Salim Ghauri

Salim Ghauri, Founder & CEO NetSol Technologies, is one of the best known figures from the Pakistani IT industry. He has been cited as the ‘Bill Gates of Pakistan’, a reference to his incredible achievements as an IT entrepreneur. Founded by him in 1996, NetSol Technologies developed rapidly to become the leading software company of Pakistan and is today the only CMMI Level 5 organization in the country. It has been the country’s leading software exporter for many years and now caters to a truly impressive list of global blue chip customers, including some of the biggest names in the global IT industry.

Salim Ghauri is one of the country’s leading IT entrepreneurs and the harbinger of development in Pakistan’s IT industry. His founding of NetSol Technologies was the result of his vision to help Pakistan actualize its potential as a leading global IT destination as well his drive to ensure a sustainable market for home-grown talent. Under his leadership, NetSol has gained worldwide recognition and exponential growth, topping the list of IT companies in Pakistan and serving blue-chip clients all over the world.

From the humble beginnings of an office with two rooms and a small team, NetSol Technologies Limited has, today, grown to organization employing over 1300 resources with a truly global footprint. It is Pakistan’s biggest IT exporter, a leading IT employer and the first CMMI Level 5 certified company in the country. Spearheading the company, Salim has helped NetSol achieve global recognition as a leading supplier of IT software and solutions for the finance and leasing; capturing over 90% percent of the Chinese Auto Leasing market. His vision helped the company achieve the Asia Pacific ICT Association Award for the ‘Best Financial Product ’. Under his visionary leadership, NetSol has emerged as Pakistan’s leading IT company. It has won great recognition at both local and global levels.

Besides his success as an astute entrepreneur, Mr. Ghauri remains active in other key roles. He is, at present, the Honorary Consul of Australia for Punjab. In addition, he has chaired the Federal Government’s ICT Task Force, which is entrusted with the task of reviewing national IT policy and providing recommendations in key IT related areas. Salim Ghauri is the President of TiE Lahore Chapter and President of the American Business Forum as well. He has also served as First Chairperson of Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) of NUST Institute of Information Technology. Recently, he has been bestowed the Honorary Fellowship of the Association of Business Executives, UK.

Salim Ghauri is a sought after executive and regularly appears in the media to impart his expert views, drawing on his extensive experience and knowledge of the Pakistani IT industry, its potential and the unique challenges it faces. He is constantly invited to make presentations at different forums including leading Universities in Pakistan, believing wholeheartedly in the next generation’s talent, and at key events such as Secure Pakistan and CIO. His efforts towards promoting local IT have decisively placed Pakistan and its IT industry on the global map. Just some of the notable achievements from his illustrious career are mentioned below:

  • NetSol Technologies became the first ever IT company in Pakistan to receive CMMI level 5 certification by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Melon University; an incredible feat considering that NetSol still remains the only level 5 certified company in the country, and part of an exclusive group of only a handful of companies the world over to have achieved such an accolade
  • Salim’s commitment to local IT talent and strife to make it prosperous culminated in the award for "Pioneer in Taking Technology Global” from CIO magazine, run by International Data Group, for having successfully utilized local resources and talent, and establishing a globally recognized entity
  • The success of Salim’s creation of this global entity can be gauged by the fact that since 2003, NetSol has been lifting the Best IT Export Performance Award (sponsored by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry - FPCCI) for the highest export of IT Services
  • Along with 9 years of successive software export prowess, NetSol also holds Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) ICT Awards for
    • Best IT/ITES Employer Award
    • Best E-Government & Services Award
    • Best Revenue Growth Award
  • Salim’s commitment to driving product excellence in LeaseSoft helped it win the prestigious Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) award for “Best Financial Industry Application” in 2007
  • Salim also received the 8th Teradata National IT Excellence Award from Senator Raza Rabbani, Leader of the House in Senate, as well as the NCR IT Excellence Award, both celebrating excellence in IT in Pakistan
  • Appreciating Salim’s achievements in the field of IT, the Government of Pakistan honored him by appointing him as the Chairman of the Task Force on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). In this capacity, Salim, along with other members of the Task Force, were responsible reviewing existing IT policy and action plans, assessing the manufacturing potential in the county, identifying the issues faced by these industries, and making recommendations for improvement, as well as assessing the quality of IT education in Pakistan and chalking out a roadmap for the future in terms of expansion and improvement
  • NetSol is also ranked among the top-10 ‘Fastest Growing Software Companies’ in the US (according to Baseline’s ranking of the fastest growing small software companies in the US)
  • Its success can be attested by the fact that Pakistan’s leading Business institute, the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) has devoted an entire case study to NetSol’s business model and achievements
  • Salim helped NetSol gain international exposure and acceptance, and become the first and only Pakistani company trading on NASDAQ since 1999. The Company is also dual-listed for trading on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) under the symbol NTWK, and on the Karachi Stock Exchange, where the share price has increased by 700% since it first started trading in 1995
  • NetSol has acquired ‘Silver’ approval from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in recognition of its commitment to the training and development of students working towards the ACCA Certified Accounting Technical (CAT) schemes.

Besides being lauded by Mr. Khalid Maqbool, Governor Punjab, for promoting IT education in Punjab, and by Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s envoy to Britain at the time for NetSol’s contribution in putting Pakistan on the world IT map, Mr. Salim Ghauri has been a popular figure among notable figures the world over:

“IT is our future and companies like NetSol will lead our march towards an advanced IT provider. I wish NetSol and the Ghauri family continued success in the future. We are very proud of what you have achieved and your role in doing more is crucial and important for IT development in Pakistan.”

Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister Pakistan, March 4, 2005

“Salim Ghauri started in 1996 with a small team to first customize, and later develop software for Mercedes-Benz. This engagement enabled him to introduce the latest trends in IT and quality standards in his Pakistan based company. Convinced of the talent and potential of his local team, he made dedicated efforts to overtake international competitors. During these twelve years, these efforts led to explosive growth and shaped into a successful, world-class organization. This organization was publicly awarded by the achievement of CMMI Level 5 certification and by the international recognition of NetSol’s software product.
The rise of NetSol put Pakistan on the global IT map. Salim Ghauri can be considered a visionary entrepreneur and a role model of a CEO in the same way as his company, NetSol, is an inspiration for IT companies in developing economies.”

Mr. Eugen Beckert, Vice President Mercedes-Benz, May 23, 2008

“Mr. Salim Ghauri has played a key role in promoting the IT sector. His pioneering role in developing process capabilities in his organization through ISO and CMM initiatives has inspired other Pakistani IT companies to invest in developing their own process capabilities. By focusing on developing a world-class product that is being used by several companies in different parts of the world, Mr. Salim Ghauri has given confidence to other IT companies that it is indeed possible to do product development in Pakistan, and this has helped establish international credibility of our IT sector. Mr. Ghauri’s leadership has shown the path to Pakistani IT companies in the strategy of growth through acquisition of companies in developed countries. I believe that Mr. Salim Ghauri’s pioneering contributions make him an IT icon of Pakistan. ”

Dr. Syed Zahoor Hassan, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), April 15, 2008

“I have known Salim for over a decade and continue to be impressed by his commitment to Pakistan. This has to do with his spirit as an entrepreneur and his devotion to the country. That he became part of the IT industry is something that has benefited the industry greatly.
Salim's investment, through NetSol, put Pakistan on the world IT map. NetSol went through some trying times during a downturn in the Pakistani economy; many IT companies closed down. Salim stayed on, and did not abandon NetSol, did not let go of his people and probably took some hits financially just to get through the rough spot. Not only that, NetSol continued to pursue excellence and achieved unprecedented successes such as CMMI Level 5 certification, one of the first in the country. This is testament to Salim's tenacity as a professional and his commitment as a leader in the industry. Oracle technology is proud to be associated with the company and with Salim.”

Ms Samina Rizwan, Managing Director, FAGE, Oracle Pakistan, April 15, 2008

“I appreciate all the efforts made by NetSol in our project. Our relationship as business partners is important for the future of both our companies. I am certain that we will succeed.”

Henry Tolentino, Toyota Leasing Thailand, February 24, 2007

Salim Ghauri has brought a passion, energy and commitment to entrepreneurship in the country that continues to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and students. The emergence of NetSol as a high quality organization reflects his belief in adopting global best practices in management. The company’s philosophy has been to invest in both processes and human capital. Mr. Ghauri remains a staunch and vocal supporter of talent development in the country through quality education and innovation. He has been on the board and advisory council of different educational institutions and is passionate about the future of high quality management and technology education in the country.