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Khaled Soliman, Group CEO, Jashanmal group, speaks to Gulf News at his office in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: With over 40 years’ experience across varied industries of construction, manufacturing, hospitality and retail, Khaled Soliman is currently leading the Jashanmal Group as the Group CEO. He has been in the top management positions at various organisations for past 20 years.

The 102-year old conglomerate, which started off from a single store in Basra, Iraq, in 1919, has seamlessly adapted to the changing retail landscape. Its fortunes have grown as the Arabian Gulf changed from being a faceless desert to one of the most dynamic global hubs for commerce.

Soliman has been instrumental in defining and implementing the e-commerce and omni channel strategy of the group and it is under his leadership that the group successfully launched its e-commerce activities at the beginning of the last year and in this short span has made its mark in the region. Within a year of its launch, e-commerce has contributed more than 4 per cent of the group’s total turnover.

“The pandemic did not bring about digitalisation. It was already there and was progressing every day. It was accelerated due to the safety concerns of the consumers,” Soliman told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

Soliman is a civil engineer with a Post Graduate Management degree. He has worked in Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia before working in the UAE.

Soliman’s first brush with digitalisation was in the newspaper industry, as he spreaheaded the online venture of a major English daily in the Gulf. “The newspaper industry was undergoing a complete transformation at the time and it was a great experience that I could put to work here at Jashanmal,” Soliman said.

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Tony Jashanmal (left), Group President and Khaled Soliman, Group CEO, Jashanmal group. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Jashanmal Group was looking for someone to head its digital strategy just as Soliman, who was already a board member of the Group on behalf of his previous employers, was about to end his term there. “Since he was instrumental in preparing the report for our digital strategy, it was a great fit that Soliman should come on board at the time,” said Tony Jashanmal, President, Jashanmal Group.

In a short time, he managed to bring about a complete transformation of the company’s internal culture to focus on the emerging digital culture sweeping the retail sector across the world. “It was important that we started to do things digitally in every sphere, in our internal communications, meetings. Our management team adapted to the digital culture faster even than the customer,” Soliman said.

As a retailer, the group will continue to maintain a presence in a physical and virtual presence. “We at Jashanmal refer to our new style as a hybrid business model, where all the different channels of sales coexist and have their own role to play,” Soliman said.

During his free time and when the weather allows he enjoys golfing and often indulges in water sports. He is an avid football fan of Liverpool footbal club and primarily, Egyptian striker Mohammed Salah.