Leaders at LUMS: Inspiring Insights with Mr. Kashan Hasan, CEO, Shan Foods
The latest session of 'Leaders at LUMS' was an in-depth and thought-provoking dialogue between Mr. Kashan Hasan, CEO of Shan Foods, and Mr. Mohammed Ali Khan, Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at LUMS. Drawing on his extensive industry experience, Mr. Hasan offered valuable advice for navigating the complexities of contemporary leadership. The session also delved into topics such as identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and the importance of fostering gender equality within the corporate world.
An IBA Karachi graduate, Mr. Hasan has over two decades of global market expertise in sales, trade marketing, customer and consumer marketing and key account management in the Middle East, UK, North, and South Africa. He joined Shan Foods after 15 years at Reckitt Benckiser, where he last served as General Manager.
In the session, Mr. Hasan began by discussing his early career, revealing how he never displayed early signs of leadership but always enjoyed the challenge of taking on responsibilities. Reflecting on discipline and its impact on his journey, he said, “I was fortunate that there was a lot of discipline at home and school. I realised the value of it in helping me achieve my goals, and I think it has helped me throughout my career.”
Mr. Hasan also talked about how ultimately, one’s strengths and experiences override one’s grades; what truly matters is the ability to complement a team by utilising one's unique strengths. He added, “As somebody who runs a business, I can tell you that it is perfectly okay to make a career switch if you're no longer excited by your current role. Just work to your strengths, see where you have a right to win and try to do that. No matter what you are doing, make sure you are good at it and enjoy it. In doing that, you will find your way.”
On the social responsibility as a corporate leader, Mr. Hasan stressed the importance of women empowerment, and shared steps Shan Foods has taken to ensure that it is always a priority. “Being a large organisation, we have more of a responsibility. The purpose of the company was to make women’s lives easier. Now we ask, ‘Why should a woman be cooking at all? Why is it not the man’s job to also cook?’ We take gender equality into everything we do.”
He explained that when interviewing for a position, he ensures that at least one candidate is a woman. For instance, in a lineup of four candidates, if a woman is among them, he prefers to interview her first. “It is all about creating a balance that is currently lacking. It is about proving that you are doing what you are saying. It’s not just about bringing women in; it’s about making sure they are thriving in the environment and are given the chance to thrive.”
Pro Chancellor, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood concluded the session by expressing his appreciation for Mr. Hasan’s knowledgeable insights. “What a wonderful story we have heard, tracing your career path from IBA to various corporations. The foundation of your work in the firm, grounded in blending and research, has been evident throughout your career. Thank you for honouring us with your presence,” he said.