- Former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Tony Blair served as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from May 1997 to June 2007. He was also the leader of Britain’s Labour Party (1994 to 2007) and the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield, England (1983 to 2007). Mr. Blair continues to be active in public life. He has many interests, not least his current role in the Middle East, which takes up the largest proportion of his time. Since leaving Downing Street, Mr. Blair has served as the Quartet Representative to the Middle East. He represents the United States of America, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union, working with the Palestinians to prepare for statehood as part of the international community’s effort to secure peace.
- chairman, edgo group
Often described as the Duke of Nablus or Palestine’s Rothschild, Masri is known as the patriarch of a prominent Palestinian family that has produced bankers, consultants and politicians. Geologist Masri hails from the West Bank town of Nablus. Masri, who was once a close confidant of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (who offered him the premiership three times), made his fortune in oil and gas working in the Gulf; North Africa and elsewhere.
When the Oslo peace process kicked off Masri helped set up the Palestine Development and Investment Ltd. (PADICO), the largest private investor by initial investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which he chairs. The holding group controls over 30 companies across various industries. Today, however, Masri is more of a fire fighter as he was in the 1970s when helped bring about an end to clashes that took place in Jordan when Palestinian guerillas challenged the authority of King Hussein. Much of his time has been dedicated to reconciling the Palestinian Hamas movement with President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah group, in addition to trying to foster dialogue among Israelis and Palestinians who aspire to live in peace within the context of a two-state solution.
Shaikh Mohammed A.J Althani
- Former Economy and Trade Minister for Qatar, and Author of ‘The Arab Spring & The Gulf States: Time to Embrace Change’
His Excellency Shaikh Mohamed Ahmed Jassim Althani is a former Minister of Economy and Trade in the State of Qatar. Previously he spent seventeen years working in the oil and gas industry, mainly with Qatar Petroleum, RasGas and QatarGas. His main activities now are consulting, research in the energy sector and the GCC political economy, for which he is a visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. He is a board member of the London Business School global advisory board and of Duke University. He holds a BAA in Industrial Management and Supervision from Central Michigan University and a Global MBA from Duke University, and has successfully completed a Senior Executive programme at the London Business School.
Dr. Habib Almulla
- chairman and co-managing partner, Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla
Dr. Habib Al Mulla has over 29 years’ experience in UAE law and has drafted many of Dubai’s modern legislative structures. He is vice chairman of the Dubai International Arbitration Centre’s Board of Trustees, and chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ UAE committee. Dr. Al Mulla is a frequent commentator on UAE legislation and economy and is often consulted to draft and advise on Federal and Emirate level laws. He created the concept of financial free zones in the UAE and was the architect of the legal framework establishing the Dubai International Financial Centre. He also served as legislative committee chairman of the Dubai Financial Services Authority.
- CEO, Crescent Petroleum
Majid Jafar is the CEO of Crescent Petroleum, the Middle East’s oldest private oil & gas company, and Vice-Chairman of the Crescent Group of companies which includes interests in port management, logistics, contracting, private equity and real estate. He is also Managing Director of the Board of Dana Gas (PJSC), the first regional, private-sector integrated natural gas company in the Middle East, in which Crescent is the largest shareholder. His previous experience was with Shell International’s Exploration & Production and Gas & Power Divisions. In addition to his professional commitments, Jafar serves as Vice-Chairman of the Global Energy Initiative (GEI), Vice-Chairman of the Global Agenda Council for Youth Unemployment at the World Economic Forum, and a Board Member of: the Carnegie Middle East Center Advisory Council, the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce (UAE), the Sharjah Expo, the Iraq Energy Institute, and the New Leaders of the International Institute of Education (IIE). He is also an active member of: the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House), the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the Young Arab Leaders organization (YAL), and is an Accredited Director of the Institute of Directors (IoD Mudara) in Dubai. Jafar attended Eton College and graduated from Cambridge University (Churchill College) with Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Engineering (Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics). He also holds an MA (with Distinction) in International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), and an MBA (with Distinction) from the Harvard Business School.
- Chief Executive Officer, Starcom MediaVest Group MENA
One can’t argue with 17 years of SMG experience, which is exactly what Antoniades brings to the role of CEO, SMG MENA. Almost two decades of learning the ropes in the Group’s Europe offices leave him ideally suited to being responsible for nine offices across the MENA region, including the ‘center of excellence’, Dubai. Eight years ago, John was based in Italy as Managing Director of Mediavest where he launched the Fiat 500, one of the most successful car launches of the millenium. Six years ago he moved to London where he helped build what is today the most successful multi-national client strategy and management hub in Europe. On his watch, SMG won and developed clients such as GSK, Honda, Novartis and Heineken helping these clients pioneer new media service structures unleashing productivity and growth. Antoniades’ diverse background, work on domestic and global business provides him with unique insight and the ability to develop further SMG’s MENA region and clients. His passion is the product SMG creates, having started as a planner developing award-winning campaigns (MM Awards ‘Best Car Launch’ for Ford StreetKa and Campaign Media Awards ‘Best Use of TV for Renault Kangoo launch). Antoniades has a place on SMG’s Global Management Group and is a key member of the network’s Global Product Committee.
- Former editor of The Sun
Kelvin has been a journalist for more than four decades. He started on a local paper in South East London, moved to a news agency, then the Daily Express and finally The Sun. This was followed by two years as Managing Editor with The New York Post and finally becoming Editor of The Sun from 1981 to 1994. There followed a brief period as Managing Director of BSkyB, three years as MD of Live TV and then Group Managing Director of Mirror Newspapers. He founded the radio station Talksport selling the company for £100 million. He wrote columns for both The Sun and Daily Mail. Today he is a businessman.
- Vice chairman and CEO, Drake & Scull International
Khaldoun Tabari is the Vice Chairman and CEO of Drake & Scull International (DSI) PJSC.
Tabari has been leading Drake & Scull since 1998, when he bought a stake in the firm. However, his association with the originally British company dates back to 1982 when he first joined the firm to work on a project that involved the installation of eighteen radar stations and underground command centres in Saudi Arabia, which were later used in the first Gulf War. The firm was wholly owned by a consortium of investors, including Tabari, before it listed 55 percent of the company on the Dubai Financial Market in 2009. Today, Drake & Scull has around 20,000 staff with operations spanning the Arab world and as far as Thailand, South East Asia and Europe, and in addition to providing mechanical, electrical and plumbing services — for which it is perhaps best known — it also generates a large proportion of its revenues from contracting, water-treatment works and building district-cooling plants. Tabari also serves as a Non-Executive Chairman and Director of EMCOR Facilities Services Group, Non-Executive Chairman Vision Investments, Board Member of DEPA, Board Member of Walltech; Director of EHC Cooperation and Board Member of Energy Central, UAE.
- BBC Television Presenter, and Chairman,
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.