Ravi Varrier

Ravi Varrier

Chief Executive Officer – Al Rashed Intern.Shipping Co.

 “In the world so competitive, it is you who decide whether you are an “H” or a “Z” in front of ERO making you a HERO or a ZERO”

 By N.C.Mohandoss & Subbu

1Spending 40+ years in the same organization where an illustrious career had started - The journey of Ravi Varrier, the Chief Executive Officer of Al-Rashed International Shipping Co., Kuwait was not an easy ride.

Starting your career with a company as a junior staff and climbing the pinnacle up to the CEO in a multi-million dollar company is not a small thing. This is what makes Mr Ravi Varrier different from others.

Ravi Varrier has spent 42 productive years in Kuwait and has thoroughly enjoyed his tenure with Al-Rashed Group. He has been an inspiration to the Indians living in Kuwait.

Al-Rashed International Shipping Company has spread its wings all over the world catering to all types of shipping requirements. Their field of operation is ever expanding covering the areas of cargo, travel and trading. Al-Rashed  is currently one of the largest shipping companies in the Middle East. The growth of Mr Varrier and his managerial acumen are highly praise-worthy.

The term “Varrier” refers to a caste in the south Indian state of Kerala with pious and God-fearing people who were involved in taking care of the maintenance of temples.  Ravi’s father, late Capt A.V.K. Varrier being a captain in the army was a martinet. Ravi preferred to stay with his grandparents who showered him with love while distancing him from his disciplinarian father’s regimen.

2 with Country manager CopyHe had his schooling and collegiate education in Palakkad. After acquiring a degree in B.Sc. Zoology in 1976, the young Ravi left for Bombay in search of a job. While working in the Textile Mills and the University in Bombay, he went through much travails and suffering.  He had to put up with innumerable drawbacks and inconveniences having had to stay in a most uncomfortable room and was forced to adjust himself  to different and unpalatable diets.

In the year 1977 at the young age of 19 with a dream just like every other Indian to cross the seas to reach the land of dreams, Ravi too followed his uncle’s footsteps to reach Kuwait. With just KD 45 to his name, he took to the streets, knocking many doors for a job. His job search was turning futile until V P. Prasad; a family friend introduced him to Al-Rashed group.

Mr V P. Prasad retired from Al-Rashed as the Shipping Manager in 2016. Ravi got a job as a Junior Assistant. This was a break from Ravi and it gave him ample opportunities to get himself familiarized with the various trading activities of the company. Being the youngest employee of the company, everybody exploited him and he was given all measly and sundry jobs which he discharged diligently and with a willing heart.

5 RAVI VWorking with many nationalities and frustrated by the egos and attitudes of his coworkers, Ravi traversed through many roles and responsibilities eventually getting attention from the then GM NR Ghassan Zain. Until his death later, Mr.Ghassan Zain mentored Ravi and he became the gem of the eye of the GM.

A voracious reader and an eager learner, he picked up the basics of shipping from his seniors at Al-Rashed Group and soon became a blue-eyed boy in the eyes of the management and Al-Rashed family.

During the initial years of his career, he was working for more than 15 hours daily and when the General Manager left the services of the company in the year 1987, Ravi had the opportunity of having direct access with Mr Saad Al Rashed, the owner of the company who took notice of his talent.

Mr Saad deputed him to Great Britain on a special mission of selecting the new General Manager for the company. Thereafter having acquired proficiency and sound knowledge in the shipping and administrative fields, Ravi was soon promoted to the position of Shipping Manager.

4 with kuala project manager

Following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq during 1990, when he had to go back to India, his sponsor used to call him very often on the phone. Such was the influence and reputation he had built up with the top-level of the Management.

After returning to Kuwait in the year 1991, he was responsible for bringing back all former employees of the company, the reason being the humiliation and insult to which he was subjected to even from his close relatives while he remained unemployed in India.

He didn't want his colleagues to undergo such kind of suffering and mental agony and arranged for their visas expeditiously. He had to start all over from scratch, cleaned up the office and stayed there for almost 8 months. For many days the conference hall doubled as his bedroom.

Currently employing over 450 people, Al-Rashed International Shipping Co. has travelled miles and conquered heights under the aegis of Mr Ravi Varrier who is currently the CEO. When asked to reveal the secret for his success in his career, Varrier proudly claims that it is nothing but dedication, sincerity and loyalty towards superiors and the management.

7 With kuwaiti customer

To a question whether he would be willing to help those of his staff members who approach him for a family visa, he replied in the affirmative. He does not want his colleagues to undergo the pangs of separation from their families. He always attaches the greatest importance to the needs of people who are in the lower echelons and he is not in favor of building up relations with those belonging to the upper strata of society.

To help those who are in dire need has always been his cherished motto. That is why he has been assisting them irrespective of whether they possess the requisite experience or not, says Varrier.

Once a person is endowed with a willing heart, he can learn any type of work and attain proficiency in it. While recruiting fresh candidate’s right out of college, there is no need to unlearn and then relearn. It is always the freshest minds who have the unquenchable thirst for learning and are always on the trot to learn and grow. We can cash in those qualities and by giving proper training and orientation we can employ them profitably, avers Varrier.

10 RAVI with KPA

For the continued growth of his company, he has built up a very good rapport throughout the world. He has given full freedom to all his employees and no one is allowed to exploit anybody. What he is concerned about is that each and every one should discharge the given duties and responsibilities scrupulously. As and when he comes across any special talents in an employee, he is readily bringing the same to the notice of the management and gets him the well-deserved recognition.

At the same time, if he notices any irregularity which is not consonance with the objectives of the company, he unhesitatingly pinpoints the same to the concerned and ensures that it is rectified then and there. When we know that we are doing the right thing, why should we be afraid of anybody, asks Varrier? He is afraid of only the superpower - God.

“Nobody is willing to leave this company and we are all working as though we are all members of one and the same family. Such ESPRIT DE CROPS is prevailing here. Maintaining cordial relations with the employees is a pre-requisite for the success of any enterprise. Since I am taking care of this vital management aspect to the best of my ability, not only the company is growing, but we are also growing with it,” declares Varrier.

9 RAVI Varrier 4

With a zealous desire to lead and succeed, Ravi’s exemplary life is a lesson for all. In his 42nd year at Al-Rashed International Shipping Co., he believes that there is still a lot more roads ahead that is less travelled. Often the last person to leave the company every day, Ravi’s mottos in life and in business is simple yet intriguing, “If you have given 99% of your efforts, it still means 0%” and “In the world so competitive, it is you who decides whether you are an “H” or a “Z” in front of ERO making you a HERO or a ZERO.

He remembers Abdulaziz Abdul Mohsen Al Rashed as a visionary and it was he who taught the value of time in life and in business. Mr.Bassim Saud Al Rashed, Chairman of Al-Rashed International Shipping Co. is a close friend and an amazing boss. The revered Mr Saud Abdulaziz Abdul Mohsen Al Rashed considers him as close as his sons.Mr Saad Abdul Aziz Al Rashed, the shipping mogul of the Al Rashed family whom Ravi considers as his godfather, still comes and sits with him daily for a couple of hours to discuss business and life. Ravi is like a family member in the Al-Rashed clan.

The 3rd generation of Al-Rashed family Mr  Khaled Al Rashed, Mr  Essam Al Rashed, Mr Faisal Al Rashed, Mr  Adnan Al Rashed, Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Rashed, Mr  Mishal Al Rashed, Ms Maha, Ms Nouf, Ms  Hanouf along with the spouses and children always welcome Ravi in every occasion with an open heart, with love and respect which he values and treasures.

Ravi maintains a very dear relationship with each and every one. Even the youngest members of the family love him a lot. Not only to him, Ravi’s family - his wife Uma and daughter Varsha, also maintain a very cordial relation with the Al-Rashed family.

3 with family Copy

He still misses his old colleagues, Late Karan who taught him the basics of vessel operations, Mr Akram Butt, Mr Essam Abu Qayas, Mr Gopi, Mr Vinod, and Mr Ali all of who were like brothers to him. Every death of an old timer of Al-Rashed is like losing a part of him forever. Ravi still remembers an old colleague Mr Ahmed Malik and pays him a small sum of money from the company every 2 months. He is weak but personally comes to visit Ravi and fondly hugs him during each visit.

Al-Rashed International Shipping Co. has grown from leaps and bounds under the aegis of Ravi Varrier. From just a shipping company with 20 staff members handling a few containers and LCLs with a room for an office, Al-Rashed International Shipping Co. is currently a multi-million dollar organization housed in a 10 storied building in Kuwait with offices in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Al-Rashed is currently the market leader in Kuwait maritime and project logistics and is involved in many large projects across the country,

Ravi claims that there is still scope for growth in the logistics sector in Kuwait. Putting in place, adequate performance management systems will open up opportunities for expansion.In the span of 42 years in Kuwait and as a part of the Al-Rashed group, Ravi has met and interacted with numerous nationalities and personalities- each interaction being a leaning from him and has molded his growth over the years.

Varrier’s advice to the fellow Indians in Kuwait is “Having come to a country to make your future, it is necessary to abide by the law of the land and be a good citizen. Academic qualification alone is not enough, one has to develop analytical skills simultaneously and be open with a positive attitude.

6 Ravi varrier daughters

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. It is important to utilize every opportunity to build a career through hard and smart work.

Always try to find a balance between your profession and family. Spend quality time with your children. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Take control of your life, and that begins with having control of your own time. Your time is a valuable asset, use it well and wisely.”

Kuwait has been his home for the last 42 years. He says Kuwait is his adopted homeland. Despite all the difficulties especially during the time of the Gulf War, he managed to overcome everything and grow.

Times have been tough for the CEO of Al-Rashed International Shipping Co. but he has managed to evade all obstacles in the way and lead a homegrown company into international repute. Working hours extends late into the night, he strives tirelessly into getting things done and done right.

His vision is to grow the company and ensure all shareholders and stakeholders are kept happy at all times. Sporting a smile, he quips in- “Where is the fun to live if it all came to you easily?”

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