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Driving the dream forward

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My appointment as CEO of Alitam

I’m honoured to be named CEO of Alitam, the pioneering pharmacy consolidation which I founded back in November 2019 and have built with just three staff. My appointment last week means I can fully dedicate myself to achieving our vision of being the ‘Pharmacy of the Future’, transforming the healthcare landscape by implementing more clinical and wellbeing services, and championing our exceptionally talented and entrepreneurial pharmacists.

It’s all come a long way since that telephone call with my relative, Abdool Kureeman, during which I realised the potential for an overnight multiple merger model to disrupt the pharmacy sector, driving up standards of care and hugely enhancing business prospects. From that moment I’ve worked tirelessly to make it happen. I’ve handpicked each member pharmacy according to specialism, jurisdiction, expertise and profit and today we have over 140 stores, across the UK and Ireland. We’ve pushed through the legal and financial requirements, working at speed, and established a vibrant forum for ideas exchange and mutual support.

My belief in this futuristic ‘overnight multiple merger model’ is unshakeable; I used it to build Xeinadin, a top ranking accountancy firm, in just 256 working days. Dubbed a ‘corporate miracle’ Xeinadin has gone on to take the accountancy world by storm, setting much higher standards for accountancy practices and inspiring a whole new generation of accountants to ‘think outside the box’ and profit accordingly. I’ve witnessed extraordinary results for member accountancy firms, and I am so pleased, after such a short period of time since inception in December 2019, to see this on the horizon for Alitam members too.

So when Sir Ken Olisa, Alitam Chairman, Lord Lieutenant of London and the Queen’s ‘right hand man’ stipulated that I become CEO, I could not have been more delighted. We are kindred spirits when it comes to running Alitam, fellow visionaries who will drive our dream forwards no matter what.

We firmly believe this is the right time for Alitam to be born, that – as Sir Ken says – there’s an ‘industrial logic’ to the business plan which is irrefutable. Covid-19 has made it clearer than ever that the pharmacy sector needs to be disrupted by a brave, new visionary firm which will reset the parameters, redefining the role of the pharmacist so they are seen forevermore, as they were during the pandemic, as cornerstones of primary care.

I’m also delighted to have the backing of the rest of the Board, and all our outstanding member pharmacies; our close-knit group possesses an energy and drive which I rarely see elsewhere. I have been so inspired by the dedication, intelligence and wisdom of each of our pharmacists – it’s humbling to witness them work so hard, day in day out, when many GP services remained closed. I am blown away by the amount of crucial work they do, serving their communities carefully at all times. It’s also inspiring to watch them adopt new clinical services and in-store offerings, capitalising on their entrepreneurial side in order to bring greater health and wellbeing to all. They’re already cross-fertilising ideas and bouncing ideas off each other. It’s sped up the implementation of innovations such as dispensing robots – which frees up the staff to spend more time caring for customers.

Yes, my role as CEO will be largely focused around tasks such as: steering the group strategy; implementing new product and service lines; driving cost efficiencies and new income streams; and heading up the M&A team.

But the endgame is that, by creating the trusted, visionary high street pharmacy Alitam, more lives will be saved, rates of infection will be lowered, clinical issues will be spotted early on and treated efficiently, secondary care services will be protected – and suffering from physical and mental problems will become greatly reduced. This is the mission I hold in my heart at all times as CEO of this inspiring company.

We will not fail.

A meeting of minds

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How a 25 minute phone call led to the birth of a revolutionary new pharmacy group: Alitam

I remember the day clearly. It was mid November 2019 and I was on the phone to my father’s cousin, Abdul Kureeman, chatting about my recent world record accomplishment with Xeinadin Group. I’d just completed the ‘overnight’ consolidation of 122 independent accountancy firms to form Xeinadin. A world-first which was making waves in both the accountancy sector and in the city. Abdul was talking about his busy life, running a highly successful pharmacy in Surrey. And that was when he said it, “You know Feisal, pharmacists have been consistently undervalued and underused. We’ve proved our capabilities over and over, and yet the healthcare system isn’t recognising that. The landscape is changing now, GPs are under so much pressure. It’s so frustrating that our considerable clinical expertise is largely unused. The potential to save lives and improve health is untapped.”

It was like a light coming on inside my head. Suddenly the two things coalesced: the idea of a mass overnight multiple merger, and pharmacies exploiting their true capabilities. Wasn’t the pharmacy industry ripe for disruption, much as the accountancy world had been? Couldn’t I merge independent pharmacies to offer superior buying power, cost-efficiencies and innovations? Abdul was frantically nodding, and as we began brainstorming ideas, the realisation grew that we had hit on something truly special.

Fast forward to December 2020, and in just one year I had managed to consolidate over 140 pharmacies across the UK and Ireland, all united under one vision: to be the new ‘Pharmacy of the Future’. This was the concept which best encapsulated everything I wanted to do, mixing my acquisition expertise and business acumen with the plight of my relative, and his vision of the way things should be. I became so passionate about the potential of this new futuristic pharmacy model, stress-testing the idea and running all the usual forensic financial checks.

Everything seemed to come back with a massive thumbs up. Pharmacists were absolutely chomping at the bit to realise their full talents and better serve their loyal communities. Customers were fed up with waiting too long to see a GP, knowing the capabilities and tests existed elsewhere. The healthcare system was on its knees, each day bringing more and more pressures from a rapidly aging population.

Wherever I went, through the UK and Ireland, pharmacy owners were enthusiastic and mightily relieved. As I said, within just a year I’d amassed more than 140 pharmacy stores to work collectively, from nothing. The enthusiasm amongst the pharmacists was infectious. The momentum grew and grew. We began to brand the company, develop our ethos and exchange ideas. Each day brought new levels of co-operation between pharmacists, as they helped each other implement the technologies and systems which could free up pharmacists’ time.

By Spring 2020 Alitam was flying as a company, comprising a fantastic mix of specialisms, expertise and mindsets. None of the big pharmacy chains offered this. Alitam boasts entrepreneurial owner-managers who run their own stores, thus having significantly more skills and experience than a manager of the leading big firms. The potential was mind blowing.

And then the pandemic hit and the GPs closed their doors.

At once the unique benefits of Alitam became apparent to the wider world. Our in-store clinical services formed the backbone of the pandemic-hit NHS. Pharmacists worked round the clock to deliver medications, liaise
with GPs and help customers who had nowhere else to go for medical advice. We sped up the implementation of new technology to allow pharmacists to do what they do best: help people. Our scale meant we were at the vanguard of the vaccination roll-out programme in the UK and, later on, in Ireland. With many of our stores being larger than average, boasting highly experienced staff, we were the natural choice. To date over 100,000 people have been vaccinated at an Alitam pharmacy, we have been saving lives and bringing huge reassurance and hope. As communities recover, many still rely on their Alitam pharmacy for vital clinical checks and advice. Our remit is becoming wider and wider, in recognition of the enormous role we played during the Covid-19 crisis. GPs’ eyes have been opened to pharmacists’ astonishing skillset and work ethic.

This is a legacy which will last for years to come, changing the healthcare landscape for good.

And all because of a quick 25 minute chat with my dad’s cousin.

2021 GAGT Champion Feisal Nahaboo again victorious at the start of the 2022 season

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Fresh from his impressive victory at the 2021 Global Amateur Golf Tour (GAGT) championship, Feisal Nahaboo has already taken a decisive step towards retaining the title by winning in one of the opening tournaments of the 2022 season.

It took place on 11th October at the Berkshire Golf Club in Ascot. Founded in 1928, this iconic venue is home to two Herbert Fowler designed golf courses, both of which are highly regarded as being among the best in
the British Isles. Feisal scored 40 stableford points on the Berkshire Red Course, -4 under par. “I had a stable start,” says Nahaboo, “then I hit net birdies on 6,7 and 8 to be -3 under par after 9 holes. I went on to hit further net birdies on 11, 13 and 16 before scoring a net eagle on 17.” He beams, “I was delighted. What could have been -8 under par finished at -4 due to a double bogey and two bogeys on back 9.”

Nahaboo won the tournament by a clear shot to beat highly regarded amateur Jamie Irvine. This was no mean feat since Jamie has been on tremendous form of late, hitting a number of rounds between a gross 66 and 69 recently. Nahaboo finished an impressive 17 shots above the average one-round score, and he is set to extend his lead with a further round at Foxhills, Woking today.

“I’m proud to have beaten such an exceptional golfer as Irvine,” says Nahaboo. “He’s hitting scores which are of a decent professional standard. I’m determined to increase my lead now, and further improve my form. Winning the GAGT 2021 tournament meant the world to me. Now my focus is resolutely on retaining this prestigious title in 2022.”

Feisal Nahaboo crowned 2021 Global Amateur Tour Champion

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Feisal Nahaboo, business visionary and founder of the OMMG, today claims the crown in the 20/21 Global Amateur Golf Tour (GAGT), beating 400 competitive golfers to the illustrious title. Feisal is a member of Bearwood Lakes and has been coached by Head Professional Adam Drury using his new ‘evidence based training programme’. Feisal had led the competition since August 2020 following a stunning series of golf rounds. His season has featured several firsts, including gaining the highest number of wins in a season, a record-breaking 8 global golf tournaments. “I’m incredibly proud to be the holder of this coveted title,” says Feisal. “This tour was for me an end-to-end success, I’m highly satisfied with my achievements including a season best score of -8, which I achieved at Saunton West, winning by three shots. The entire team at Bearwood Lakes have been very supportive to me during the season and I hope they are proud a Bearwood member won this 100+ round season tournament.”

The GAGT (formerly known as the Volvo Masters and European Amateur Golf Tour) has a 25 year history of attracting leading business people and celebrity sports stars to its courses. Comprising a series of individual stableford competitions played at top class venues, its championship title is the pinnacle of achievement for amateur golfers. And, in his journey towards achieving this, Feisal amassed a number of remarkable successes; including winning the main championship events at Sunningdale with a score of -5 (41 stableford points) on the new course and -4 (40 stableford points) on the old course. He also won twice at Swinley Forest, Ascot, one the most famous courses in the UK, and at the former Ryder Cup venue, The Belfry, having hit 9 up and downs in the last 12 holes to win in high rains.

Renowned for his formidable work ethic, Feisal applies the same positivity and determination to his golfing. “Even though the lockdowns stopped play, I worked on my short game every day by chipping around the house, putting down the corridors and, outside, using a net on our football pitch to practice longer shots. I improvised in any way I could – and I think it proved to be the recipe for winning this championship. As soon as the courses opened I was out there at 7am most mornings, in minus conditions in winter, wrapped up in five layers of clothing. It’s an amazing feeling to know that all the hard work has paid off. Without the practice, there’s no trophy.”

Now he’s at the top of his game, what’s next for Feisal and golf? “Without a doubt I aim to practice even harder this winter in the hope that I can try and retain the title,” he smiles. “I need to keep working on my game and stay competitive. Form can easily come and go throughout the season. Golfing is a true passion of mine, it helps me enter that zone where my mind can roam free and come up with new ideas, game-changing businesses. It’s a huge part of who I am, it’s helped me achieve my business visions. I’m delighted to have played consistently well throughout the season, and now achieved this ambition with regards to golfing itself. I want to take this opportunity to thank the organisers for arranging top class tournaments and venues for us amateurs. They have shown tolerance and patience throughout covid-19 when golf was closed. I’m delighted that my fellow golfers survived the pandemic and it was a major celebration for us all to be together at the awards dinner. I wish my golfing peers the very best health and performance in 2022.”

Feisal tops the leader board of the GAGT Tour Order of Merit

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With three weeks to go, Feisal Nahaboo is showing tremendous form as he continues to top the leader board at the Global Amateur Golf Tour (GAGT) Order of Merit 2020/21, formerly known as the European Amateur Golf Tour. Leading since July 2020, Feisal is currently playing with a handicap of 10.4 and has accrued over 1,000 points so far in both the World and UK Order of Merits. Feisal has amassed 40-44 points 5 times during the season, whilst hitting his handicap, or better, in 14 competitive tournaments. He has also won, and taken, full points as winner in 8 separate tournaments.

The GAGT is well established, having been launched in 1997, and it’s continuing to grow. It comprises a series of individual stableford competitions played at top class courses. All amateur golfers need an active World Handicap System handicap. The Tour has five Orders of Merit: Ladies, Senior, UK, International and Worldwide. The Tour final is in the first week of October 2021 and played overseas in Valderrama, Spain.

Says Feisal, “It’s my ambition to go all the way now, and win the tour. It’s been an incredibly busy and productive time in my business life, with several new companies ready to be launched, but golf offers me a way to recharge,” he smiles. “And be competitive in a different way! The GAGT is the largest, and most established, amateur golf tour and I’m very proud to be part of this amateur competition.”

Feisal claims 11th place in Scottish Senior Open

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Continuing his successful amateur golfing 2021 summer season, Feisal won 11th place in the prestigious Scottish Senior Open on 12th September 2021. Hosted by Paul Lawrie at the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Scotland, this event offers the exclusive opportunity to play alongside some of the very best senior professionals.

The European Senior Tour is a professional tour for male golfers, run by the PGA European Tour. The tour was relaunched as the Legends Tour in 2020.

Feisal was drawn against professional golfing legends such as Carl Suneson, winner of the 2007 Open de St Omer; Nick Job, five times winner of the European Seniors Tour; Peter Baker, winner of several European tours and Ryder Cup finalist; and Ricardo Gonzalez, winner of four European Tours.

“I was leading towards the end of day two but finished in second place on the penultimate day,” smiles Feisal. “I was confident as I was striking the ball well into high winds and strong rains. I had a chance to kick on and take the title, but that’s what I love about golf – anything can happen. I’ve now made my debut and this experience will help my forthcoming fixtures. Playing in front of large crowds and Sky TV cameras isn’t so easy! Then you have the pressure of playing against top golfers who are competing for big prize money. Playing with Peter Baker was an amazing experience. He was -2 before hitting 5 birdies to finish -7. He was encouraging me all the way round, despite having to manage his own game.

Being Mauritian, I’m very excited and fired up for my next Seniors European Tour championship in Mauritius in December 2021. I now have home advantage which will help.”

Feisal originally pursued a semi professional golfing career, having seen many early business successes. However, a serious injury put paid to his dreams of golfing stardom. “I channelled all that passion and energy into my ground breaking business model – the Overnight Multiple Merger,” he explains. “I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to continue as an amateur golfer, while launching world-first businesses including Xeinadin, Alitam and now Merios. Golf is my favourite way to relax and open my mind to new ideas. As I often say, genius lives on the golf course!”