Biography of Ahmed Akbar Sobhan
Founder and Chairman of Bashundhara Group
(15 February 1952 – Present)
Ahmed Akbar Sobhan is a well-known business magnate and philanthropist in Bangladesh. He is the founder of the leading industrial and business conglomerate, Bashundhara Group. Sobhan is known chiefly for his optimistic attitude and courageous business strategies. That’s why he has become one of the most successful entrepreneurs and visionary leaders in the real estate field.
Sobhan is tremendously driven by the vision of building a self-reliant and economically empowered nation. That’s the reason, he always tried to create capable human resources to empower our nation. Moreover, his mission of creating innovation and commitment is considered the key reason for his enormous success.
Life of "Ahmed Akbar Sobhan" At a Glance
Real Name: Ahmed Akbar Sobhan (Shah Alam)
Date of Birth: 15 February 1952
Place of Birth: Bancharampur Upazila, Brahmanbaria, East Bengal (Now Bangladesh)
Father Name: Alhaj Abdus Sobhan
Mother Name: Umme Kulsum
Professions: Chairman of Bashundhara Group
Education: Graduated from the University of Dhaka
Native Language: Bangla
Spouse: Afroza Begum
- ➢ Sayem
- ➢ Shafiat
- ➢ Sadat
- ➢ Safwan
Favorite Hobby: Not Known
Awards and Achievements:
- ➢ Kazi Nazrul Islam Medal (1992)
- ➢ Mawlana Bhashani Jatiyo Padak (1993)
- ➢ President Gold Medal (1994)
- ➢ Orthokontho Banijjo Medel (2001)
- ➢ Janata Bank Prime Customer Award (2002)
- ➢ USA Summit International Award (2002)
- ➢ Business Leadership Award (2007)
- ➢ Bangladesh Cultural Foundation Award (2009)
- ➢ Agrani Bank Best Client Award (2010)
- ➢ Bibekananda Award (2011)
- ➢ Mother Teresa International Canonization Award (2016)
Sobhan was born on 15 February 1952. His birthplace is Bancharampur Upazila, Brahmanbaria, East Bengal, Pakistan (now Bangladesh). He is the youngest son of Abdus Sobhan and Umme Kulsum. His father was a well-known lawyer of Dhaka High Court. he has five siblings (a brother and four sisters). He is the youngest of them.
Sobhan completed his schooling at a local school in Dhaka. He was a very bright student. Then he finished his graduation from Dhaka University in the faculty of Business studies. He was also quite active in co-curricular activities. Besides studies, he was a great hockey player as well.
Sobhan is the chairman of the famous Bashundhara Group. He started his business career in the year of 1978, just after his graduation. At first, he invested in the establishment of its mother company in the fashion of East West Property Development (Pvt) Ltd. Later, he began his business enterprise in the field of commercial trading along with the service sector on the domestic front. After some days, the group became recognized as “Bashundhara Housing”.
His ability to see far ahead brought the company to its highest peak. His utmost dedication, determination, and patience towards his dream made him capable of doing so. That’s how he made his small business run over 40 enterprises covering the majority of all the crucial sectors.
His immense growth in real estate ventures spurred him to step on newer industrial projects like regional, domestic, or international needs. Mainly the project deals are based on paper products and primary construction inputs such as converted energy, cement, petroleum refinery, and liquid petroleum gas. The projects also deal with large scale excavation, maritime transportation, dredging, food and beverage, heavy engineering, mass media, logistics services delivery, aviation, convention facility development for social gatherings, and so on.
These vast projects have made the nation cut off its dependence on imports to a large extent. Besides, in 2005, he became the honorary consul of Ukraine in Bangladesh. For more than 13 years, he served in Dhaka as the Ukrainian Consulate. On 8 June 2018, he resigned from the post due to health conditions. Apart from being one of the largest business conglomerates, he is also the president of the Bangladesh Land Developers Association.
Contributions, Awards and Achievements
Ahmed Akbar Sobhan has even endorsed various development tasks under the coverage of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). He is actively associated with different socio-cultural and humanitarian activities as well. The group has established two welfare foundations. They are working diligently for the betterment of the needy and underprivileged folks of our country. These organizations are living up to the promise of Bashundhara, “For the people, for the country”.
During the pandemic of Corona, Sobhan donated 100 million taka to the office of the Prime Minister to help the country outbreak the situation. In March 2020, he proposed to the Prime Minister to convert four of the Bashundhara Group convention centers into a hospital with 5,000 beds for COVID-19 patients. On 17 May 2020, an event was held at the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB). There, the Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque formally inaugurated the Bashundhara COVID-19 Isolation Hospital.
In December 2013, the Group established its first-ever Bashundhara Eye Hospital and Research Institute. On 5 December 2014, Sobhan officially inaugurated the Hospital. As of 2021, Bashundhara Eye Hospital has served over 10 thousand patients without any cost. They even organized a lot of eye care campaigns throughout the country. Besides, the institute also runs a Zakat fund based on Shariah for Muslims alongside their religious funds.
On Saturday, 20 May 2023, the Bashundhara Group organized one of the largest Quran Noor competitions in the country. The grand opening of the event was based on the final results and held at Hall-4, Navaratri, the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB). After the Islamic conference, the winner of the competition was rewarded with 10 lakh cash and certificates. The winner also got the opportunity to go to Umrah along with his parents. Apart from this, the second one got 7 lakh Tk with a certificate. Consequently, the top eight participants got one lakh Tk. cash prize with certificates. Sobhan himself was present at the event and gave the reward to the winners.
Because of all his outstanding works, he was awarded in and outside the country many times. In 1992, he was honored with the “Kazi Nazrul Islam Medal” for playing a significant role in social development. After two years he achieved the “President Gold Medal” in 1994. In 2002, he was honored with both the “Janata Bank Prime Customer Award” and the “USA Summit International Award”. Thus our country got its recognition for the first time around the world. Consequently, he achieved the “Bangladesh Cultural Foundation Award” in 2009 and the “Agrani Bank Best Client Award” in 2010. In 2016, he was awarded the “Mother Teresa International Award” for the service of social welfare in Bangladesh.
Ahmed Akbar Sobhan has tied the knot with Afroza Begum. The couple is blessed with four sons. They are Sadat Sobhan, Shafiat Sobhan, Sayem Sobhan, and Safwan Sobhan. All of them have incredibly excelled in their career and made their father proud.
Later, one of his sons Sayem Sobhan Anvir became the Managing Director of the Bashundhara Group. Besides, all of his sons have become absolutely capable of matching their shoulders with their father. Now, Sobhan and his four sons are managing the whole business, excelling the Bashundhara Group ahead.
Even having such a majestic and successful business career, Sobhan was not spared from controversies. In 2006, two reports were published against his group and he sued “Jugantor”. After that year, Sobhan, his wife, and 4 sons were charged with tax evasion and sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment.
During the Bangladeshi political crisis from 2006 to 2008, he handed over the power of attorney for Bashundhara Group to a committee of nine members while he was absconding in London along with his family. During the occupancy of this committee, the Group paid over Tk. 220 crore to the government as compensation for escaping earlier taxes. Despite his opposition, the move was taken and retailed by withdrawing the power of attorney of the nine-member committee for 4 officials.
Moreover, the Sobhan family was also charged with amassing wealth worth around Tk. 107 crore without any known sources of income. They were even charged with amassing about Tk. 606.66 crore illegally while concealing information about Tk. 14.17 crore as well. The charge sheet for the case confirmed that nearly Tk. 500 crore was whitened by the Sobhan family.
After three years, he signed a deal providing 45 million takas to the Bangladesh Football Federation for the betterment of district level football on 19 April 2009. As a consequence, on 23 April 2009, he showed his interest in building two stadiums for the Bangladesh Football Federation. However, as the promised sites were situated on protected wetlands, RAJUK was critical of the proposal.
After that year, on 4 March 2010, he filed a defamation suit hostile to “Prothom Alo” as the newspaper had published two reports in 2009. In the same year, he faced a confrontational meeting with the state minister of housing and public works, Abdul Mannan Khan on a detailed area plan by RAJUK. Ensuring that meeting, RAJUK ordered several structures for demolition owned by the Bashundhara Group next week.
On 15 May 2010, he faced legal action against the government for the Mouchak City Project of Bashundhara Group. Md Mukhlesur Rahman Khan, an assistant land officer of Shafipur Union, filed two cases against Sobhan and five others. They were accused of grabbing government land, illegally lifting soil, and intimidating government officials during the construction of the Mouchak City Project.
In December 2012, a case was filed accusing Sobhan, his son Sanvir, and other 2 company officials of misappropriating about Tk. 40 crore from a businessman. The chairman of a spinning mill (the plaintiff) filed a case accusing that he was owed 3 plots from East West Property Development Ltd. On 11 August 2014, Sobhan and his son were accused in the case by Judge Erfan Ullah of the three plots.
In 2014, news was published against the Jamuna Group in a newspaper owned by the Bashundhara Group. On 26 February 2014, Mahfuz Alam, Natore District Correspondent, owned by Jamuna Group sued Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, Naem Nizam, and Imdadul Haq Milon claiming false acquisition.
In 2020, Sobhan intervened to stop Star Cineplex as the Cineplex faced hardship paying rent. He even oversaw the launch of a bitumen plant by Bashundhara Oil and Gas Company in the same year.
Sobhan’s incredible business strategies and immense success have made him one of the top business magnets in our country. He not just uplifted his business, rather he helped to employ a workforce of more than 50 thousand people and thus sustained the livelihoods of half a million people behind the crew.
Moreover, the group contributes a decent amount to the national exchequer through VAT each year. In fact, in this regard, the Bashundhara group is one of the highest payers of tax in the country which plays a vital role in the national economy.
In both the field of social and commercial, Sobhan has made an outstanding contribution. All of his noble works for the betterment of society have made him recognized as such a humble man.
Ahmed Akbar Sobhan is one of the most recognized businessmen in Bangladesh. His determined aim, untiring efforts, and absolute integrity have made him such a successful businessman and the father of the giant business. For more than 30 years, this incredible business personality has built such an aura in the corporate sector. That’s why, whenever it comes to the corporate sector, Ahmed Akbar Sobhan is an unforgettable name.