Birth and Family
Gerorge Fram Neematalla Fram was born in Harat Sakhr, Jounieh in February 1934. His mother was Mounira Barakat. He had a number of siblings including Jounieh’s current Head of Municipality, Antoine Fram.
George Fram pursued elementary and intermediate education at the Ar-Rusul School in Jounieh, after which he moved to the United States of America where he obtained a degree in Industrial Management from Harvard.
Driven by enthusiasm and a sense of initiative, Fram was involved from early on in the establishment of a number of industrial projects designed to meet the needs of the countries where he dwelled. In 1972, he launched an industrial development company, INDEVCO Group, which soon expanded into an international manufacturing group based in Lebanon. The Group employs over 10,000 people around the world and has over 51 manufacturing plants and 20 industrial and commercial companies. His business focuses on the production of paper, plastic and corrugated packaging as well as napkins, consumer products, industrial machinery and alternative energy sources in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the US, Britain, Ghana, the UAE, Greece and Iraq.
In fact, the Group’s success is attributed to its reliance on the founder’s philosophy, which has gone beyond the strict and narrow logic of profit thanks to its human dimensions and corporate responsibility. George Fram believed the industrial sector to be a primary national dimension and a fundamental part for the promotion of Lebanon’s competitive streak both in the region and worldwide. Through his management of the Group, Fram contributed to making Lebanon a platform for commercial and industrial activities and a source of inspiration for future plans and visions. His companies supported the Lebanese lira and promoted local production, which resulted in larger exports and higher job opportunities and helped mitigate brain drain and foster faith in Lebanon during the bleakest hours.
George Fram delved into politics and public affairs propelled by his influential role in industry and his affiliation with the Kessrouan region. He was appointed Minister of Post and Telecommunications and Minister of Industry and Oil from 7/10/1982 until 30/4/1984 in the Shafik Wazzan government, which was the first government ever to serve under President Amine Gemayel.
He returned to ministerial work by the end of the Civil War and the launch of the reconstruction process by the Rafik Hariri government under President Elias Hrawi. This time, Fram took charge of the Ministry of Water and Electrical Resources between 31/10/1992 and 11/6/1993 when he was dismissed from his position for differing in opinion from both Hariri and Hrawi over electricity. Pursuant to Decree no. 3602 dated 11/6/1993, the said ministry ceded to Minister Elie Hobeika while Fram was appointed Minister of State. The dismissal was a rare occurrence in the political history of Lebanon.
Some argue that had the plan of George Fram been accepted, power would have been available around the clock over the past few decades and Lebanon would have saved the billions of dollars spent on developing the electricity sector to no avail.
The ouster of George Fram from the ministry failed to force him away from politics. In 2000, he ran for parliamentary elections in the Mount Lebanon district (an eight-seat district, which consisted of the Qada’as of Kessrouan and Jbeil with seven seats allocated to the Maronite and one to the Shia’a), leading the list of Dignity and Regeneration against the rival Decision of the People list headed by Fares Boueiz, the son in law of the then President Elias Hrawi. George Fram’s list won five seats out of eight and Fram amassed 40,637 votes out of 85,000. This landslide victory facilitated George Fram’s return to the ministry and he was appointed again Minister of industry in the Hariri government under the term of President Emile Lahoud. He served in this position from 26/10/2000 until 17/4/2003.
In addition to his political career, George Fram was involved in major humanitarian and philanthropic work that has continued even after his death.
George Fram married Hayat Al-Khazen (born in 1943) and had five children with her: Faisal (b.1976), Bahjat (b. 1979), Rania (born in 1969 and married to the representative of Qada’a of Jbeil, MP Walid Khoury) and Hala (b. 1971).
George Fram died on May 5, 2006.
What was said of him:
Former Minister Jean Oubeid:
“Never was George Fram mentioned without me picturing the image of a generous and faithful self-made man. He was a good and honest friend. While one’s brother is kin of the body, one’s friend is kin of the soul.”
“George Fram was wise and patient. He was one of those Maronite Christians who believed in prayers and philanthropy, not only in identity and heredity.”
Former Minister Ziad Baroud
“The loss of George Fram serves as an example in public service; the man comes to you saturated with the ideas of development, reform and modernity and releases a swarm of bees among many. I looked up to him as a role model. In times of elections, he voted openly for the project of State-building, which has never reached completion; he voted for an era where politics becomes a platform for service not a ground for the charlatans of the temple.”
Former AUB President: Peter Dorman
“Whether in his industrial activity or performance in the government, George Fram has been an inspiration for all who knew him throughout his life and professional career.”
“He was very keen on his country and spared no efforts to steer it forward. “
“During his life, we knew him as a pioneer and an innovator.”