- Dawood is a vice chairman of Engro which makes fertilizers, food and energy, as well as the Dawood Hercules Corporation, which makes chemicals.
A British Pakistani billionaire and his teenage son are among the five people who died on board the submersible, Titan, that disappeared on June 18. The passengers were headed to view the wreckage of the Titanic, 12,500ft beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son, Suleman Dawood, 19, were “on a journey to visit the remnants of the Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean,” the family said in a statement sent to media outlets. “We are very grateful for the concern being shown by our colleagues and friends and would like to request everyone to pray for their safety while granting the family privacy at this time,” the statement added before the news of the tragedy was revealed. “The family is well-looked after and are praying to Allah for the safe return of their family members.”
Dawood senior lives in Surbiton, south-west London, with his wife Christine, who works as a life coach, and their children, Suleman and Alina, according to the Surrey Comet. He was born in Pakistan but moved to the UK where he studied law at the University of Buckingham, and later studied for a master’s degree in textile marketing at the University of Philadelphia.
He belongs to a prominent Pakistan family, with their firm, the Dawood Hercules Corporation, investing across the country in agriculture, industries and the health sector. He is a vice chairman of Engro which makes fertilizers, food and energy, as well as the Dawood Hercules Corporation, which makes chemicals. He joined the Board of Engro Corporation in 2003, and has “over two decades of experience in corporate governance and the transformation of industries, including growth and innovation opportunities through mergers and acquisitions of diversified public-listed companies across textiles, fertilizers, foods, and energy,” according to his bio on the World Economic Forum website. “A leading voice in the institutionalization of key international networks and contacts, he aspires to a sustainable future and believes in inclusive business models involving low-income communities building value chains along business interests,” the profile adds.
He also serves as a trustee on the boards of both Engro Foundation and The Dawood Foundation, as well as part of the Founder’s Circle of The British Asian Trust as well. In addition, he is a member of the Global Advisory Board, King Charles III’s charity set up in 1976 to help disadvantaged young people. His father, Hussain, 79, currently chairman of the Dawood Hercules Corporation, was one of the charity’s founding patrons. The King is reportedly “keeping a close eye on the missing submersible,” The Daily Beast reported, citing royal sources.
In December 2020, Shahzada Dawood also joined the Board of Trustees of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence or SETI, the California-based research institute. He serves as director across boards of various industries, including investment holdings like Dawood Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, Dawood Hercules Corporation Ltd, and Patek (Pvt) Ltd.
“We are shocked by this awful news, praying for a rescue and sending our thoughts to his family during this deeply challenging time,” Will Straw, the chief executive of Prince’s Trust International, said in a statement. In a Facebook post, the Engro Corporation said it is “in prayer” for the “swift and safe return” of its vice chairman and his son. The company said Shahzada Dawood’s interests include photography, especially wildlife photography, and exploring different natural habitats, while his son “a big fan of science fiction literature, plays volleyball and takes a keen interest in solving Rubik’s Cubes.”
Other members on board the craft, NBC News reported, include French diver Paul-Henry Nargeolet, who has decades of experience exploring the Titanic. A fifth person has only been identified as the vessel’s pilot. The U.S. Coast Guard is running the search and rescue operation, in close collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard.
According to OceanGate Expeditions, which runs the expedition, tickets for the 5-person submarine cost $250,000 a seat. It said on its website that “the expedition hoped to study the ship’s decay.”