London, 18 May 2015 – Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (“Hikma”) (LSE: HIK) (NASDAQ Dubai: HIK) (OTC: HKMPY), the fast growing multinational pharmaceuticals company, is deeply saddened to announce that Samih Darwazah, Hikma’s Founder and Honorary Life President, passed away peacefully on Friday, 15 May, in London at the age of 85. Mr. Darwazah was a politician, a philanthropist, an entrepreneur and a business leader that founded Hikma, a company that recently entered the FTSE100 index and now employs 7,000 people bringing affordable medicines to the world.
Mr. Darwazah founded Hikma in 1978 in Amman, Jordan. His vision was to bring high quality and affordable medicines to the world. With the help of his children, who joined the business in its early days, Hikma grew from a small factory in Jordan into the largest regional supplier of harmaceuticals in the Middle East and North Africa (“MENA”) region. The company also expanded outside the MENA region, establishing successful operations in Europe and the United States. Today Hikma operates in around 50 countries, selling a broad range of branded generics, generic injectables, non-injectable generics and in-licensed patented products. In 2005, the company floated on the London Stock Exchange and in March 2015 it entered the FTSE 100 index.
Mr. Darwazah was born in Nablus in 1930. One of several children, his family lived in Jaffa, where his father was a merchant, for most of his childhood. In 1948, the Darwazah family left their ancestral home and moved to Jordan. Mr. Darwazah went to study at the American University of Beirut (“AUB”), where he met and married his wife, Samira, a fellow AUB student. After obtaining a B.Sc. Degree in Pharmacy in 1954 and working for a few years in pharmacy in Jordan and Kuwait, Mr. Darwazah was offered a Fulbright Scholarship and went to study at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in Saint Louis, Missouri.
A couple of months after receiving his master’s degree in Industrial Pharmacy, Mr. Darwazah signed on with Eli Lilly. He worked for the company from 1964 to 1976, first in the United States then in various positions in the Middle East marketing division. At the age of 48, after 12 years working for Eli Lilly and with extensive experience in marketing and management, Mr. Darwazah decided to return to Jordan and establish his own company – and Hikma was born.
As an entrepreneur and business leader, Mr. Darwazah became an influential figure in Jordan, creating jobs and developing a vibrant local pharmaceutical industry. He believed strongly that he had a responsibility to invest in local communities and he became a strong advocate of corporate responsibility. In 1995, Mr. Darwazah was invited by Jordan’s Prince Zeid Ben-Shaker to serve as Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources to the late King Hussein. In later years, he was also a senator, served on the Advisory Economic Council to His Majesty the King of Jordan, and founded the Jordanian Trade Association. As a firm supporter of education and an advocate for women’s rights, Mr. Darwazah established a school for girls in Al Shoubak in Jordan in 2009, amongst many other philanthropic endeavours.
In recognition of Mr. Darwazah’s remarkable achievements as a businessman, Ernst and Young named him Middle East Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007. He was also the recipient of five honorary doctorates in recognition of his lifetime achievements – from The St. Louis College of Pharmacy, the Lebanese American University, Birzeit University, the American University of Beirut and the Jordan University of Science and Technology.
In addition to Mr. Darwazah’s significant professional achievements, he will perhaps be best remembered by all who knew him as someone who valued family above all else. He surrounded himself with his four children and his eleven grandchildren. The supportive “family” culture at Hikma thrives today, ten years after becoming a public company. He will be sorely missed and always remembered by all who knew him.
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