Featured Speakers

Jordan Belfort - Author of The Wolf of Wall Street and Inspiration for Martin Scorsese Film

In the 1990s, Jordan Belfort built one of the most dynamic and successful sales organizations in Wall Street history. During that time, he soared to the highest financial heights, earning over $50 million a year, a feat that coined him the name “The Wolf of Wall Street.” As the owner of Stratton Oakmont, Belfort employed over 1,000 stockbrokers and raised over $1.5 billion and started more than 30 million-dollar-companies from scratch. He’s acted as a consultant to more than fifty public companies, and has been written about in virtually every major newspaper and magazine in the world, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the London Times, the Herald Tribune, Le Monde, Corriere della Serra, Forbes, Business Week, Paris Match and Rolling Stone. Along the way, he succumbed to some of the traps of the high-flying Wall Street lifestyle, going through a spectacular—and well-publicized—fall from grace. Taking invaluable lessons from the mistakes he made and the prices he paid, he has re-emerged as a globally recognized potent force behind extraordinary business success. Today, his proprietary Straight Line System allows him to take virtually any company or individual, regardless of age, race, sex, educational background or social status, and empower them to create massive wealth, abundance, and entrepreneurial success, without sacrificing integrity or ethics. He created the Jordan Belfort Foundation to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in underprivileged communities to create economic opportunities that transform their own lives, their families, and their communities. Jordan’s two international bestselling memoirs, The Wolf of Wall Street and Catching the Wolf of Wall Street, have been published in over forty countries and translated into eighteen languages. His life story has been turned into a major motion picture, with Leonardo DiCaprio staring and Martin Scorsese directing.

Badr Jafar - Founder of the Pearl Initiative and Managing Director of the Crescent Group

Badr Jafar is Managing Director of the Crescent Group, which has been operating from the UAE as a family business group for over 42 years. The Group today comprises two main companies: Crescent Petroleum, the region’s first independent and privately-owned petroleum company in the Middle East, of which Badr is President; and Crescent Enterprises, the company’s conglomerate operating across eight core sectors of the global economy, of which he is Chief Executive Officer. Badr founded the Pearl Initiative, a Private-Sector venture between the Gulf Region of Middle East and the United Nations Office for Partnerships to promote a corporate culture of transparency and accountability. He sits on the Global Board of Education for Employment (EFE), is a member of the Synergos Arab World Social Innovators (AWSI) Program Board of Governors and is a Founding Board Member of Endeavor UAE, an initiative encouraging entrepreneurship in the Gulf Region. Badr is actively involved in higher education, chairing the Alumni Advisory Council of the Cambridge University Judge Business School and serving as Board Member of their International Advisory Board. He is also a member of the Business Advisory Council of the American University of Sharjah, and a member of the Research and Innovation Advisory Council for The Centre of Excellence for Applied Research & Training (CERT) at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Abu Dhabi. Badr is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organisation, serving as Ex-Officio Chair of the YPO Emirates Chapter. Badr was honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and is Vice-Chair of their Global Agenda Council on Energy Security.

Waqar Siddique - Partner, Board Member and Head of Risk & Compliance, The Abraaj Group

Waqar Siddique is responsible for risk management across The Abraaj Group and is represented on the Boards of several portfolio companies. He is a Board Director of The Abraaj Group and Chair of the Group’s Risk and Compliance Committee. Siddique serves on the Board of Governors of the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, as well as IMD's Executive Education Advisory Council. He is a Trustee for the Aman Foundation, a not-for-profit organization established by Arif Naqvi. He was previously Chief Executive Officer of the Cupola Group. Prior to that role, he was with Mawarid Holding Company, Saudi Arabia and PwC in Pakistan. He holds an MBA with a specialisation in Finance.

Bruce McAlister - General Counsel, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, General Electric (GE)

Bruce is General Counsel, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) for General Electric (GE). He joined GE in 2000 and has held various roles supporting GE Aviation division's Commercial Engines Operations, Engine Services, Supply Chain, and Systems organisation. Bruce recently led Aviation’s legal team in the acquisition of Avio’s aerospace business in a cross-border transaction valued at $5.8BN. He has also led a global team including members in Asia. Bruce was appointed as General Counsel MENAT in March 2014. Bruce leads a multi-disciplinary team in MENAT, consisting of qualified attorneys and compliance professionals located throughout the region, supporting all of GE's business divisions, namely Oil & Gas, Energy, Aviation, Transportation, and Healthcare teams. Bruce has extensive experience in corporate acquisitions/disposals and joint ventures in the emerging markets, leading complex cross-border international transactions, and leading a compliance organisation charged with the implementation, maintenance and investigations of GE's corporate compliance and ethics policy. Bruce graduated from the University of Natal, South Africa, with a B.A and LLB degrees, and completed a Masters degree from Cranfield University, United Kingdom. Bruce is located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Hani Ashkar - Middle East Territory Senior Partner, PwC

Hani Ashkar is PwC’s Territory Senior Partner for the Middle East. He joined the firm in 1994 and was admitted as a Partner in 2004. Prior to becoming our Senior Partner, Hani was the leader of the deals practice for the Middle East Region. Deals encompasses transaction services (diligence and valuation), corporate finance, deals strategy, capital projects & infrastructure, business recovery services and forensic services. Hani was also country leader in Saudi Arabia. Hani advises multinational and regional investors on transactions across the Middle East region and helped establish PwC’s deals businesses in Saudi Arabia and the Levant. Over the years, he has been involved in over 300 transactions with corporate and private equity investors across the region covering a number of industries. Hani also has considerable IPO and listings experience, acquired in London and more recently in Saudi Arabia, where he has advised on over 15 IPOs on the Saudi Stock Exchange. Hani is a US Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder and a graduate of McGill University in Canada.

Andrew Neil - BBC Television Presenter, and Chairman, ITP Group

Andrew Neil is a newspaper editor, publisher, broadcaster and business consultant on media matters working out of London, New York, Edinburgh and France. A veteran television presenter, he has fronted both The Daily Politics show on BBC Two, and This Week on BBC One since January 2003. His varied career has included stints as a political advisor, as UK editor of The Economist, editor of The Sunday Times, executive chairman of Sky Television, executive editor of Fox Television News of America and an anchorman on British political television. Neil remains chief executive of The Spectator and chairman of ITP Group, the publisher of Arabian Business. A Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Neil has honorary degrees from Napier University in Edinburgh, and the University of Paisley. In the autumn of 1999 he was elected Lord Rector of the University of St Andrews, UK, which is recognised as one of the world’s oldest and most distinguished universities. On stepping down from that post in 2002 he was made a Doctor of Laws by the university.

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