He is widely credited with leading the resurgence of the popular hotel together with his dedicated team.
What is not so known about Shahzad is that his family runs a chain of Gloria Jeans coffee shops in Pakistan and he studied accountancy in London.
In our September TIME WITH segment, Shahzad Khan spoke with WSBA editor, Michael Walls about success, life and balance.
WSBA: Can you tell us please a little about your background and how you ended up in business as a career?
Shahzad: Like most people, I was not always in business. I spent most of my younger days in England for education. After I secured an honors degree in applied accounting from Oxford Brookes University, I went on to qualify as a chartered certified accountant from London. During my education, I worked in numerous places in different capacities. Most interesting of those, before I started a career in public practice as an auditor and tax accountant, was a role to lead a team of forensic accountants in the world's largest examinations and qualifications board called Edexcel. Whilst studying in the final year to qualify ACCA, I started to work with a medium sized accountancy firm in North London. This role provided me with an opportunity to learn about various businesses. Few years later, I was called on by my family to join family business in a leading role. Having obtained three accountancy qualifications and sufficient experience in England, I decided it was time to join family business and start a new career.
WSBA: You are well known and respected for your role as MD of the Norwest Novotel but there is more your business life, I am guessing. Can you give us an overview of this?
Shahzad: Other than looking after the Novotel Norwest in my capacity as MD, I look after and together with the team of Gloria Jean's Coffees Pakistan. Together with our partners, we have the master franchise rights to Gloria Jean's in Pakistan. We have reinvented the coffee business in Pakistan and have led GJC to be the largest coffee franchise business in Pakistan. In 2013/14 we won the best Master Franchise award whilst competing against 40 other countries. As a family, we also have stakes in power generation business that I also help manage.
WSBA: If there is a model for business success how would you define it?
Shahzad: There is always a model for success both in life and in business. The one that I believe works best is predominantly based on a team approach. We can't do everything by ourselves. We need a good team to achieve our goals. I believe in recruiting suitable people for each role and allowing them sufficient freedom to show their abilities and in guiding them. Effective delegation, communication and team work will achieve quantifiable targets every time.
WSBA: What are the qualities you are most attracted to in staff, colleagues and business partners?
Shahzad: All businesses have goals. The point to remember is, people also have personal and career goals. I admire people with personal goals because their goals in life motivate them in their careers which results in a much better work rate rather than long hours. Suitable experience and qualification is of course a must but to me, motivation, confidence and commitment are the key attributes for personal success and these are the qualities I look for when I am recruiting for any role.
WSBA: How do you wind down, or maintain sense of balance in your life?
Shahzad: I come from a very large family. I am also fortunate to be able to call many fantastic human beings my friends. My family and friends play a very important role in my life outside working hours. They are my motivation and my aspiration. I interact with them on a very regular basis to de-stress. I am also an avid reader of history and high fantasy. Regular time in the gym helps me maintain energy levels for a packed working day. I am currently training to trek to the base camp of Mount Everest this October with my dear friend James Mills. We are going on this trek to raise funds for children in Nepal and also to challenge ourselves physically and mentally. Such activities help me achieve a sense of balance in life and keeps me invigorated.
WSBA: Please describe your greatest life lesson.
Shahzad: Nothing is too easy or too difficult. We make things easy or difficult for ourselves. The biggest battles in life are the ones we fight with ourselves, not the wider world. To win these battles, to make things easy for ourselves, we must maintain a degree of discipline in life through personal sacrifices, commitment and unwavering pledge to ourselves.
WSBA: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive who would that person be and why?
Shahzad: Ah, it has to be Julius Caesar. The hardships, challenges and obstacles he had to face, while still very young and then to grow to such stature in history and achieve what he did, are absolutely astonishing. The man was a very learned senator, an expert on Roman law, an extraordinarily successful military leader and a highly accomplished ruler and administrator.
WSBA: Your favourite book?
Shahzad: I like many books but nothing beats professor JRR Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings.
WSBA: Your favourite movie?
Shahzad: The Godfather. You knew it didn't you?
WSBA: If you could change one thing about the world today, what would that be?
Shahzad: I would end poverty in the world. I find it disturbing that there is very little we, as human beings are doing to help those who are less fortunate in our world.
WSBA: Thank you Shahzad, for your insights and for being our September TIME WITH guest.