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An Exclusive Conversation with Founder & Chairman, Harry Gandhi

For over 30 years, Himanshu Gandhi, fondly known as Harry, has guided Unique Group with a visionary zeal that transformed a modest startup into a global industry leader. As Chairman, his unwavering commitment has expanded the company’s footprint across continents, while his deep-rooted values have inspired initiatives that reach far beyond business. Join us in an exclusive interview as we explore the legacy of Harry’s 30-year journey—a saga of innovation, perseverance, and a lasting impact on the subsea and maritime domain.

How did it all start?
My UAE story started in 1986 when I moved here from Singapore. The Middle East represented the perfect place to set up an organization. Hence, in 1993, I decided to establish my own company, this is when Unique Group was created. We started as a small company with less than 10 people. The focus at the time was to build an electronic equipment company catering to the wider subsea industry with a major focus on Oil & Gas.

We started building the business in the Middle East, as we grew over time and became more successful, we started expanding to other global markets implementing the same business model.

What was your motivation to found Unique?
My motivation to found Unique Group was driven by the desire to create a well-rounded service organization in the UAE and the Middle East. I envisioned a company that would stand out for its commitment to excellence, innovative products, and long-term client relationships. My dream was to establish a business that would not only succeed but also make a positive impact in the industry and the region. I wanted to bring together a team of like-minded individuals who shared the same passion for providing exceptional service and who would work together to turn this vision into a reality.

Tell us some difficulties you have faced along the way?
Undoubtedly, there were challenges along the way. We navigated the complexities of regional legislations and regulations, ensuring compliance and maintaining a knowledgeable team to support operations across multiple countries. Finding the right talent was another hurdle, but through investment, acquisitions, training, and fostering a positive work culture, Unique Group attracted top talent and ensured a commitment to quality and technical expertise.

What kept you going during times of crisis?
During challenging times such as during the COVID pandemic, what kept me going was the unwavering support of my team and the belief in our collective vision. The dedication and loyalty of our employees, who I consider part of the Unique family, served as a constant source of strength. We faced obstacles and hurdles along the way, but the resilience and determination of our team helped us overcome them and emerge stronger.

You have met a lot of people along the way. What would you like to tell them?
A special appreciation goes to Mr. Barry Evans from CCC and Majed Abu Shaker from NPCC, whose instrumental roles helped kickstart the incredible journey of Unique Group. Richard Eldridge, our esteemed partner and chairman, whose guidance and commitment have been the bedrock of our achievements. John Allison, our partner for Wellube, whose collaboration and dedication have been instrumental in our shared successes.

Our strong partnership with Kongsberg, since the inception of Unique Group, has been a testament to the strength of the alliances we’ve built within our extended family. Vipul Gandhi, my esteemed brother and an inseparable companion in this entrepreneurial odyssey, has been the cornerstone of our success story.
To our clients and partners, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering belief in Unique Group. Your trust in our services and products has been the driving force behind our success.
To our colleagues, especially those who have been with us since the very beginning, I want to extend my sincere thanks for being an integral part of Unique Group’s journey. Your dedication and hard work have been invaluable, and you have played a significant role in our growth and success. You make Unique Group truly “unique”.

Very importantly, I also want to give special recognition to those who have stood by me through thick and thin – my wife, my family, and our loved ones. Your unwavering belief in me has been the anchor that keeps me grounded and the driving force behind my aspirations.

What are you proud of today?
One of my proudest moments was witnessing the company’s expansion into new markets and geographies. Seeing our products and services make a significant impact in the industry brought immense satisfaction. Additionally, successfully integrating acquired companies and developing innovative products that shaped the industry were also notable highlights. Each of these milestones reinforced our commitment to our vision and showed that we were on the right path.
Another point, I am proud of is our “people culture”. We have a family-like culture here at Unique Group. We had a shared vision when we started as a small company with less than 10 people; therefore, the relationships are very close. We have many colleagues in the organization who have been with us for 20, even 30 years. Loyalty is incredibly important to us; we do the best we can to take care of our people and their families and that’s what has fueled our growth.

You retired earlier this year from your role as CEO, what is next for you?
Retiring from my role as CEO marked the end of an incredible chapter in my life. You will probably see me a bit more at the Golf course from now on (laughs).
My passion for innovation and the industry remains undiminished. While I may step back from the day-to-day operations of Unique Group, I will continue to stay involved in an advisory capacity and contribute my insights and experiences whenever needed.

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