The special thing about Dr. B.R. Shetty, founder Managing Director and CEO of the Abu Dhabi-based global giant UAE Exchange is that he is more a humane than a business man. Dr. Shetty is enthused by the dictum that the real secret of happiness is not in what you have or what you receive, but you share.
Dr. Shetty is a donor of par excellence, reaching out not only to the Indian community, but to the people from all lands, as numerous have been the beneficiaries of his charitable disposition. Reaping a rich harvest of the benefits of his kind acts, the young man who landed in UAE 40 years ago from Udupi searching for a job has become the head of a mammoth business empire. Son of late Shambushetty, Municipal Councilor of Udupi, Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty had only a degree in Clinical Pharmacy to dream and make the dream come true, at the time of coming to UAE. But Shetty, who served as the Vice-Chairman of Udupi Municipality, possessed a rare gift — the ability to work hard with dedication to the task and an inveterate curiosity and interest in everything around him, the guiding spirit being the inspiration his mother lent.These joys of life coupled with a sense of justice in meeting the challenges with uncompromising compunctions are the recipe of his strength and success. It is not wonder, therefore, that people instinctively feelShetty as a special person – a man of principles blessed with divine fortitude.
The beginning in 1975 was modest with a small clinic. Today it has grown in to a giant healthcare group called New Medical Centre (NMC) with 5 facilities in UAE, out of which 3 are super specialityhospitals. There has been a daily footfall of around 5,000 patients in these hospitals, says Dr. Shetty.
Dr. C.R. Shetty, wife of B.R. Shetty has been the medical director of these hospitals.The UAE Exchange was established in 1980, at a time when fund transfer mechanism in the country were unorganized and inadequate to meet the needs of burgeoning expatriate population, especially the labourers who needed reliable and affordable system of transfer of funds. With his legendary foresight and vision, Dr. B.R. Shetty identified these aspirations and potentialities of an almost untapped market. His business acumen saw the rise of a one-branch organization flourishing in to one of the most prominent money transfer and exchange houses of the world in a span of 32 years.
“We have a wide network of 560 offices and presence in 30 countries. We are no more a UAE company or Indian company; we are today a global company with a presence in Europe to Africa. We are remitting $36 billion to India annually. The remittance from UAE, alone, will come to $6.8 billion, which accounts 15 percent of the total inflow of remittance to India”, says Dr. Shetty. The Xpress Money brand of the Group has presence in 136 countries with 100,000 locations.
“Though we are known for being technology savvy and the first to innovate new conveniences for our customers, we know very well that it’s not the technology that drives an organisation, but people. So, we have meticulously handpicked our team members, be it those who promptly attend to you at our counters or those, whom you don’t see in the front, but experience their value-addition. Each one of them at all times strives to see you happy by giving you the best service and on time. This chosen team of over 10,000 dedicated professionals, representing over 40 nationalities, has ensured our industry leadership of over three decades now!” remarks, Dr. Shetty.
The Indian company of the UAE Exchange, UAE Exchange & Financial Services Ltd has 280 branches in the County . “Mr. George Antony is the Country Head of the Company and he is doing good job for us here”, adds, Dr. shetty.
One of the momentous steps that followed in due course of time was a backward integration into a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing plant – Neopharma, inaugurated by the then President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul .Kalam. This was the first pharmaceutical manufacturing facility of its kind in Abu Dhabi, with product licensing from Parke Davis-Pfizer, USA & Ranbaxy and many internationally renowned pharmaceutical companies, offering quality medicines at affordable prices.
Dr. Shetty has now embarked on the path of innovation in technology in the fields of bio-technology and cell-therapy, tissue culture and nanotechnology under guidance of Dr. Vijay Vardhan, an eminent Nanotechnologist from Arkansas. University, USA. Variety, he firmly believed is the spice of life. The initial success story therefore signalled the spawning of new enterprises as Dr. Shetty set about in earnest on diversification of business, that witnessed forays into a bewildering range of businesses spread over distribution of pharmaceuticals, scientific medical equipment, foodstuff, financial services, gold and diamond jewellery, real estate, IT, engineering projects and services and hospitality industry.
By no stretch of imagination is business the exclusive preoccupation of Dr. Shetty. His abiding interest in education has put him at the forefront of the largest community school in the region, where he presides over the institution as its Chairman. He is on the board of directors of Haldwani Medical College in Uttaranchal and Manipal Medical Academy of which he is an alumni. Besides heading numerous international groups, he is also founder and patron of the Indian Pharmaceuticals Association in the Emirates. He has played a vital role as Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council and instrumental in building an ultra-modern cricket stadium that recently played host as venue for official international fixtures. He was instrumental in building bridges of friendship between India and Pakistan, to bring together both sides for a combat that marked the inauguration of the stadium. Incidentally, the cancer hospital founded by the famous Pakistani cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan also saw the flow into its kitty of substantial sums of money from Shetty, the gesture transgressing consideration of nationalities and borders.
Despite the multifarious engagements, Dr. Shetty has found time for numerous other charitable causes and any number of individuals and institutions has been beneficiaries of his extraordinary largesse. In fact, he has overtaken his own shadow as a humanitarian to the core.
The Shettys have three daughters and a son. One daughter Dr. Neema is in Australia. Other daughters are involved in the business activities of their father. The only son, Benay serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital network.