Muhammed Majeed, founder of Sami-Sabinsa Group, dies at 75

Daughter Anju Majeed to take over as supplement maker’s executive chair; son Shaheen Majeed named CEO and global managing director. Find out more.

April 2, 2024

4 Min Read
Muhammed Majeed, founder of Sami-Sabinsa Group, dies at 75
Sami-Sabinsa Group

After pioneering the development of standardized herbal extracts from India’s Ayurvedic plants, Muhammed Majeed created a global market for the supplements. He then founded the Sami-Sabinsa Group, a leading multinational health and life sciences company, in 1988 and headed it until his death on March 13.

Majeed grew up in Kollam, in Kerala, India, and earned an undergraduate degree in pharmacy from the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College in 1973. He worked as a teacher before emigrating to the United States in 1975 and began working in a pharmacy. Majeed received a master’s degree in industrial pharmacy from Long Island University in New York, then earned a doctorate in industrial pharmacy from St. John’s University in Queens, New York, in 1986. His pharmaceutical industry experience included Pfizer, Carter Wallace and Paco Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey, where he served as head of research.

Realizing the potential of India’s Ayurvedic system of medicine, Majeed foresaw an opportunity to provide Ayurveda-based products to the developed world. Combining the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda with modern science, he innovated and standardized evidence-based plant products.

On March 29, Majeed’s daughter, Anju Majeed was chosen to replace her father as Sami-Sabinsa Group executive chairperson, effective April 1. She has master’s degrees in microbiology and molecular genetics from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and in biological sciences from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She also holds a doctorate in microbiology from Bharathidasan University in Tiruchirappalli, India. She is based at the Sami-Sabinsa Group headquarters in Bengaluru, India.

Shaheen Majeed, Muhammaed Majeed’s son and Anju Majeed’s brother, was named global managing director and CEO on the same day. He also sits on the company’s board of directors. He served Sabinsa’s worldwide president from July 2017 to October 2021, and its marketing director from 2007 until July 2017. Most recently, he was the CEO of BGG, a biotech company that develops and purifies plant ingredients for dietary supplements, pharmaceutical, personal care, and food and beverage industries. He has a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers and an MBA in international business from Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University in Illinois.

Starting a science-based dietary supplement company

Muhammed Majeed started Sabinsa Corporation in New Jersey as the first phase of his vision to make generic medications, but he saw an opportunity to introduce ingredients based upon traditional Ayurvedic knowledge when Americans were turning toward natural health care options. As sharing the science behind the products was a priority, he pioneered Sabinsa on Wheels and invited dietary supplement companies to attend detailed presentations about the company’s offerings.

He set up Sami Labs Limited—now Sami-Sabinsa Group Limited— a research and manufacturing facility in Bengaluru, India, in 1991. Today, Sami alongside Sabinsa, operates 11 manufacturing facilities and employs more than 1,400 people, including more than 120 senior scientists who dig deeply into the mechanisms of action and physiological effects of herbs, then publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals. The Sami-Sabinsa Group now commercially markets more than 120 standardized botanical extracts in 17 countries. Majeed was granted over 500 U.S. and international patents.

After starting the laboratory, Majeed founded America’s Finest, Inc, a dietary supplement company specializing in ingredient-specific and condition-specific formulations with the company’s ingredients. His other businesses also surround the herbs and spice industry: Sami Spices promotes procurement and marketing of spices; Organica Aromatics develops aromatic chemicals and perfumery compounds; Sabinsa Cosmetics markets ingredients for the personal care and cosmetics industries.

In 2010, Majeed created Sami Direct to offer consumer product goods via the direct-to-consumer model. Sami Direct now offers 20 products such as weight management, joint health, bone strength, detox supplements, skincare and cosmetics.

Before too many companies were concerned with having sustainable supply chains, Majeed provided training, planting materials and ongoing support to small farmers and their communities in Salem and surrounding districts in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Committed to fair trade practices, the company pays a guaranteed price even if a crop fails due to weather extremes and pays more for a harvest when market prices dictate.

Underlying all the company’s endeavors was a commitment to sustainability, from the environmental considerations incorporated into all the company’s manufacturing facilities to the award-winning Kino tree reforestation program.

During his lifetime, Majeed and his companies received several awards, some of which are listed here:

  • Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award, 2005, 2009.

  • National Award for Quality and Innovation by the President of India in 1995, 1997 and 2008.

  • American Herbal Products Association’s Herbal Industry Leadership Award, 2009.

  • Ellis Island Medal of Honor, National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, 2004.

  • New Hope Network Hall of Legends, 2016.

  • Shield of Honor for Pioneering Research and Outstanding Achievements, ASSOCHAM National Symposium on Nutraceuticals, Functional Food and Dietary Supplements, India, 2018.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), 2020.

  • Father of the Indian Nutraceutical Industry, ASSOCHAM, 2021.

  • Legend of the Millennium in Nutraceutical Industry, ASSOCHAM, 2022.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Kerala Pharmaceutical Congress, 2023.

  • Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research, American Botanical Council, 2023.

Majeed’s scientific literature contributions include more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers, including four book chapters in leading scientific journals. He has authored or co-authored 15 books describing the history and benefits of multiple herbal extracts and the research into their beneficial compounds.

Source: Sami-Sabinsa Group, with additional information from and

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