Beginnings

Dr. Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty (“Dr. B R Shetty”) was born in Kaup, Udupi in the state of Karnataka, India in 1942. He served as the Vice Chairman of the Municipal Council in Udupi, where he worked towards the cause of providing proper sanitary facilities, building concrete roads, schools, underground drainage and septic tanks for people to lead a better and healthier life.

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Stepping on to the Arabian Soil

In 1973 he set foot in the desert land of the United Arab Emirates to pursue his ambitions. Armed with nothing more than a clinical degree in pharmacy, Dr. B R Shetty commenced his entrepreneurial career in the UAE at a time when the nation was in its formative years. With his commitment, hard work, vigour and dynamic personality, he was able to start, build and succeed at multiple businesses over the years and today, his business empire is spread across the globe.

Establishing NMC

Realising that healthcare facilities in the UAE were rudimentary at that time and foreseeing tremendous potential, he ventured into the field of healthcare by establishing New Medical Centre (NMC) in 1975 which expanded significantly over the years and is today the UAE’s largest private healthcare provider. It is the first healthcare company from the GCC and the first company from Abu Dhabi to be listed on the premium segment of the prestigious London Stock Exchange and is part of FTSE-250 index.

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Dr. BR. Shetty at London Stock Exchange

Owing to the reputation and popularity of NMC Healthcare, its hospitals and medical centres cater to over two million patients annually across 12 facilities spread over 5 cities and 4 emirates. NMC Healthcare is also the first UAE Company to be awarded a 5 – year contract by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Govt. of UAE, in 2012 to manage and operate the over 200 – bed Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital, Umm al Quwain.

UAE Exchange, Neo Pharma and others

With his legendary foresight and vision, Dr. Shetty identified expatriate aspirations to contribute back to the loved ones left behind in their home countries. This led to the birth of UAE Exchange. Over 34 years after its inception, UAE Exchange is a leading global money transfer, foreign exchange and payment solutions brand with over 750 direct offices across 32 countries. UAE Exchange has over 9,000 employees representing 40 nationalities. With a rapidly expanding customer base of more than 7.9 million customers, product portfolio, and network, it is one of the fastest growing corporate brands in the Middle East.

In order to achieve his dream of providing services across the entire healthcare value chain, Dr. Shetty founded Neopharma, the UAE based pharmaceutical manufacturer in 2003. Inaugurated by the then President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam in Abu Dhabi, Neopharma is centred on using the concept of modular manufacturing following global benchmarks in manufacturing technology and putting in place efficient control mechanisms. Neopharma has its own research and development wing and offers quality medicines at affordable prices. At the same time it has contract manufacturing for international pharmaceutical giants across both innovator products as well as generic brands. Neopharma has relationships with Merck, Pfizer, Biocon, Astra Zeneca, Jubilant Pharma, Boots UK, Hetero Pharmaceuticals and many others.

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NMC Trading

In 1975, when Dr. Shetty took to exploring opportunities in store with nothing more than a few dirhams jingling in his pocket, the UAE had just emerged as a fledgling nation. In the 1970s and 1980s, with the rapid expansion and growth of the UAE, Dr Shetty was busy spawning new lines across distribution of pharmaceuticals, medical and scientific equipment, fast moving consumer goods, educational and veterinary products. Established in 1981, NMC Trading is the only distribution business to have a pan- UAE presence across all its distribution categories.

Family

Dr Shetty owes his success to the support of the people around him and those who believed in him, especially his better half Dr. C.R. Shetty, who he considers as the pillar in his life. His kindness and selfless spirit is also visible in his 4 children – 3 daughters and a son, who follow his footsteps by contributing towards making the world a better place.

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Involved in welfare and support programmes across communities
Community service

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, Abu Dhabi Indian School where he serves as the Honorary Chairman. His contributions to building a better future for the country include running a number of schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai such as Deira Private School, Bright Riders School (Mussafah and Al Gharbia) as well as Sara Nursery.
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 President of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council and was instrumental in building the ultra-modern Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium that played host for many official international fixtures.
Given his larger than life persona, Dr. Shetty was chosen to play Dharmaraja, the King of Travancore in the historical documentary ‘Travancore: a Saga of Benevolence’, which was chosen as the best documentary cinema of 2011.
Dr. Shetty with his sense of giving, has been a donor par excellence, reaching out not only to the Indian community, but to people from all walks of life, as many have been the beneficiaries of his charitable disposition. A humanitarian to the core,Dr. Shetty takes to heart his job as a citizen of the world and has provided aid during natural calamities in Bangladesh, Japan, Indonesia and India. Other charitable associations include aid to Turkey, Sri Lanka and Thailand. He has also supplied medicines to the grief stricken Palestinian state and as Director supports the Special Care Center in Abu Dhabi and the Cancer Foundation run by the famous cricketer Imran Khan in Pakistan.

Recognition

Awards and accolades have been heaped on him in recognition of his services. He was the first recipient of the ‘Order of Abu Dhabi’ by the Govt. of Abu Dhabi in 2005, the highest civilian award for contribution to the development of the community and the cause of the Emirate. He was also conferred the prestigious civilian award ‘Padma Shri’ by the Government of India, in 2009 for his outstanding achievements in Trade and Business. He received the First-Ever Swiss Ambassador’s Award 2008 from H. E. Wolfgang Amadeus Bruelhart, Ambassador of Switzerland, Abu Dhabi, Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam on behalf of the Govt. of India (2007) and the Forbes Middle East Top Indian Leaders in the UAE Award, among many others.

Dr. Shetty with HE Pratibha Patil
Dr. BR. Shetty with  HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan
The man that is Dr B R Shetty

Dr. Shetty is grateful to the royal family of the UAE who have provided their guidance and support at all times. He is especially inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (May peace be upon his soul) and fondly remembers the late father of the nation’s words, which served as the foundation of Dr. Shetty’s businesses.
When Dr. Shetty started attending school in his village, he like most other children walked barefoot. He admits that he was not particularly a brilliant scholar but he possessed a rare gift – the ability to work hard with dedication to the task and an unquenchable curiosity and interest in everything around him. These joys of life coupled with a sense of adventure and determination in meeting challenges are the recipe of his strength and success.
Dr. Shetty is enthused by the dictum that the real secret of happiness is not in what you have or what you receive but in what you share.

Words of Inspiration

“It is society which nurtures you. It is your duty to give back to society. Only when you share your success, does it multiply. I have strongly believed in this and it has worked for me”

– Dr. B R Shetty