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Between 1992 and 1994, I was extremely busy with the Scientific Product Presentation Program. I did presentations myself and Sultan Khan and I trained a select team of new presenters. It was traveling and presenting and training. It was stressful physically, but it was a great learning time. I had a huge opportunity to experiment with various presentation styles and techniques within my own basic style. The feedback was instant. The audience response showed how it went. I did earn a lot of praise from a lot of doctors who attended the presentations. They were gracious and appreciative and complimented me openly and profusely.

After two years, I strongly felt that I must move on. I discussed with Tariq Umar during a visit to head office and requested him to put me back to mainstream business; sales and line management. After some discussion he agreed to shift me to sales management as soon as an opportunity arose. After couple of months, the opportunity came up.

The NWFP (now KPK) was a highly productive region, but it had been stagnating for some time due mainly to management issues. TU offered me to manage NWFP as Regional Manager along with Presentations program. I accepted.

I was still based at Lahore. I would go to Peshawar and stayed there a full week. I restructured the sales teams, appointed new Area Managers, filled the vacancies and put the working back on track. Hoechst had a great history of work put in by many people, most notable among them was Riaz Khan. Riaz joined Hoechst in 1977 and retired from here. He spent all his professional life in Hoechst and his name was kind of synonymous with Hoechst in NWFP. He was instrumental in building close relations with the top key customers. When I took over NWFP teams, RA was working in distribution. We were old friends. He was always kind to me and supported me in many ways. I owe him gratitude. May Allah Bless him. Riaz is now enjoying retired life in his native tribal area.

The MNCs such as Hoechst who always invested in brand building had one distinctive advantage. The brands sustained even if the working got disturbed for a while. Of course, there was a limit to it. It also gave space if you wanted to reorganize the teams and resources. When we restructured sales teams in NWFP, we shuffled the staff between teams. Farhat Paracha was already there as AM; Sohail Abid Niazi and Khalid Saeed were upgraded as AMs for two other teams, and we got to work.

We went back to our key customers, streamlined and regularized field work, and reinforced our promotional activities. Our customers were generous, and our teams worked with a new zeal. NWFP improved rapidly, the business got back on track and remained so.

I spent about four months on NWFP. Then Hasan Jamal, Regional Manager Center, based at Lahore resigned. HJ was a well-performing, well-respected colleague and manager. I reported to him when I was working as Area Manager. His departure was unexpected considering that he had bright prospects for further growth. To be honest, HJ had hinted to me about his intended departure and new venture. But generally, the news was received with a mix of surprise and shock.

I got the first right to this position on merit. I was appointed as Regional Manager Center in early 1995. I kept supervising NWFP for some more time, till my other colleague Rana Hafeez was appointed as Regional Manager North and took over Rawalpindi and NWFP……


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