of attempts but was offered the role of a Brand Assistant, which he gladly accepted
Thanks to his excellent business and organizational results in the U.S. business, P&G soon transferred James into an international career that eventually took him to Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe, and Asia.
With a marketing and general management career spanning over 30 years, James is one of the most well-known, leading global experts in business building, marketing, and branding in emerging markets. He has had a long and successful career building businesses and organizations across all the continents for some of the fast-moving consumer goods companies. He has served as CEO of companies like Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola, and British American Tobacco.
The Shining Star of Arab FMCG World
Elia Nuqul founded Nuqul Brothers Company in 1952. Initially, it was a modest trade and import business for food and consumer goods. However, with the founder’s commitment to innovation and sustainability, the business grew steadily, and he began to seek new ways to expand. At that point of time, hygienic paper products were unavailable in the MENA region, and Elia saw a tremendous opportunity in the market segment, so he went ahead and established Fine Hygienic Holding in 1958, previously known as Fine Hygienic Paper Company.
Presently, Fine Hygienic Holding is one of the largest FMCG companies in the Middle East and North Africa. It is a proud 65 year old family business making high-quality wellness products, from consumer tissues to adult and baby diapers, and a full line of nutritional supplements and disinfection products.
“Our core brand is the “Fine” brand name, which is synonymous with tissues in this region. I am hugely honored to be asked to lead this great company with a rich history.”- says James.
James believes success is often defined by the eyes of the beholder. What he describes as success, someone can consider that hell on earth. Each person can define success differently. On the other hand, James was always an achiever, and climbing the ladder was very important for him. However, he understands this doesn’t spike everyone in the same way, which he respects.
For James, success ultimately boils to happiness and a sense of fulfillment. He says, “If you are happy, and you feel you have led a fulfilling life, and have few regrets, then I would say that person was very successful—regardless of their title or salary or other superficial factors.”
James is most proud of his struggles as a gym instructor from Cincinnati, Ohio, who worked his way up to lead top companies worldwide. His unbelievable story breaks many myths about having an MBA, going to an elite school, or who your parents are. It shows that nothing really matters, and the cream always rises to the top. James feels it’s all about the intangibles of attitude that often dictate a person’s attitude in the area he/she chooses to endeavor.
Recently James Michael Lafferty was awarded the CEO of the year by Burj CEO awards, which is associated with the government of Dubai. GCC Best Employer Awards also recognized him as CEO of the year. Additionally, he was named by Daman Health as “The Wellness Visionary of 2019“, and Forbes Magazine Middle East has listed him as one of the Top 50 CEOs.
Preparing for the Future
As the leader of Fine Hygienic Holding, James’s vision is to improve the wellness of his customers. The organization offers a wide range of world-class products that work to enhance its users’ health in a small but tangible way. Every day James receives multiple letters of thanks from consumers who have realized that FHH’s products improved their lives.
James would like to see FHH going public in the next 5 years and become a shining example of its region’s talent, potential, and innovation. The entire team of FHH is immensely proud of the company’s heritage and roots and its humble beginning in Jordan.
Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs
James Michael Lafferty has two pieces of advice for budding entrepreneurs, The first is to recognize that over 80 percent of new businesses fail within the first 5 years of establishment. So, he encourages new entrepreneurs first to start learning with a leading company and then only start their endeavors. He says, “Don’t go off and risk your own money until you have had some “reps” in running a real business. Once the learning curve slows, then go for it.”
The second one is to be prepared to work hard. “There is no safety net. Every time you think you can’t do it, you have to be prepared to dig deep and find another gear. The best entrepreneurs are incredibly persistent and don’t know what it means to give up.”– adds James.