A colossus among men, everything he does, he does on a grand scale. With an ability to sift the mundane and focus on what really matters he has created an empire that continues to spread across the globe. Confident, self-assured and dignified in the way he interacts with people from all walks of life, he is a towering personality who wields tremendous influence in the Middle East and South Asia.

Some of his achievements:
  • GB Choithram Jethwani, the guiding light of the Geebee Trading Empire, was the first Indian to be selected on the board of Dubai Electricity Company.
  • He was the first Indian to travel to Japan to explore business opportunities.
  • The first to ship cement from Japan on chartered vessels.
  • The first to be elected as President of the Indian Association through popular ballot.

The Royal Family appreciates GB as a major contributor to the economy of Dubai. The company had the distinction of supplying cement, sheet piles and heavy machinery and other allied goods for a number of major projects thus fueling the economic boom of Dubai. 

How it all began:

GB didn't need formal training in a business management school to hone his business skills. He learned business at the breakfast table with his great grandfather, his grandfather and his father and learnt business principles at home at an early age.

GB is a descendant of a family of illustrious ancestors with a century old history of business acumen. His father and uncles (of the Gagandas Bhawandas family firm) were the leading exporters of textiles to Dubai, Bahrain and Kuwait - during the pre-partition days. They operated out of Karachi. "Ram Pasa" their seaworthy dhow was kept active year-round transporting textiles, general produce and food items from Karachi to the Gulf and back. 
The journey to Dubai.

After partition in 1947 the family company moved to Bombay. They established their Head Office in Bombay and then started an office in Dubai in 1950. GB then went on to Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan in 1952 to explore business opportunities.

GB then personally took control of the Dubai office in 1954 when the place was "just emerging" on the global platform. Before he embarked upon his journey to Dubai, he went to Karachi to streamline his rice imports. "After all, despite partition their family banner still wielded tremendous influence there." 

GB flew from Karachi to Bahrain where the company had joint businesses with local firms importing textiles and then moved on to Kuwait before finally landing in Sharjah on June 9, 1954 on a six-seater aircraft just months after his marriage. 

"Language, however, was never a problem since the merchant community was and will always be a well-knit family", recalls GB, adding: "Life wasn't just business, we also took time out to enjoy an active social life." 

Even during those "hard days". GB lived life in the words of Frank Sinatra "My way." Truly a citizen of the world he would spend six months in Dubai and six months in Bombay with his wife. 

He was adventurous and would not travel by ship to Bombay but by the scenic route, he would first travel to Sharjah in a Land Rover and from there fly to Bahrain and then on to Bombay. "He remembers having traveled by ship once and found the experience disgusting." 

How did your company fare in early days? 

"Excellent. Since the day Geebee Trading Company - the branch office of Bombay-based Gagandas Bhawandas was born on January 26, 1956 it expanded rapidly and diversified its operations from textiles and food stuff to plastics, cement imports, heavy machinery, sheet piles and finance." 

In 1967, the family empire split and Geebee Trading Company went to his father and his sons and hence to GB in 1975. Since then he has been the Chairman and Managing Director of the Company overlooking and guiding the fortunes of the Company. He could have been laid back but his dynamism goaded him into action. He started up other companies and diversified into plastics - Eterna Plastic Manufacturing Company. He also started Kaycee Trading Company in food items and Geebee Stores outlets for wholesale of textiles. 

GB has offices in Dubai, Bombay and Singapore. GB gives credit for the development of UAE and its rise as a premier business destination to the vision and foresight of the Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. He only has praise for the ruler and says that, "He was a business magnate in the true sense of the word. Easily accessible, always willing to listen to problems and above all, ready to solve them, Sheikh Rashid was a great man. He had a soft corner for Indians and would often visit their homes during festivals." 

GB also thinks highly of radical reforms being initiated by the present Government of UAE. "There were days when the world eyed China for business. Today it is the UAE. There are tremendous opportunities in UAE - from investments to trade, to properties. UAE has something special to offer every business." 

Not only is GB a tough no-nonsense businessman, he is also a compassionate man realizing that what the Almighty had given him is to be shared with the downtrodden sections of society. The GEEBEE TRUST, was set up memory of his father Verhomal Gagandas to help the needy of Bombay and awards scholarships to brilliant students for further studies abroad. But GB doesn't want to blow his horn. "They don't do all these things for publicity," says the philanthropist whose role in Dubai social circles is equally immense. The former President of the Indian Association and Indian Sports Club and also the trustee of several highly-respectable Institutions. GB is always willing to lend a helping hand. 

He is a contented man. All his four daughters are happily married. And all his sons-in-law are reputed businessmen. His two sons Deepak and Girish - have joined him in his business. Deepak is a commerce graduate from H. R. College, Bombay, while Girish is a product of the prestigious London School of Economics. 

GB's secret of success in life is simple. "Sincerity and hard work pay in the long run".

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