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Board of Directors

Viraaj Kantilal Lad - CEO/ Executive Director

Viraaj is the fourth generation to the family line. He was, like most members of his family members, very involved with the business at a young age leading into his university studies. He completed his Degree in Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Financial Management & Information Systems (Double Majors). He started his career as an accounting tutor at University of the South Pacific after which he joined an International Insurance Broking firm where his last role was a Manager.

In April, 2004 he officially joined his family business as Operations Manager. To further enhance his knowledge in business management he undertook and completed Masters of Business Administration (MBA) studies on a part time basis while working. He now serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and manages the daily affairs of the Company based at the Head Office in Ba. He also serves as Executive Director and Company Secretary for Bhikhabhai Group of Companies. Viraaj has contributed greatly to the growth of business by strengthening businesses structure, processes and tools using modern management techniques. Together with his cousin brother Jayesh, they opened Bhikhabhai's first shops outside of Ba in Nadi (2009), in Suva (2012) and in Lautoka (2017) after over 80 years of business existence.

He oversees sales & marketing, business operations, finance, human resources, legal, risk management and assists the Board in preparing strategic & succession planning. Under his leadership since joining, total revenue earned and gross profit margin had doubled with number of employees growth by 3 folds. He is married with 3 children, has a keen interest in yoga, meditation, community projects/events and enjoys time with his family.

Jayesh Lad - Executive Director

Jayesh is also the fourth generation and first cousin to Viraaj. He too grew up learning the traits of the business from ground up. He completed Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Auckland after which he worked as a Test Engineer, Electronics Engineer and late Embedded Software Developer over a span of 7 years in New Zealand. He joined the family business in September 2006. The expertise he brings with him includes engineering, project management and I.T, software programming, creative designing and research & development.

He has overseen the successful implementation of the retails arm's first point of sale system, implementation and maintenance of  I.T infrastructure (server setup) for Bhikhabhai Group and introduction of manufacturing automation machines at Bhikhabhai. He was part of the management team that brought modern business practices using sustainable, transparent & accountable business model. He now serves as the  Executive Director and manages Bhikhabhai Groups IT requirements, overseeing all aspects of manufacturing & quality control. Together with his cousin brother Viraaj, they opened Bhikhabhai's first shops outside of Ba in Nadi (2009), in Suva (2012) and in Lautoka (2017) after over 80 years of business existence.

He was responsible for manufacturing process re-engineering and this resulted in the production output and capacity to increase by 3 folds allowing the Company to expand. Jayesh is very involved with the Ba Gujarat Education Society & volunteers as a board member & I.T Manager for A. D Patel College, Tagore Memorial Primary School & its pre-school. He is a former student of this institute and is his way of giving back to the community. He is married with two children and has keen interest in mountain biking, outdoor activities, traveling, learning new business and engineering concepts and photography.

Hemant Lad - Board Chairman & Non Executive Director

Hemant is the third generation to the family line. He was, like most members of the family, very involved with the business at a young age and served as Operations Manager for Swits-Snax (Fiji) Pte Limited (part of Bhikhabhai Group) for 3 years before migrating to New Zealand in 1995.

He completed his Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Production) in 1988 and in 1997 he completed his Diploma in Business studies both from Auckland University. He was employed at an international restaurant food chain where is travelled extensively to explore to open new outlets, develop new products & menu and set up franchise systems. His last role was Operations Development Consultant. In the year 2004, he joined financial services industry as an Mike Pero Mortgages Franchise owner and attained a level 5 certification as Accredited Financial Advisor in New Zealand. Hemant currently consults in the food and dairy industry focusing on value add products and ghost kitchen concepts.

Hemant served as Board Chairman & Non Executive Director or Bhikhabhai Group of Companies from 2012 to 2017 and in 2021 he was re-appointed in the same role. Other than a very strong passion for his family business, Hemant brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of over 35 years having worked in New Zealand and abroad in the fields of operations management, financial planning and management, legal structures, strategic planning and risk management. He is a member of Institute of Directors in New Zealand closely follows international financial markets (currency and commodity), banking (lending), property market, taxation systems, economic indicators and its impact on  global liquidity.

He is also involved in non-profit governance work and is currently serves as a Board Member/Vice Chairman at Allergy New Zealand.

Hemant volunteers with The Art of Living International Center & is actively looks into volunteering opportunities that involve pro-bono consulting that allows him to offer his skills & expertise. Further he volunteers as a helping hand at Auckland City Mission.

He cares about economic empowerment, children, education, health well-being and civil rights.