All successful leaders have a clear vision for their lives and are willing to go through tough waters to achieve their vision. However, they know that the greater their vision, the greater the focus needed, the greater the risks are taken and greater are the rewards. Thus, successful leaders are oftentimes obligated and willing to take risks.
Upholding the importance of taking risks in life, James Michael Lafferty (CEO and Member of Board Directors at Fine Hygienic Holding) says, “I firmly believe the very best are not one-dimensional yet lead a diverse and wide-ranging life. We get only one shot at life—it’s not a ‘dress rehearsal’—so we have to take risks and seize the day!”
James is a proven builder of people, businesses, and brands, particularly in developing markets. Besides this, he is also a marathoner, a mountain climber, and an Olympic track and field coach. Being a writer, consultant, speaker, and philanthropist, he believes that when we are blessed, we must give back to those less fortunate.
We strive to master our fundamentals, to execute brilliantly through strong governance, control of company assets, and delivery on all our targets.
An Illustrious Career
In his three-decade-long career, James has built businesses and organizations across five continents for some of the world’s leading fast-moving consumer goods companies—including CEO roles within Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola, and British American Tobacco. In his early days, he worked as a youth track and field coach at Cincinnati—where one of his clients introduced him to the world of brand management.
From there, James was hooked on brand management. He joined the Brand Management Program for P&G—where he gained invaluable experience in the US market before transferring into the international markets, becoming CEO of P&G in Poland and the Baltic region. This led him to further prominent positions for Coca-Cola in Nigeria and British American Tobacco in the Philippines.
Despite his successful career in brand management, sports and coaching are still integral parts of James’s life. He coached at the national level across the US and Nigeria and recently coached the Philippines Olympic Athletics team at the 2016 Rio games. “I incorporate sporting values into every aspect of my life including the way I work,” comments James.
Furthermore, James is a firm believer in lifelong learning. “I believe it is our duty as individuals to never stop learning, and I always look for ways to empower others to achieve their success,” he adds. As a lifelong learner himself, James took an intensive course in negotiations from Harvard Law School last year—to help strengthen his negotiating skills and add another dimension to his skillset.
James joined Fine Hygienic Holding (FHH) in 2015 as a Board Member and was offered the role of CEO in 2018. Incepted in 1958, FHH is one of the world’s leading wellness groups and the MENA region’s leading manufacturer of hygienic paper products. The company primarily focuses on sustainability, state-of-the-art production processes, and pioneering CSR Programs. With dual headquarters in Amman, Jordan, and Dubai, FHH has regional offices that serve communities in Jordan, the UAE, KSA, Egypt, and Morocco. Over the past 30 years in its expansion of production facilities, the company targeted key countries within the MENA region. Currently, it has more than 10 paper mills and factories located throughout the MENA region.
In 2019, FHH acquired a major stake in Nai Arabia Food Company—a manufacturer of natural and healthy food and beverage products. This was a strategic move to further cement the FHH brand as a leading wellness company. Following this move, the company launched several products focusing on overall consumer health and wellbeing. It also used its patented SteriPro Ultra Technology to launch the Fineguard PureHands—the Fine Guard Fabric Booster. Furthermore, FHH launched its MOTIVA supplements—which are 100% natural supplements with high bioavailability. “Looking ahead, we are exploring an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange this year,” adds James.
Leaders in wellness need to understand the importance of technology and data as an enabler to help any creative ideas get off the ground.
Ensuring the Growth
As the CEO of FHH, James ensures that the company provides the best possible products. He is also responsible for growing the business and taking care of the employees and making sure that both their physical wellness and mental health are the priority. “We see our employees as the beating heart and mind of our business. A healthy team—both physically and mentally—is essential to any successful business and brand,” he asserts. With his background in fitness, sports, and training, James knows how important physical and mental health is in terms of productivity and life.
Improving Hygiene and Safety
Before the onset of the pandemic, FHH was one of the only companies to produce sterilized tissues—which at that time, was considered as an additional benefit. However, as the pandemic hit, people understood the importance of getting quality products that would protect them and their families. Thereafter, the company built on its offerings by adding a new range of products that improve hygiene and ensure the health and safety of the community and consumers.
“We knew we had an obligation to the wider society and our customers to take the technologies and expertise that were available and incorporate them in products that would help protect them from the pandemic,” says James.
As a pre-emptive response to the pandemic, FHH pivoted to manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE)—producing a range of reusable masks to help protect and ensure the safety of the community. The Fine Guard range, which included masks and gloves—incorporated an antiviral technology scientifically proven to be 99.9% effective in killing the virus. Recently, the company has launched a new range of products protected by a patented technology that kills 99.9% of germs including Coronavirus—Fine Guard PureHands, Fine Guard PureSurfaces, Fine Guard Fabric Booster, and Steriwash.
Relentless Support and Assistance to the Team
To support its team in these uncertain times, FHH launched an unprecedented 24/7 counseling hotline program that provides confidential support to address mental health issues and concerns related to the pandemic. James mentions that this program is administrated by qualified psychologists in several languages and is available to all Fine employees and their immediate family members for free.
Furthermore, in an effort to address the work-life balance challenge, the company also introduced the “Work from anywhere” policy which allows all employees to work remotely one day per week. James further adds that FHH ensures a happy workplace by fostering diversity and embodying a culture of meritocracy and female empowerment through consistent and effective training and career development, progressive maternity and paternity policies, and various employee benefits.
We believe in bold decision-making and taking risks, and we strive to be an organization that people love to join and hate to leave.
Innovation and Adaption
“Our focus for 2021 is to continue our evolution and progress as a leading global wellness brand, while also supporting and protecting the communities we serve,” asserts James. He adds that the recently launched Motiva Neuro and Immuno Boosters are the perfect examples of FHH’s efforts in ground-breaking products. The Motiva Neuro Booster supplement delivers key nutrients and vitamins for the brain, memory, and immune health; while Motiva Immuno Booster has been developed to help with metabolism, joint support, and immunity, as well as reduce blood pressure and control blood sugar levels.
Both the products use natural ingredients and are clinically tested supplements that use a combination of carefully sourced ingredients and bioavailability technology to ensure efficient delivery of nutrients into the bloodstream—a technique dramatically increasing the effectiveness of supplements over the source ingredients.
James believes that leaders in wellness need to understand the importance of technology and data as an enabler to help any creative ideas get off the ground. “Used properly, tech can provide us with real-time data which we can interpret and analyze, giving us the ability to make more informed decisions that allow the business to grow,” he asserts. “We worked hard to adapt in a changing world, we innovated and found a need in the market that we could fill with our technologies and so we did, and this gamble paid off for us last year and continues to be the right choice well into 2021,” he continues.
A Move towards Safety and Sustainability
The demand for FHH’s products in homes existed before the pandemic as well. With the impacts of the pandemic, people are now growing increasingly cautious about staying safe from fearful diseases. Consumers have gravitated towards using more eco-friendly masks, sanitized tissues, and trusted brands.
When asked for a piece of advice for InspireZones’s readers, James stated, “Continue practicing all hygienic precautions to curb the spread of the virus further. Keep sanitizing and make sure you mentally and physically take care of yourself and others around you. We have a duty and responsibility to look after ourselves, others, and the world we will leave to generations after us.”