From KHALID BUTT, Lahore
Sep 26 - Oct 02, 2005

One rarely comes across people who readily give up effective control of an empire built largely through a long drawn effort full of challenge. I happened to meet one such remarkable person, Mr. Sikandar Mustafa Khan, Chairman and Chief Executive of Millat Tractors Ltd, at a farewell dinner hosted by his colleagues, as he was stepping down from his executive position and routine duties. He would now sit back as the Chairman of the Board of Directors to monitor and guide the destiny of the group raised by him from a single sick industrial unit through an exemplary and innovative leadership. What is more, Millat Tractors today consists of a group of 4 companies and is a market leader with its eyes set on becoming a global player in the years to come.

The transformation of this company dates back to 1992, when it was privatized and its employees took over the enterprise to bring about its unique turnaround. Mr. Sikandar Khan, having joined the company from its early days of being part of PACO in the public sector, has been the key figure in this change. The evidence of this factor was widely visible when a cross section of company colleagues ranging from the CBA representatives, ordinary workers to senior executives joined in paying warm tributes to his exceptional leadership skills for the phenomenal growth and progress of Millat Tractors Ltd. They all unanimously reckoned his role as the father figure, creating a spirit of unity and fair play which was the key to the overall success. They looked forward to his new role as Board Chairman to plan and guide it to still greater heights. Having briefly met him earlier in Karachi, when he was starting out in Naya Daur Motors, I was curious to know more about him and his methods, which brought him such unqualified success. A brief introduction to his background would thus be in order.

Mr. Sikandar M. Khan, Chairman Millat Group of Companies is a Mechanical Engineer from NED Engineering College, Karachi, with specialization in Production Engineering/Technology having Masters' Degree from Imperial College of Science and Technology, London and another from the University of New Castle, U.K. He has attended several management courses locally and abroad, including advanced Management Program at International Management Institute, Geneva, Switzerland and Leadership Development Program at Center for Creative Leadership (Colorada Springs), U.S.A.

He has varied experience in the automotive industry and has been associated with it since 1972. He was appointed Managing Director of Millat Tractors Limited (NTL) in 1985. In pursuance of the privatization policy of the government, Sikandar successfully led his team for the employee buy-out of MTL.

Since privatization of Millat Tractors Limited, the group has grown and now consists of four companies. Apart from MTL, the other companies are Bolan Castings Limited, Millat Equipment Limited - manufacturing gears and drive shafts, and Millat Industrial Products Limited - manufacturing automotive batteries.

Sikandar has been associated with the foundry industry from the very beginning of his practical career. He developed his commitment to this industry as incharge of the foundry at Naya Daur Motors during early seventies. He has been a Director on the Board of the largest automotive foundry of the country i.e. Bolan Castings Limited for more than two decades and is currently the Chairman of this company as well as the President of Pakistan Foundry Association. As President of PFA he is striving to modernize the foundry industry in Pakistan through introduction of the latest technological, managerial and marketing practices.

He is the Honorary Secretary of the Pakistan Chapter and Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London. He has been the founding Chairman, Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA), and is currently the Chairman of Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC).

A tete-e-tete with Sikandar at his corporate office located on Main Boulevard, Gulberg, is revealing and throws light on what made him achieve so much in such a short time. An urbane, soft spoken and highly perceptive person, Sikandar is someone who is bound to do well in anything he does. However, one is touched by his skill at creating a most congenial atmosphere within organizations. His handling of employees including factory workers and trade union activities reminded one of someone like Nur Khan, who had made trade union a strength in PIA during his tenure. The same philosophy seems to have been applied by him also by raising a core management team. He looks forward to his future role as Board Chairman to further consolidate and expand the group through restructuring of management. All respective units will be headed by professionals, he says, and the Board consisting of corporate team members will closely monitor its progress.

Sikandar had come over to Millat, when it was a sick unit. Then began its journey to the present position of a market leader, in which it has acquired about 50-60 percent market share of the tractor business in the country. It stands way above its competitors.

Starting from manufacturing 4000-5000 tractors per year in 1975-76, Millat produced 25,000 tractors last year and is aiming to reach a target of 30,000 tractors in the current year. Another praiseworthy feat has been that it has created ancillary industry in the country to completely indigenize manufacture of 75 percent of spares locally. That has been a giant step towards self-reliance and Millat is proud to have come a long way.

Sikandar looks back on his career and attributes much of credit to the great teamwork and especially of the workers who have helped make the company what it is today. He visualizes a dynamic future for the group as a global player in the years ahead.