Each weekday morning for two years I registered Rami’s form (4T then 5T) and on most of those days I also taught the class English. This amount of contact time, especially at the formative age of 15/16 years, gave us all a strong connection and the sense of being a family unit. They were a boisterous bunch, as you’d imagine, full of vitality and a sense of fun (as well, of course, of intellectual curiosity) and this spirit is captured in a photograph of the form which I took on our last day together. In my last email to Rami, just weeks before his sudden passing, I attached a copy of this photo as a nostalgic memento of happy days some 20 years ago. His reply was a single word, ‘Amazing!’
As a Dulwich school boy, Rami embodied many of the qualities which were so apparent when I had the good fortune to meet up with him by chance many years after he’d left school; modesty and charm, courtesy and wit and above all a sense of ‘still waters running deep’. My chance encounter with Rami around ten years ago was in a street in Beirut; I caught a glimpse of him as his car drove off from outside my hotel and I managed to contact him through another former Dulwich pupil whose family were showing me the city. We met up and drank mint tea, and I was struck by the warmth of his welcome and the wisdom beyond his years which seemed to lie within. I remember the beads which he held, and moved, as we spoke and I recall that, beyond the anecdotes which we shared, a sense emerged of his personal vision.
We kept in touch, exchanging emails from time to time, and we next met in Dubai. Rami spoke with great passion of a leadership programme with which he was involved and of the developments which he’d been able to make in the family business he was now heading up. We also compared notes on our daughters, who are of a similar age, and looked forward to them having the chance to get to know each other. I still hope, one day, they will. As I checked out of the hotel at the end of my stay I was informed that the bill had been taken care of – Rami’s generosity was, true to his style, deftly and discreetly managed.
The photograph which I sent to Rami now forms part of his website, another piece in a jigsaw which, little by little, is coming together to form the portrait of a great man; a credit to his old school, his family and his people.
Today morning ( 15 sept ) I realized something . I realized that my dad is in a better place now so I should be proud of him . And I want to say thank u everyone for leaving a comment . Love:May
Rami was my son, my friend and my soul mate. He was our mentor who only saw the good nature of human beings and he dealt with people accordingly. He had a vision and forward looking strategy to build a better and a more efficient world. Rami received his Bachelors of Science in Business Studies from the University of Buckingham in 1998 and in 2003, achieved the Young Professional Program Executive Diploma from the London Business School. In January 1999 he assumed the role of Group Vice-President, Business Development for Future Pipe Industries. In 2001, he became the Chief Operating Officer of the company until October 2003 when he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer. Rami led the drive to change the organization from within by launching a group-wide restructuring effort known as “The Evolution and Revolution” Strategic Initiatives. As leader, he managed to expand the business into new segments and territories, and more than tripled the sales of the group, whilst growing the bottom line at even higher rates, by virtue of his migration of the Group into a Global Operating Model, and the application of innovative management techniques. He was awarded in April 2011 the Master class CEO of the Year award.
He held a lifetime membership to the Institute of Directors UK and was a member of the Arab-Deutsche Chamber of Commerce, the International Desalination Association, and the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, Rami served as a Regional Board Member of the Young Arab Leaders and was also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization. Rami was a featured speaker at numerous Family Business Forums, Regional Leadership conferences, as well as on Socio-Economic based programs. In addition to his business posts he was also the Vice-President of the Makhzoumi Foundation, a philanthropic organization, based in Lebanon, which through its vocational, micro-credit, health and awareness programs has seen over 300’000 beneficiaries.
Almighty God has blessed us by keeping Rami with us for 33 years where he achieved all what he has planned to do which more than the majority of people can achieve in a lifetime. God Almighty has decided to take him to his side at 14:30 on 23 April 2011. Rami was an Angel and he is in a better place looking at us. May God bless his soul and let’s all pray for him.
Fouad Makhzoumi, father of Rami
Where would I start? Rami my baby or Rami my young child? Rami my teenager or Rami my young man?
He left me with abundance of memories in every stage of his life… Rami was born in Riyadh Saudi Arabia, he opened his eyes and was surrounded by loving family members who were excited about his arrival… There a budding friendship started with Karim Farra, my cousin and kept nourishing till he parted. He was such a lovely happy baby, gurgling like a canary, I still have his recording!!! I even said if I have 40 babies like him I would not mind. I enjoyed his company and talked with him all the time, my mum used to ask me what do you say to him? He is listening to you, but does he pick up??? Frankly I don’t know, but he always looked at me with interest, holding my hand —- Whatever it was we bonded strongly and this bond grew stronger with time, we were very close , he grew up to be my best friend, he grew wiser with years , experience and education refined his views…his judgment with family issues was always sought after.
When we moved to London he was only 3 years old… joined Hill House International School, where his personality was molded, mixing with people from many nationalities, learning music, joining the choir, sports teams and travelling to Switzerland to study and have a feel of boarding life with his classmates…there he grew up to respect people from different faiths and learned about all religions.. Most important thing about Hill House is the friendships that started there and grew with him. His best man and closest friend Saif Alwan and later work colleague, Mustapha Al Rawi and many others that I don’t want to miss any… at 12-13 years many parted ways to different schools, Rami and 12 others went to Dulwich, Saif ,Mustapha and others went to St Paul’s… but their friendship was not affected but it grew stronger… I have endless stories, of the boys staying over in London, their first day camps, first sports day, first X-mass choir and most fun their first Ball, where they all got their suits and were well groomed ready for the adventure… Many weekend at the country house in Kent. Spaghetti, Tacos, fish fingers, hamburgers, were some of their favorites. Swimming, playing basket ball, tennis, football, riding bikes it was an enjoyment to watch them and spend time with the gang… When they became teenagers, they started going alone not wanting adult supervision, cooking for themselves and leaving the kitchen a bombshell of tomato sauce everywhere…!!! Rami’s birthdays were fun, as it was Halloween and the themes were quiet challenging every year but who will forget his 21st birthday when he had the Scottish kilt!! …. Well the boys grew up, but I still saw them, for Rami they were his brothers, and he was generous with his time, games and clothes, the boys will know!!!
So many adventures in those teen years, and Rami wanted to discover everything, he was not very happy with me being strict or trying to monitor him, there were times of course school did not mean much, but he sailed through and got his A levels and went to Buckingham University and got his BA with honor in two years…
At his 18th birthday he wrote me a note to thank me for bringing him up and looking after him in the way I did, though at times he thought that I & his dad are trying to be very domineering, but now he realized it was to his benefit and he was grateful that we are his parent.
He left Buckingham a mature man, though he decided to go wild before starting work, as he told me (mum I will not be able to do any crazy stuff once I start work), so he came home having a zebra design hairstyle!!! I am sure the boys remember the leopard style too!!
Time was due for Rami to leave to Dubai to start working… I missed him terribly, but at that time, internet and web cam were out, so we could communicate, see each other and he would show me his office and what changes he did in the house… He wanted to indulge in all aspect related to the pipe business from factory upward… First thing he did when he got his first salary was buy me a gold necklace with Allah carved with diamante and same but smaller size for his sisters… He thought of us, that meant a lot… work took him away from us, but we kept in touch… and he found a refuge in religion, he began to learn more about Islam, go to the mosque, fast Ramadan and became a different man, he was still cracking jokes and enjoying life, but was committed to his rituals… I was blessed that he asked permission from his father to take me to Hajj in 2000. It was such a great experience, at the time he told me “we are going to go in a normal group, we need to be down to earth and struggle in Hajj as we will have more Ajer”,… and we did… it was such a lovely experience, to be with him in Makah, to be with him in Arafah repenting for all past deeds, to be with him in Madinah visiting the prophet’s resting place, I could not have asked for more… I cherished every moment and I still do…
Later in 2001 we celebrated our 25th anniversary, and Rami surprised us with a film production about us and he went into the trouble of going to three countries to take interviews with family members and friends… He left us with a beautiful memory and made us cry as we watched.
He married, became a father, and what a great father he was, three girls that were his treasure, he loved them to bits, they were his life, and they meant everything to him. He had dreams for their future, he wanted them to be disciplined, and wanted them to be responsible and proud to be Makhzoumi’… His father few years back, had assigned a historian to write about the origin of the family and its history and the prominent people along the years.. Rami took this to a different level, and he again produced a great documentary which includes history with maps and old films, interviews with family members and he even included the children, history of the FPI and how Fouad started it, and part about the Foundation.
He even requested all our albums, and scanned all pictures we had so we could have a digital recording of them, so a later we can produce a family book… I promise you Rami we will do that!
For every trip his family took; he printed a book with all the photos from that trip, keeping the memories alive… It is somehow as if he knew he was leaving us soon!!!! for he did for us what nobody thought of doing before. He did for his kids a lot, guided them along, got them into the modern technology in all aspects, took them to faraway places , showed them the world, always telling me I want to spend time as much time as I can with them.. I want to have balance in my life, give priorities to my family and give it as much time as I give work …..
He was a special person, everything about him was unique, his taste in clothes, in furniture, in music, in art work, he had a special look at life, enjoy it to the best but live it with faith & respect…. Everybody who met him even once felt something different, people respected him, admired him, simply loved him…family, friends, colleagues, employees he touched their hearts. He was a good man and will be remembered too for his good deeds…
Finally he moved his family to live in Beirut, finally all the family was reunited, us, our daughters and him… Finally the siblings were able to do things together, they all matured and began understanding each other better than any other time… couple of year’s back he told me I regret that I did not spend time with my sisters as they were growing, I was at university, then work, we lived apart, but I want to compensate for that…. well he did this year and was looking forward for days to come to spend it all together. Me too I was looking forward to such times, but Alas he left us too soon. Yes we are all together but he is over looking at us , joining us in everything we do, he is living with every breath , with every tear, with every smile, he is living in our hearts in our mind, he will be present always…..
Love you Rami, will always do…
It is very hard to know where to start with this given the countless stories and happy memories that relate to Rami….
My friendship with Rami started one fateful day in McDonalds on High Street Kensington (of all places!!) when I was 14. He actually approached me at the counter completely out of the blue and mentioned that he had attended my sister’s wedding the week before – he asked me how she was doing and to send her his best wishes. I remember vividly how I was instantly struck by Rami’s warmth and it is no surprise that we quickly became the best of friends, a friendship that lasted for more than 20 years.
For the next 7 years we were virtually inseparable, with Rami’s apartment (the legendary 47A Cheniston Gardens) becoming the ‘group’s’ headquarters and the scene of much laughter and mischief. Rami really was the architect of ‘our group’ as we know it today – none of us really knew each other and it was he who brought us together.
He was the glue that kept us all together and was consistently the pivotal figure in all we did, a result of the affection that everyone held him in. He was always positive, so genuine, absolutely hilarious and generous to a fault. He also had this incredible ability to relate to each of us individually even though many of us possessed contrasting characters- this was a trait that served him incredibly well in his later years as a highly successful businessman.
Of course, generosity was Rami’s forte, both materially and emotionally. I remember countless occasions when one of us would comment positively on a new CD or an item of clothing he had just bought- he would literally INSIST on you taking it and wouldn’t take ‘no’ as an answer. Or when any of us would have a problem, he would put aside all of his worries and problems and concentrate solely on solving your issue. This was an extraordinary characteristic that would remain with him throughout his life.
His eccentricity was also something that naturally drew people to him. His dress sense throughout his life was, let’s just say, original! Who could ever forget his incredibly loud Versace waist coats or his bright red/yellow cashmere long coats??! The crème de la crème for me was his 18th birthday party at Annabels when he turned up wearing a Scottish kilt, sporting a shaved leopard print head! Very few could get away with it but Rami was most certainly one of those who could. He was a rare breed whichever way you look at it….
Memories of holidays in Beirut and Monaco, nights out at L’Equipe and Iceni, weekends at his country house or just hanging out wherever, instantly make me smile and of course Rami was the central character in amongst it all.
In short, those years were easily the most memorable of my life, despite the fact that most of them were literally spent in his apartment! I think if you were to ask any of the boys, they would probably agree and would add that they have never laughed so much or so hard as we did in those years.
When Rami got married and moved to Dubai, we lost touch for several years, which was natural as he was starting a new life both personally and professionally.
It was a good 5 or 6 years before our paths crossed again. At that time, I called him up to tell him that I was about to make the move to Dubai and said that I was looking forward to seeing him. He instantly wanted to know about my accommodation arrangements to which I responded by saying that I was struggling to find a place. Within 24 hours, he called me back to offer me one of the company apartments to stay in until I had found a more permanent place. I was incredibly grateful to him but not in the least bit surprised by the generosity of his offer.
Over the next 5 or 6 years, we became very close again but it was a different Rami. Whilst most of us had continued to fool around in London in the preceding years, he had developed into an incredibly impressive young man, becoming CEO of a major infrastructure company and a highly respected member of the UAE business community. Here was a responsible, mature family man with 3 wonderful kids, a man of unwavering faith and religion who was now living his life responsibly and selflessly. His generosity and humility, though, did not change- in fact, they became even more pronounced as he became older.
It was 3 years later that Rami’s company, Future Pipe, decided to IPO, and Deutsche, the bank I was working for, won the mandate to sell the stake to the public. I was overjoyed and couldn’t wait to work on the sales process which meant travelling with Rami and the rest of his team around the World in order to meet prospective stakeholders.
Of course travelling around the World had to be done in style, and in true Rami fashion, he hired a private jet to take us around Europe and the US! I will never forget those 2 weeks – despite being incredibly intense and challenging, we had the time of our lives.
I’ll never forget how proud I was of him at the time- here was one of my oldest friends presenting in front of some of the most powerful money men in the World. And the reaction was universal and incredibly positive. In fact, one of our largest clients in New York actually called me up to say that in all his years ‘ he had never met a more impressive CEO than Rami’, words that will always remain with me forever….
It was all to end in heartache though as the IPO failed to materialise- our timing was unfortunate given the global downturn. It was a cruel blow after weeks and months of incredibly hard work, especially for Rami who had put everything into this. I was personally devastated and felt responsible given I was part of the sales process.
On the flight back from New York, I was at the back of the plane staring into thin air and literally feeling like the World had ended. Rami came to sit next to me and saw the pain on my face and began to console me. Here was the CEO of the company, who had his own much bigger issues to deal with, consoling me!! I simply couldn’t believe it but I shouldn’t have been surprised because that was Rami through and through….
Fast forward 4 years and we found ourselves in South of France on the Big Mak – a holiday that I will never forget. They were 10 days that proved to be highly significant as Rami and Chiara were brought together on a fateful night in Jimmy’s of all places! The spark between the two of them was instantly obvious, and when she cut her foot on a stray piece of glass later that evening, it was Rami that nursed her and made sure she was ok. Chiara clearly couldn’t believe that a complete stranger could show so much affection, but for us, it was no surprise at all. That was so typical of Rami ….
Six months later and Rami and Chiara would tie the knot which led to the happiest period of Rami’s life. To say that he was floating on air would do an injustice to the almost euphoric state he was in. Most people in this World will never be lucky enough to feel what Rami felt in those months, and although it was a cruelly short space of time, we must take comfort in the fact that he left us at his happiest…..
I am just so grateful to have known this special person whose sole mission on Earth seems to have been to bring joy and happiness to all he touched. Rami’s passing has left a massive void in my life – I have lost one of my oldest friends, a soul mate, a huge source of inspiration, a brother. I have lost someone who I looked up to for all he achieved in such a short space of time. And above all, I have lost someone who I simply loved for being him, a unique and gentle soul who was larger than life.
It is true what they say- ‘the good ones go young’. And I feel comfort in the knowledge that he is in a far better place right now smiling down on us… RIP Habibi Rami….
Hi, I am Rami Makhzoumi’s nephew. I am young but old enough to understand. I was there at his funeral, holding his coffin and praying to him. I was there through it all. I learned that even tho I may be a kid, I can do a lot for the ones I love. As I did that funeral, I noticed I can never be afraid of anything else. Death is not something to fear. I think Rami learned that. Death is nothing to life. It’s just a new world. I think Rami belongs there in a better place with God. RIP I love you Umo Rami.
Dear Fouad and May,
I have been thinking much about Rami, your distinguished son. May he rest in peace and may his memory be for a blessing. With condolences, I would like to offer words.
As was evident upon first meeting him, Rami was educated well in the arts, literature and culture, as well as in business through his post graduate degree, which I suspect was awarded with distinction. Rami absorbed his education, making him worldly and insightful.
His strong family background added to his foundation for powerful vision. As you know, my association with Rami was principally regarding business. There I saw his vast abilities to take in the complex structure and commercial aspects of a large, multifaceted business organization, and see its operations from different perspectives. I saw insightful capabilities to comprehend the challenges of persuading people to accept new ways of seeing and doing things. I heard a sensitive voice from a perceptive man urge people to do more and be more, first with “evolution” and then with “revolution.” And I saw a powerful drive to add to his father and mother’s vast accomplishments while also striking out to define his own accomplishments, in new lines of business, new approaches to charitable and cultural endeavors, and by participating in global organizations devoted to young business presidents and Arab leadership.
Yet, while Rami’s business achievements and leadership capacities in business and international relations are vast (after all, he is his father’s son), my strongest impressions of Rami arise from other characteristics. I remember and admire him:
– For the reasonableness he brought to business relationships, recognizing that commerce often prospers best in an environment of mutual respect;
– For the fairness he brought to employment relationships, recognizing that people do their best when treated respectfully (Rami spoke to employees as colleagues);
– For his openness in obtaining assistance from wise and experienced thought leaders about how to motivate and derive the best from the people around him;
– For his ability to develop friendships even among people who worked for him, while advancing his duties to the business;
– For his ability to complement his father’s skills and attributes, adding yet more strength to the Makhzoumi family’s vast capabilities and scope;
– For his strong commitments to family, name, history, and his people;
– For his strong commitment to faith and observance, for his recognition that his example would influence many others, and for his challenge to others to be ever more committed to faith;
– For the sheer pleasure of dining and shopping in New York with a young man, enjoying his fine sense of humor and joie de vivre. Rami knew how to enjoy what there was to enjoy.
Indeed Rami is with us. His light will continue to shine, illuminating much for us.
Arnold B. Podgorsky