A Global Citizen, Philanthropist and Business Leader
On Saturday, April 23, 2022, in the blessed month of Ramadan, YAHIA FUAD EL-HIBRI passed away in Potomac, Maryland.
Known to most as Fuad, he was born in Hildesheim, Germany, on March 2, 1958, to a German Roman Catholic mother and a Lebanese Muslim father of Syrian maternal heritage. At an early age, he was exposed to peaceful coexistence, but also conflict, both of which would shape the type of distinguished philanthropist and formidable business leader he would later become. He was a steadfast believer that, as he put it, “the more there is dialogue the more you actually prepare for peace.”
Fuad served as Chairman of the El-Hibri Foundation (EHF), which was inspired by his father, Ibrahim El-Hibri, and founded by the family in 2001. He recognized that strategic philanthropy was the best way to address complex societal issues, and utilized his business acumen to focus on innovative solutions. Fuad was inspired by the universal values of Islam and supported EHF in its vision of building an inclusive society where everyone can achieve the American Dream in a diverse and inclusive world.
Reflecting on Fuad's impact, Farhan Latif—President of the Foundation—said, “He was a friend, mentor and trusted advisor. He was deeply grounded in his faith and seamlessly connected in interfaith relationships. He set a high bar, leading with integrity, honesty, excellence, and professionalism that is a model for our communities. Fuad’s philanthropy has helped millions in our communities, most of whom have never met him but have been impacted by his generosity.”
Before Fuad achieved stratospheric success in the biopharmaceutical, telecommunications, consulting and financial industries, he was already consumed with a focus on keeping people connected and safe. In his youth, his family had to relocate due to the start of the tumultuous fifteen-year civil war in Lebanon. “My whole life, I wanted to make a difference in improving and saving people's lives,” he said, “whether it was through telecommunications, personal safety, or healthcare and life sciences.”
In 1998, he founded what would become the publicly traded American multinational biopharmaceutical company Emergent Biosolutions. Fuad served as its Chief Executive Officer for about fourteen years and its Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors until his retirement in 2022. During that tenure, he gave leadership that was “instrumental in growing the company's portfolio to its current suite of marketed and procured products for a variety of public health threats, including medical countermeasures for anthrax, smallpox, botulism, and chemical warfare agents, as well as overseeing the company's role in fighting the opioid crisis.” He led the company in “delivering over 120 million dose equivalents of COVID- 19 vaccine.” He was personally dedicated to the mission of protecting life, so much so that he’d made that language part of the company mission: “We protect life.”
Fuad received many accolades for his business successes and philanthropic contributions, especially in protecting and enhancing the lives of millions around the world through life sciences innovation and combating public health threats, including a Citation for Public Service from U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski; the Dar Al-Aytam Shining Stars Award, for his philanthropic contributions for the well being of orphans; and the Vaccine Industry Excellence Award from the World Vaccine Congress; to name a few. He served on the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Biomedical Research Alliance, an academic joint venture of the National Institutes of Health, Oxford University and Cambridge University. He also served on the Yale Healthcare Conference Advisory Committee and had the honor of an annual prize (the Fuad El-Hibri '82 Entrepreneurial Award) for students established in his name at the Yale School of Management.
Fuad was the deeply-adored husband to Nancy El-Hibri and father of two daughters, Faiza (Mitch) and Yusra (Travis) El-Hibri, and a son, Karim (Carley) El-Hibri. In addition to his wife, daughters, son, and beloved mother, Elisabeth El-Hibri, Fuad leaves behind three grandchildren, in whose presence he found great joy. Among those he is survived by from among the El-Hibri diaspora around the world include his brother, Samir (Rima) El-Hibri, and sister, Yasmine El-Hibri Gibellini.
The El-Hibri Foundation will carry on Fuad’s legacy. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the Foundation at:
1420 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
or by making an online donation
The Janaza Prayer Service will be held at the Islamic Community Center of Potomac, 10601 River Road, Potomac, Maryland 20854, on Tuesday, April 26 at 12:30 PM.