Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Mar-Apr 2019

The Leo within

Taimur Ahmed, a former advertising professional and currently, CEO, Megatech Trackers, in profile.

In Madeleine L’Engle’s words, the great thing about growing older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you have been. In Taimur Ahmed’s case, this is absolutely true. Despite being in his seventy-first year, he retains a boyish charm, best expressed by his sense of humour and joie de vivre. He comes up with funny analogies during the conversation to describe things and is usually the first one to laugh after cracking a joke, and that too, heartily.

A self-made made with no pretences and no airs; as I learned during the course of my conversation with him at his office in PECHS, Karachi.

The CEO of Megatech Trackers, a vehicle tracking company he established in 2007, Ahmed spent a significant number of years working in the advertising industry, during which he successfully launched several products that have become household names.

Grey-haired, grey-bearded, of medium height, wearing an olive suit, he receives me in his spick and span office. I notice a book case adjacent to his desk that has a display of his family’s photographs on every shelf. Right in front of his desk (behind me) is a TV mounted on the wall showing views from different security cameras installed in his office. Throughout our conversation, he often looks at the TV screen; I think it is a habit.

Ahmed was born in Lahore, shortly after his parents migrated from India. He is the third among his siblings, born after two sisters. He has three sisters and two brothers. Soon after his birth, his parents moved to Rawalpindi where his father found employment at the Ministry of Defence. Ahmed began and concluded his studies in Rawalpindi, graduating with a BA in 1971 from Gordon College.

Coming from a modest background, his childhood lacked direction and motivation as his parents were busy earning the bread and butter necessary to run the household. Ahmed says he intensely felt the deprivation that came from the realisation that he was not as well off as the other children he mixed with. This often made him feel isolated and at some point made him a “hard man.”

“I had no ambitions as a kid; I was a lost child.”

This sense of deprivation, however, fuelled his ambition to do something big. As to what would it be, he had no clue. After graduating, he left Rawalpindi, which at that time, seemed more like a village.

“I wanted to get out of that environment and make things better for myself and my family.”

He settled in Lahore, where through the references of a relation, he got his first job at Orient Advertising as a recovery officer: “a tough job.” However, he found the environment very conservative and monotonous. “The place lacked innovative thinking,” and soon he started eyeing Karachi.

He had heard much about the metropolis; its size and the opportunities it offered. He finally asked S.H. Hashmi (his MD at Orient Advertising) to transfer him to Karachi, which he did after a couple of months.


“It was sheer luck; I knew that I didn’t have the capability to work in such a competitive environment. Besides, it didn’t take me long to realise that it would be very difficult for an Urdu-medium guy like me to survive with the English-medium people there.”


“I resolved as soon as I stepped into this city that come what may, I would fight; I was ready to sleep on the floor, stay awake at night but I would work hard.”

His next objective was to land a job at MNJ, the top advertising agency in those days. Fortunately, a cousin knew Javed Jabbar and put in a word for him.

Reminiscing about those days, he says that “two people made a very big contribution to my life; one is Hashmi sahab who gave me the opportunity to work in Karachi and the second is JJ, from whom I learned much.”

Jabbar hired him as a client service executive.

“It was sheer luck; I knew that I didn’t have the capability to work in such a competitive environment. Besides, it didn’t take me long to realise that it would be very difficult for an Urdu-medium guy like me to survive with the English-medium people there,” he says with a chuckle, recalling the names of his then colleagues, which included Shahnoor Ahmed, Saneeya Hussain, Taher A. Khan, Zohra Yusuf and Mariam Ali Baig.

Despite the competitive environment, he managed to survive at MNJ for five to six years, working for multiple consumer brands, such as Mitchell’s and Peek Freans and filming TVCs and films with Jabbar.

“We spent all-nighters editing JJ’s film Beyond The Last Mountain. I remember feeling drowsy at three in the morning and JJ waking me up and telling me to get back to work because working extra would increase my stamina – and he was right!”

It was while working at MNJ that Ahmed got married.

In 1979, Ahmed was working on the Rafhan Energile account and developed a good rapport with their marketing manager, Shahid Iqbal. That year, Iqbal joined National Detergents (now Colgate Palmolive) and on the advice of his colleague Shahnoor (Ahmed), he also applied for a job there. He was interviewed by Sultan Lakhani and became the second person after Iqbal to be hired by the new company.

Ahmed left National Detergents in 1984 when he received an opportunity, which he terms as a turning point in his life. He met a family acquaintance, an engineer who had recently developed DEX 24 (a 24-line telephone exchange).

“You have to understand that in those days, TIP (Telephone Industries of Pakistan) was the only company making telephone exchanges; no one in the private sector manufactured them.”

His acquaintance asked him to join him.

“He wasn’t offering me a job; he wanted me to establish a marketing company for hi-tech products and offered a 25% shareholding in the company. It was a great opportunity although I had no money to set that up.”

Ahmed instead offered his marketing expertise as an investment and this was happily accepted.

“Life took off for me in the truest sense from thereon.”

He established Digital Communications (DC) Marketing. Starting from scratch from a house on Mehmoodabad Road, which soon expanded to over four floors at Fayaz Centre. The product had a lot to do with the success of the business but marketing played an integral part too.


Today, Ahmed is running a successful business. He recently launched a fleet management service aimed at B2B clients which offers a host of features to effectively monitor cars, trucks or any other form of transport.


“We found the right markets and soon we had exchanges all over Pakistan, even the GHQ.”

Next he launched his own company – Megatech Communications – which was a replica of Digital Communications. His company expanded to three offices in Karachi. Then, Musharraff came into power.

“Before Musharraf, the duty on the products we manufactured was 35%. He reduced it to 10% and a lot of new players came into the market. They produced in bulk, whereas we were producing a few hundred a year. There came a point when we could no longer compete.”

Ahmed then decided to venture into the vehicle tracking business and Megatech Communications turned into Megatech Trackers in August 2007.

Today, Ahmed is running a successful business. He recently launched a fleet management service aimed at B2B clients which offers a host of features to effectively monitor cars, trucks or any other form of transport.

Ahmed is a father of four (a daughter and three sons), all educated in the UK and the US.

“I wanted my children to have what I did not; the best education. My children are my assets. I made good money throughout my life but never built a house; I spent every penny I earned on my children.”

Today, one of his (three) sons is pursuing a Ph.D degree in International Business from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, one is working as the Head of Risk Management at HSBC in London and the third has a degree in Marketing from Griffith University, while his daughter, whom he terms “my brightest child”, has an M.Sc from Imperial College, London.

He proudly credits whatever he has achieved to his wife, who he says stood by him through thick and thin and took care of the family while he was busy earning a livelihood.

“I do not just love her. I adore her!” A rare compliment one gets to hear from someone who has been married for over 40 years.

In his spare time, Ahmed enjoys watching TV or listening to Indian music from the seventies. For a man who has worked hard all his life and continues to be actively involved in every aspect of his business, it is difficult for him to contemplate retirement. “I still want to do so much more.”

During our conversation, I noticed that along with the Fitbit band on his left wrist, he wore a leather bracelet with a charm. I asked him whether it was a lucky charm. He said it was his zodiac sign. “I am a Leo.” Etched on that trinket was the face of a lion.