Farewell to a printing industry icon
Ramzi Nicola Kteily exemplified everything that is great about the printing business in the Middle East–passion, entrepreneurship, and leadership. A visionary and hard worker throughout his career, Ramzi inspired excellence among his employees, colleagues, suppliers and clients during his four decades in the graphic arts industry.
Born in Nazareth-Palestine, Ramzi grew up in Lebanon and graduated from the American University of Beirut. He started his printing career in the printing equipment sales department of the National Cash Register (NCR) company. It was during his training sessions at NCR that he got acquainted with the graphic arts industry. At the time, he was among the first few people in the Middle East to be trained directly by printing equipment manufacturers.
The Lebanese civil war in the 70s made Ramzi look towards the GCC for new opportunities, a decision that led him to join Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Printing Services in 1976.
The year 1978 was the turning point of Ramzi’s career when he partnered with the Al Dhahiri family and launched Giffin Establishment, which later became the well-known Giffin Graphics. Ramzi recalled how he started the company with 7 people and his paper stock as capital.
“I used to drive down from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in my car loaded with paper. The roads were very dangerous in those days, and sometimes I had to make the trip twice. I worked as manager, accountant, coolie, all in one, but it was the real start to my career,” he said.
Three decades later, while celebrating the 35th anniversary of Giffin Graphics in Dubai, Ramzi emphasized the role hard work and perseverance in the company’s growth story, as he appreciated the commitment and dedication of his employees.
“If we are successful today is because people who worked with us since the very beginning committed themselves completely to the task at hands. We have been through a series of good and bad times. Together we have survived financial crises, currency fluctuations and stagflation and even experienced the fast and phenomenal growth of the company. Something that didn’t change all these years is our relationship and our trust in each other. I am happy and satisfied that all along we have been able to find solutions for all the problems we faced. It was not easy but by God’s grace we succeeded,” he said.
In one of his earlier interviews with ME Printer magazine in 2005, as Ramzi reflected on his success and hopes for the future of Giffin Graphics, he summarised his thoughts as follows:
“Graduating from the American University of Beirut was the best thing that happened to me. But, my biggest joy comes from knowing that a large number of families are benefiting till date from my ventures. My satisfaction grows along with the progress that my employees make in their lives. I am content and firmly believe that Giffin Graphics will continue long after Ramzi Kteily,” he concluded.