HomeAbout Fahad Ghaffar

About Fahad Ghaffar

About Ghaffar

Early Life

Fahad Ghaffar is a successful entrepreneur and businessman who has made a name for himself in the hospitality, real estate, and development industries. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, on January 1st, he grew up in a family that instilled in him the values of hard work, resilience, and humility. With his father teaching him about the importance of working hard and his mother instilling in him a strong faith, he develop a work ethic that has helped him succeed throughout his career.

Fahad Ghaffar

Visionary Leader in Business and Social Impact

“We put our employees first. Happy employees make happy customers who pay the bills. We spend on training which excites them; we have class-leading benefits, and I have the same health insurance as the hourly employees. We go above and beyond in case of any sickness or emergency and on happy occasions, such as a new baby in an employee’s family. We are proud to have no union, and I personally know many of our employees and their issues. When employees feel cared for, you will see your company rise to new heights. One of my favorite stories is of a lady who started in Serafina restaurant seven years ago, as a dish washer. Today she is the GM of a $6 million annual revenue franchise. Whenever she meets me, she asks what’s next. I have no doubt she will continue to grow ’till she is the CEO. May God bless her and all of our employees, partners, and community on this beautiful island.”

Early Career

After moving to the United States, Fahad enrolled at the University of Virginia, earning an undergraduate degree in economics and finance. He started his career at Wachovia, working in the Real Estate Capital Markets group. There Fahad developed a keen interest in real estate and worked on numerous non-traditional asset projects, such as ground-up construction deals, hotels in exotic locations, conversions of major train hubs in gateway cities, and leveraged loans. Despite his intensive schedule, Fahad’s dedication and work ethic paid off, as he landed leadership positions within the workgroups and eventually worked directly with the CEO of the real estate banking practice for the largest real estate group in the United States.

Fahad’s work on a $5.5 billion loan for an apartment housing complex in New York City caught the attention of top financial firms like Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Merrill Lynch, and he eventually accepted a job offer with UBS, working with the head of Real Estate originations. This was a pivotal time in Fahad’s career, as he realized the immense opportunity for growth in the hotel industry, outside of the banking world.

Despite the market crash in 2008, Fahad persevered and continued to work in the Swiss National Bank Stability Fund within UBS, managing $60 billions of troubled transactions. Here he gained a thorough understanding of structuring loan documents, foreclosures, and debt for equity swaps.

Career and Legacy

In 2011, Fahad moved to Tampa, where he continued to grow as a businessman and completed multiple commercial real estate transactions for a company he founded and owned solely. It was in 2013 that Fahad started to explore opportunities in Puerto Rico and met John Paulson, who was in contract to purchase the St. Regis Bahia Beach. With Paulson’s financial backing and Fahad’s operational skills, they significantly improved the economics of the St. Regis transaction. They gained access to the then-bankrupt La Concha and Vanderbilt hotels in a two-year stalemate with previous bidders. This iconic transaction cemented John and Fahad’s relationship, and as partners, it provided Fahad the opportunity to continue nurturing and growing multiple high-end assets in Puerto Rico.

Over the span of a few years, Fahad and John acquired and improved several high-profile hotels in Puerto Rico, including the St. Regis Bahia Beach, La Concha Resort, Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, and Ocean Club. Under Fahad’s leadership, these properties became some of the most profitable in the region, and he gained a reputation as an expert in the hospitality and real estate industries.

Fahad Ghafffar arrived in Puerto Rico during a tumultuous period marked by government bankruptcy, epidemics, and natural disasters such as Hurricane Irma and Maria. However, his proactive decisions, for example, to invest in a prime power generator years prior enabled La Concha and the Vanderbilt hotels to continue operating during the island-wide blackout caused by Hurricane Maria. These hotels became a hub for multiple private and federal organizations, coordinating rescue operations and providing food and services to the local community for a nominal fee.

Fahad’s experience during Hurricane Maria was a turning point that highlighted the importance of giving back. He led donation initiatives for multiple organizations and became increasingly involved in local nonprofits, addressing real issues impacting the island as it recovered.

Professionally, Fahad takes great pride in his company’s impact on the local community in Puerto Rico, providing over 3,000 direct jobs, generating $131,000,000 in annual payroll, with $200,000,000 in purchases from local businesses, and contributing over $45,000,000 in taxes. The company’s annual recurring revenue is expected to exceed $1,000,000,000 in 2023, all thanks to the partnership that began with a cold call to John Paulson a decade ago. Despite Puerto Rico’s challenges, Fahad remains committed to the island and its people; he runs his business ventures with a deep sense of responsibility to the community. Fahad’s philosophy of putting employees first has paid off, with many long-tenured employees and industry-leading benefits.

Fahad’s investment savvy extends to his personal ventures, with his most successful exit being in a payments company that yielded over 37 times his invested capital. His investments with Paulson have also been fruitful, with one producing an 800% return. Over the years, with John’s encouragement, Fahad has increased his personal stake in existing and new investments.

The group is a leader in a diverse range of consumer spaces, including hotels, events, clubs, bars, casinos, construction, auto retail, SPAs, restaurants, home building, high-rise buildings, interior design, and asset management.

Personal Life

At 36 years old in 2020, Fahad married his soulmate, Glenda Ghaffar, at St. Regis Bahia Beach. Since then, Glenda has been an unwavering support system for Fahad in all aspects of life and a pivotal figure in cultivating the environment that has contributed to the family’s success. She has provided invaluable advice on various matters that have led to optimal outcomes for their business ventures.

In 2022, they welcomed their daughter into the world, bringing boundless joy into their lives. Glenda’s daily affirmations of Fahad’s accomplishments, true character, and local insight have enabled him to surmount the challenges that come with the great responsibility of running the largest conglomerate in Puerto Rico.

Philanthropy: In Puerto Rico and Abroad

In addition to his work in the hospitality and real estate industries, Fahad has also been actively involved in philanthropy. Fahad’s unwavering commitment to giving back to society is a testament to the values he instilled during his upbringing in Pakistan, a country with a lower GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita than Haiti. His passion for philanthropy led him to support SER de Puerto Rico, a school for children with special needs, where he assisted the organization’s head and CFO in presenting their financials more effectively. As a result, the school was able to double its budget and expand its services across the island. Fahad also extended his support to other causes, including the Kinesis Foundation, the conservation of manatees, Hogar Teresa Toda, ConPRmetidos, the Art Museums, and a Dog Shelter, among others.

In 2017, Fahad established the Fahad & Glenda Ghaffar Foundation (no outside donations) which allows him to support causes that he believes will have the most significant impact. He has donated over ten million dollars of his personal funds to various causes to date, and he plans to increase his contributions in the coming years. He recently donated to the Ashford Medical Center to help upgrade the maternity ward and purchase new equipment, reflecting his commitment to providing quality healthcare to his employees and their families. Following the donation, he hosted a fundraiser that brought over $300,000 to help the hospital purchase new equipment.

Fahad’s philanthropic efforts extend beyond Puerto Rico. Today he provides clean drinking water to over 400,000 people every day, with a goal of reaching one million people within three years and ten million within the next decade. He also recognizes the importance of education, particularly for young girls, and has been a major donor to an educational charity in northern Pakistan since 2010. Thanks to his support, over 5,000 children have been able to enroll in school and continue their education.

Overall, Fahad’s dedication to philanthropy has touched countless lives and serves as an inspiration for others to make a positive impact in their communities.

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