Born in Saudi Arabia to Lebanese parents, Nassif Lawand grew up in Sydney from the age of 13 when his parents moved to Australia soon after the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war. Once settled in Australia, Lawand was Dux of his High School, completed with honours a Computer Science degree with a sub-major in Economics; achieved an MBA in Management (honours) and a Diploma in Export Management.
After a fast-tracked seven-year career in Information Technology at Westpac, the then largest bank in Australia, Lawand set out to execute a vision of building solid and long-lasting commercial links between Australia and his region of origin. He established Lawand Trade in Sydney, in 1991, which now is Australia’s largest exporter and marketer of Australian branded foods and beverages in the region, with more than 2,400 Australian products on supermarket shelves from Turkey down to Oman. In 1995, he created Lawand Tourism, which pioneered Australian tourism in the Arabian Gulf. With a unique business model of being actively and permanently present in both the markets and the destinations, and by providing comprehensive high quality service to both the trade and the travellers, Lawand Tourism is a significant Australian tourism stakeholder in the Middle East, holding a dominant market share. Lawand Tourism is based on the Gold Coast. In 2007, together with his elder brother, Lawand set up Lawand Education, based in Melbourne, which promotes Australian education across the Middle East and represents 42 Australian universities and colleges. Lawand Education has since recruited and looked after substantial numbers of Middle Eastern graduate and post-graduate students across Australia.
The Lawand Group of companies under Lawand’s direct management currently comprises eight independent firms with nine offices, spread over seven countries, employing just over 90 well educated, highly-trained professionals.
Travelling frequently between Lawand Group’s four permanent offices in the key regional centres of Beirut, Dubai, Kuwait and Riyadh, Lawand has entrenched knowledge of the Middle East and its dynamics.