Saskatchewan Leaders in Profile: Murad Al-Katib, Trailblazer

Murad Al-Katib, AGT Food and Ingredients
Murad Al-Katib, AGT Food and Ingredients

Murad Al-Katib has come along way from his roots in Davidson, Sask. Today, he presides over Regina-based international agri-food powerhouse AGT Food and Ingredients Inc. Murad founded the company in 2001, building a Canadian start-up into a global multi- billion-dollar value-added pulses, staple foods, and ingredient company operating manufacturing and processing facilities on five continents and has a deep and extensive experience in the Middle East, India, Africa and Asia. A University of Saskatchewan graduate, Murad’s career began with the Government of Canada and then as a founding director of the Saskatchewan Government’s international trade and export development agency the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP).

Beyond his role as the head of AGT Food, Murad is also an advocate for Canadian agriculture and entrepreneurship. He works to grow female, youth and First Nations participation in business start-ups, advocating the role of entrepreneurs in driving social change and innovation in the new global economy. Murad is also the recipient of numerous awards including: 2020 Globe and Mail “Innovator CEO of the Year”, the 2021 Canadian Western Agribition “CWA Top 50 in Canadian Agriculture”, the 2017 Saskatchewan Order of Merit and 2017 EY “World Entrepreneur of the Year.”

What are the most important qualities for a successful leader?

“Successful leaders have great confidence in their own abilities, recognize their own strengths, and have the wisdom to embrace diversity when building out the team: diversity in thought, gender and belief systems. Good leaders can build a team—great leaders build that same team but manage to make it cohesive even with great diversity. A successful leader creates the vision and brings diversity of thought into cohesive action.”

What one thing makes you most proud?

“Twenty years ago, I started AGT Foods with the singular vision ‘From Producer to the World.’ I’m proud to say that this vision is still what drives us today. AGT has become a multinational company but we have maintained our focus on rural communities, advancing value-added processing, and promoting the three-crop rotation for farmers. Maybe it’s from my upbringing in Davidson as the son of my father, the country doctor, and my mom, the Reeve of the RM and then Mayor of our community. My love of Saskatchewan is unwavering. I care about the economy and the well-being of our people.”

What’s your favourite thing about doing business in Saskatchewan?

“The passion and work ethic of Saskatchewan people is the most amazing attribute. We have an attitude that we can achieve anything. To see the transformation in our business community over the last two decades has been enjoyable. We are diversified, we have an amazing workforce and governments are accessible. It’s true that ‘it’s a small world,’ but in Saskatchewan, the connections we have with decision makers and business partners make me excited about expanding my business in Saskatchewan.”

From Someone Who Knows

“I have known Murad for over twenty-five years, and I was the deputy minister of the Economy when I hired Murad in his capacity as a young civil servant at the Government of Saskatchewan. Many of the characteristics I saw from that young man I have had the pleasure of seeing executed throughout his business career. Murad always had an ability to see the big picture. He is a strong communicator and always has enthusiasm and passion in all that he does. He demands a lot of himself and of others with whom he is working, whether it be a report or a project or a business deal. Murad has shown business acumen as an entrepreneur but also shown a commitment to growth and expansion in all areas of agriculture in Canada, as well as his commitment to furthering public policy through support to all levels of Government.”

– Frank Hart, Chair of Protein Industries Canada Agriculture Supercluster