To Dubai for today’s Sovereign Story where we meet Prakash Naik. This is the first story featuring a colleague from Pro Partner Group (PPG), the Middle East business acquired by Sovereign last year in its most sizeable acquisition to date. Prakash has been involved with PPG from the outset and is its Head of Finance.

Born on New Year’s Eve 1978 and raised in Goa, southern India, Prakash graduated from the local university in 1999 with a B.COM degree in financial accounting, auditing and taxation. His first job was as an accounts clerk with a pharma group involved in wholesale distribution.

Taking a further diploma in computer studies, Prakash’s career continued in India until mid 2004. His uncle had been based in the UAE for some time and, after some persuasion, Prakash joined him living initially in Ajman. One of the lesser-known emirates it appeared similar in some ways to Goa, Prakash recalls. At the time, he preferred it to other, busier emirates such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Prakash remembers in those early days rising at 5 a.m., before the heat of the day became too intense in order to play a game of cricket. His first job in the UAE was working with a firm involved in the distribution of Kodak products across the Middle East. We asked if he had gone on to develop a love of photography. Prakash smiles and admitted that whilst he bought a new camera at the time, he never really fell in love with taking pictures.

A friend introduced him to Jane Ashford who worked at the Links Group, a firm that features in the stories of a number of Sovereign employees. Joining Links, Prakash moved to Doha where he worked in their Qatar office. In 2007, the country was less developed than today and indeed tended to remind Prakash of Ajman at the time. Things have changed greatly since then.

Fast forward to 2011, and Jane established her own business – Pro Partner Group (or PPG for short). Prakash moved across and continued to work with Jane until 2015 in Qatar, growing professionally all the time under her tutelage. At the start, the staff numbered around half a dozen so it was a steep learning curve for all involved.

For around five months in 2015, he was able to work remotely from his family base in Goa but returned to the Middle East in October 2015 settling in Dubai. He has been PPG’s Head of Finance since then.

Today Prakash manages a team of four also controlling the finance function at PPG’s offices in Qatar, Oman and Abu Dhabi as well as getting involved in the Saudi Arabia operation jointly established with Sovereign as part of the acquisition just over a year ago.

In early 2023, the Dubai PPG and Sovereign teams combined into one location. In time, Prakash says, the two businesses will be streamlined further where this is advantageous to the overall business. He views the acquisition of PPG by Sovereign as extremely positive. He points out that the majority of PPG staff is still in place, which is a very good sign and he feels that the exciting times are just beginning for all concerned.

Away from work, Prakash is a devoted family man. Married since 2009 to Shweta, who also hails from Goa, the couple are proud parents to twelve-year-old son Arnav and daughter Aarvi who is almost five.

When not occupied with family duties, Prakash continues to be a passionate cricket fan. He admits that since marriage he has not “really played the game that much” preferring instead to follow it all on his most visited channel, ESPN’s CricInfo. Another passion is Carrom, a tabletop game of Indian origin. Again, he says he does not find that much free time to indulge in the game these days.

Having been brought up in Goa, known to tourists worldwide for its excellent resorts it is not surprising that Prakash and his family enjoy Dubai’s beautiful clean beaches as often as they can.

The family returns to Goa once a year normally at the time of the Ganesh festival in September when an extended group of relations come together. Prakash’s uncle has a home deep in the forest some three hours’ trek from the city. Prakash remembers fondly his childhood holidays there and he makes a point of visiting during each family trip back to India.

For the future, Prakash is looking forward to working ever more closely with his new Sovereign colleagues not just in the Middle East but also around the world. He is particularly close to the Group Finance team in Gibraltar as he is their go-to contact for PPG related matters. He also enjoys his growing interaction with the Mauritius office.

We congratulate Prakash on the part he has played toward PPG’s successful integration with Sovereign thus far. It was good to meet such an enthusiastic member of the team and this bodes very well for the future together. Thank you Prakash for your time; on behalf of Sovereign, we extend best wishes to you and your family for the years ahead.

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