Salman Fazlur Rahman, MP, prominently known as Salman F Rahman, is a leading Bangladeshi politician, industrialist, and philanthropist.
He currently serves as the Private Industry and Investment Adviser to Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with the rank of Cabinet Minister. Rahman is an elected Member of Parliament from Dhaka-1 constituency, which comprises Dohar and Nawabganj upazilas.
He is the co-founder and Vice Chairman of BEXIMCO Group, one of the largest business conglomerates in the country, which exports its products to more than 55 countries and employs over 70,000 people.
Salman F Rahman was born on 23 May 1951 to Fazlur Rahman and Syeda Fatina Rahman - an eminent Bengali Muslim Family of Dohar, Dhaka. He is married to Syeda Rubaba Rahman. His only son, Ahmed Shayan Fazlur Rahman, is an adviser to the Board of Directors of BEXIMCO Group.
Rahman was born into a political family. His father, Fazlur Rahman, served as the Revenue Minister of Bengal during the British rule of India. After the creation of Pakistan, which comprised present-day Bangladesh, he became Pakistan’s first Education Minister and went on to serve many other cabinet portfolios.
Salman F Rahman formally entered politics in the mid-1990s by founding a political party called Samriddhya Bangladesh Andolan (Prosperous Bangladesh Movement). Subsequently, he joined the Bangladesh Awami League in 1996 as the private sector affairs adviser to the party president Sheikh Hasina. He contested the 2018 parliamentary election from his constituency, Dhaka-1, and was elected as a Member of Parliament. In 2019, he was appointed as the Private Industry and Investment Adviser to Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with the status and rank of a cabinet member. He also serves on the Bangladesh parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
Since he was appointed as the Prime Minister’s adviser, Rahman was tasked with improving Bangladesh’s standing on The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. In his first year in office, Bangladesh was placed among the top 20 improvers in doing business in 2020, moving seven notches up.
Since then, he has made strong pitches around the world to bring foreign direct investments (FDI) to Bangladesh. In partnership with other government agencies, he helped organize investment roadshows in key markets such as the UAE, UK, USA, etc., which helped to increase the inflow of FDIs to the country.
In the 2021-2022 financial year, foreign direct investments hit a three-year high, making Bangladesh the second-most favored destination in South Asia after India, according to the World Investment Report. FDI grew 13 percent to USD 2.9 billion in the 2021-2022 financial year, from USD 2.5 billion in the previous year, according to the report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). With the 2021-2022 inflows, Bangladesh’s FDI stock rose to USD 21.5 billion.
Salman F Rahman joined the family business in the mid-60s. Along with his brother, Ahmed Sohail Fashiur Rahman, he founded Bangladesh Export and Import Company Limited (BEXIMCO) in 1972. In its early years, BEXIMCO exported seafood and crushed bones to Europe and imported medicines in exchange.
Over the following decades, BEXIMCO has grown to become Bangladesh’s one of the largest business and industrial conglomerates, with Rahman at its helm as Vice Chairman. It is also one of the largest private-sector employers in Bangladesh, creating over 70,000 jobs. The company’s operations and investments have spread across various industries, including textiles, pharmaceuticals, PPE, ceramics, real estate development, construction, trading, marine food, information and communication technologies, media, DTH, financial services, and energy.
BEXIMCO represents many firsts in Bangladesh’s corporate history, having been highly credited for pioneering global best corporate practices and work culture with the implementation of cutting-edge technologies.
Beximco Textiles is South Asia’s largest vertically integrated textile and garment company, generating $500 million in annual revenue. Its global clients include Amazon, Bershka, Walmart, Target, Michael Kors, C&A, ZARA, Marks & Spencer, Bestseller, etc.
In 2015, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. became the first Bangladeshi company to be listed in the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market. In the same year, Beximco Pharmaceuticals became the first company to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) following a rigorous review of its dossier and manufacturing processes.
With a presence in 55 countries, Beximco Pharmaceuticals was the first company globally to formulate and sell a generic version of the COVID-19 therapeutic Remdesivir, a crucial step in easing the effects of the Coronavirus on patients.
Akash Digital TV by BEXIMCO is the country’s first direct-to-home satellite service operator relying on the country’s first satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite-1. BEXIMCO also operates the country’s largest solar power plant.
In March 2021, BEXIMCO demonstrated its trend-setting caliber after launching a BDT 3,000 crore Sukuk bond.
In 1982, Salman F Rahman partnered with the Dubai-based Galadari Brothers Group to establish the Arab-Bangladesh Bank (AB Bank), the country’s first private bank.
Under his visionary and determined leadership, BEXIMCO has continued its growth momentum, expanding across new ventures and businesses, paving the way for the country’s private sector to reimagine new possibilities.
Salman F Rahman serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors at Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), a prestigious think-tank engaged in advancing the country’s foreign policy and private sector agenda.
He is also the Chairman of Independent Television, one of the country’s most popular 24/7 news broadcasters.
Salman F Rahman is the Chief Patron and President of Abahani Limited Dhaka, Bangladesh’s premier sporting club that won a record number of titles in national professional leagues, winning seven titles in the Bangladesh Premier League. With 17 domestic league titles, Abahani is the second most successful club in Bangladesh’s top-tier league history.
Salman F Rahman was the youngest president elected to the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the country’s apex business body. He also served as the President of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the apex trade organization of the SAARC region.
He also served as the President of the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Dhaka (MCCI), Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), and Bangladesh Association of Publicly Listed Companies, among many others.
Salman F Rahman has long been involved in many charitable activities through Fazlur Rahman Foundation, a family foundation named after his father. He also actively cultivated a culture of philanthropy in the BEXIMCO Group.
Under his leadership, BEXIMCO Group spent USD 1.8 million to donate PPEs, medicines, and test kits to COVID testing centers and government-designated hospitals across the country. Beximco Pharmaceuticals further provided financial support in establishing modern laboratory facilities and strengthening the capacities of hospital facilities to treat Coronavirus-infected patients.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals was the first company in the world to formulate a generic version of the COVID-19 therapeutic drug Remdesivir. The company donated Remdesivir to government hospitals as many as required, free of charge.
In July 2022, Beximco Health, in association with Suzukawa Orif Co., Ltd. and Ken2 Co. Ltd., donated medical PPEs to Japanese Red Cross Aichi Medical Center - Nagoya Daini Hospital, Nagoya, Japan.
A month earlier, IFIC Bank, which Salman F Rahman chairs, donated Tk 100 million to the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund as the country was struck by a devastating flood affecting the livelihood of millions.
Salman F Rahman has long been patronizing Proyash, an institute that works for the holistic development of children with special needs. The institute specializes in meeting the educational needs of the children through different programs, including early childhood development programs (ECD), special schooling, therapeutic interventions, medical and neuro-developmental assessment, leisure time and co-curricular activities, training for the teachers, parents, and integrated services.
In August 2021, in collaboration with Summit Corporation, BEXIMCO donated the Jaago Foundation, a non-profit organization that operates a countrywide network of schools for underprivileged children, with a matching grant of BDT 45 million per annum for three years. The grant has enabled Jaago to teach 4,192 students across the country, relying on its award-winning teaching model
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Salman F Rahman set up an emergency fund to distribute tens of thousands of packets containing essential items such as food and medicine to help alleviate the financial burden of lower-income families in his constituency. He donated personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfectant spray, and tens of thousands of masks to health centers and community hospitals in Dohar and Nawabganj. Beximco Pharmaceuticals helped finance the installation of a central oxygen manifold at Nawabganj Upazila Health Complex to ensure the uninterrupted and continuous transmission of oxygen for the patients infected by Covid-19.
BEXIMCO, in collaboration with Jaago Foundation and others, helped launch a campaign to bring behavioral change in people to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic in January 2022. The campaign, titled “Where is your mask?” reached one million beneficiaries, as 7,000 volunteers distributed free masks and awareness leaflets and conducted one-to-one advocacy at various countrywide.
Salman F Rahman financed the installation of more than 240 arsenic-free tube wells in rural areas of Dohar and Nawabganj. He also launched a free medical assistance program with 16 doctors and free medicines.
Through the Gono Sahajjo Songstha (GSS), Salman F Rahman makes regular charity contributions for the educational development of the underprivileged. In Dohar, every high school received free computers and other support through Fazlur Rahman Foundation. He also provided financial assistance to Tasulla High School, Padma University College, and Dohar-Nawabganj College.
The Economics Department of the University of Dhaka has been the recipient of a yearly grant from the Fazlur Rahman Foundation.
As a patron of sports, Salman F Rahman has facilitated major sports events in Bangladesh. BEXIMCO Group served as the official sponsor of the Bangladesh National Cricket Team for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. He also organized and sponsored the FIFA friendly match in Dhaka between Argentina and Nigeria in September 2011.