In pictures: CEO Middle East awards 2017

CEO Middle East magazine honours this year's top business leaders at Dubai event
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Retail CEO of the Year: Nilesh Ved, CEO Apparel Group Apparel Group features more than 1,750 stores, with 75 international brands, from Tommy Hilfiger to Cold Stone Creamery. And what started in the UAE has stretched across the region and the globe, with stores as far away as the Philippines and South Africa. That shows not only a great understanding of local markets, but international as well. Apparel Group has won many awards, including the Dubai Quality Appreciation Award and the Coveted Place to Work Award. It is all due to the vision of one Nilesh Ved, who believes that the keys to success are passion, hard work, honesty and consistency. Photo by Lester ApuntarITP Images
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Female CEO of the Year : Rafiah Ibrahim, CEO of Ericsson Group Middle East and Africa Ibrahim, who has been in her current role since April 1 of this year, was previously the head of Ericsson Middle East. She has certainly shown determination since joining the company in 1996 – although she has been in the telecommunications industry since 1981. It shows that experience can go a long way. For Ericsson, she has working at its offices in a number of countries, holding various leadership positions, and helped to grow the business in several emerging markets. Photo by Lester Apuntar/ITP Images
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Visionary CEO of the Year: Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO Souq.com It was in 2005 that Mouchawar came up with the idea for Souq.com, which became the Middle East’s biggest e-commerce website. Souq.com has evolved over the years from an auction site into a massive retail portal and marketplace for third-party sellers. And it continues to grow… in recent years by as much as 10 times, with around 22 million visits each month. In 2014, this visionary CEO launched a ‘White Friday’ promotion – a Middle East equivalent of the Black Friday sales in the US – and raised over $275m. Then in March of this year came the huge announcement: Amazon had acquired Souq.com for $580 million. How does he do it? Well, he hails from Syria, which he once told Arabian Business is where “commerce is the heart blood”. Photo by Lester ApuntarITP Images
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Philanthropy CEO of the Year, Kabir Mulchandani, Five Holdings Mulchandani has successfully completed his comeback in the Dubai property industry. As the founder of Five Holdings, he this year handed over more than 220 apartments in the $1 billion FIVE Palm Jumeirah hotel resort, which opened ahead of schedule. He’s also on track to open a second hotel in JVC Dubai next year. This comes six years after he beat unsubstantiated fraud allegations, which proved why you should never give up when you face tough times. Perhaps born of a recognition that the lessons he learned from his own difficulties should be used to help others in trouble, our winner set about using his good fortune to help others. Project Udaan launched in the same month that FIVE Palm Jumeirah hotel resort opened, with the aim of saving a life a day in India. Five Holdings funds this project, with daily life-saving surgery to cure children who are born with congenital heart defects. Let’s say that again: the life of a child is being saved every day. FIVE Holdings also supports the New Faces Trust in India, paying for surgery to help children born with facial deformities. And the company also hopes to open a children’s hospital in India. Photo by Lester ApuntarITP Images
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Lifetime Achievement Award: Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free pictured with colleagues. . Photo by Lester ApuntarITP Images
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Winners of CEO Awards 2017 pictured on stage at the Four Seasons Jumeirah on September 13 2017 Dubai, Photo by Lester Apuntar/ITP Images
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Lifetime Achievement Award: Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. The mainstay of Dubai Duty Free since 1983, McLoughlin was part of a team from his native Ireland asked to set up the operation by the Dubai government. During his 34 years in charge, he has built one of the world’s largest airport retail operations in the world in terms of turnover. By the year 2022 expects business in excess of $3 billion a year, with 10,000 staff. McLoughlin also grew the company’s Leisure division, overseeing the Aviation Club, the Irish Village, Century Village, the Dubai Tennis Stadium and the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel. Speaking at the awards, McLoughlin said, “I’m absolutely thrilled and humbled by hearing the names of the [lifetime CEO award winning] people that went before me. I feel honoured to be following them this evening. “The company that I'm involved in has done well and we’re very proud of it but mostly I'm proud of the freedom that we have been given to make things happen by the government of Dubai and my own chairman His Highness Sheikh Ahmed, and by my team of staff at Dubai Duty Free, of whose number now stands at 5,900. I want to dedicate this lifetime achievement award to those people and, of course, my beautiful wife Breda.”
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The Family Business CEO of the year award went to Anees Ahmed Moumina, CEO of SEDCO Holding Group. Ahmed was appointed CEO of of SEDCO Holding Group in 2013 after 25 years in the private sector and the financial services industry. His banking career has given him vast experience across a variety of business sectors. SEDCO, a leading Shariah-compliant private wealth management organisation, proudly states that: “We were on top of customer journey and experience management innovation before it was even a trendy buzzword.” Moumina also serves as a board member of The National Commercial Bank and Elaf Group and is a member of SEDCO Holding’s Investment Committee, and also a member of several other charitable boards. Photo by Lester Apuntar/ITP Images
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The Young CEO of the year award went to Talal Al Gaddah, who runs all of the six main departments at MAG Property Development. With an aim is to bolster his company’s position as one of the top five real estate developers in the UAE, he said the ultimate goal is to expand to the Far East, Europe and further afield the USA. Though still young, he has an extensive background of industry success, much of it attained within the MAG Group. Prior to being appointed to his current role, he was Director of Sales and Marketing where he achieved sales of 1.5 billion dirhams in 12 months. He was also instrumental in opening up new markets including the launch of The Gate in Frisco City, Texas, USA. Photo by Lester Apuntar/ITP Images.
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Healthcare CEO of the Year is the founder of Fakih IVF, Dr Michael Fakih. Fakih IVF has bases in the GCC, Lebanon and the Unites States. With over 25 years of experience, Dr Fakih is responsible for over 12,000 IVF deliveries. His continuous innovations have made him a pioneer in his field. He’s also found time to write over 40 medical publications. He was listed as one of the top 15 American Lebanese of all time in the category of Medicine. Recently, his clinic has been rapidly expanding in the region over the past 12 months. Photo by Lester ApuntarITP Images
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Bank CEO of the year: Hisham Ahmed Al Rayes, CEO of GFH Financial Group. Al Rayes was appointed CEO in 2012 of GFH Financial Group, one of the regional leading financial groups with 6.2 billion dollars in assets and funds under management. His main objective on taking the top role was to establish a diverse regional financial group. Prior to this role he was GFH’s Chief Investment Officer, during which time he was responsible for driving the development of its investment strategy along with management of the bank’s liabilities. He’s also a multitasker, who makes time to hold the following roles: chairman of Balexco and Gulf Holding Company, along with directorships in: GFH financial Group, Khaleeji Commercial Bank, Falcon Cement Company, GFH Capital and Shuaa Capital. Photo by Lester Apuntar/ITP Images
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Start Up Start Up CEO award winner is Ahmad Ashkar, the founder of the Hult Prize Foundation - named by TIME Magazine as one of the top five initiatives changing the world. Ashkar specialises in innovation and global expansion, and is on the advisory board of the United Nations Development Programme. He is one of the world’s foremost experts in venture philanthropy and has been recognised as one of the top 10 entrepreneurs in the Middle East. He has worked closely with Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. He has appeared as a coach and speaker at the World Economic Forum, United Nations and other notable gatherings. As a Palestinian-American, he serves as an independent advisor to the municipality of his hometown in the West Bank, where he is also an active entrepreneur. Photo by Lester ApuntarITP Images
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Hospitality CEO of the Year: Omer Kaddouri, CEO Rotana, Kaddouri joined Rotana in 1998 as Resident Manager of the Al Bustan Rotana in Dubai. 16 years later he was became President and CEO of the whole group, with a portfolio of over 85 properties. His great belief in the online trend has moved the company forward with its investment in technology infrastructure, giving Rotana an ever larger opportunities to expand its distribution. He has led many initiatives involving the retention and succession planning of colleagues. These are in line with his belief that human resources will remain a key factor in the growth of the company. As President and CEO, he is responsible for paving the way for Rotana’s aggressive expansion plans to operate 100 hotels by 2020. Photo by Lester Apuntar/ITP Images.
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Energy CEO of the year: Ahmad bin Shafar, CEO Empower Shafar has been Empower’s CEO “since it was just a business plan” as he once told Arabian Business. It is now the world’s largest district cooling services provider. Revenues for 2016 reached AED1.84 billion, up 11 percent from 2015 and on track for similar growth in 2017. It has more than 65,000 clients, and maintains 69 district cooling plants in Dubai. Under his direction, Empower is supporting global initiatives related to organisations such as the United Nations. He has also been appointed by the UN’s Environment Programme, as a special advisor for its Global District Energy in Cities Initiative. A California State University graduate, with over 20 years of experience in senior management, he firmly believes that leaders in the energy field have to "ensure that we build cities that are friendly to the environment" Photo by Lester Apuntar/ITP Images
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Innovation CEO of the Year: Dietmar Siersdorf, CEO of Siemens Middle East Siersdorf has come a long way since joining Siemens in 1987 as an electrical engineer. Rising through the ranks he was appointed Executive Senior Vice President for fossil power generation and then President and CEO of the global fossil energy solutions business. He’s is an active board member of a number of Siemens subsidiaries across the region. The company’s fantastic progress is underpinned by our winner’s belief that: “Great ideas come from a mix of very good people.” Those great ideas include steps to decarbonise the company, and build infrastructure around the world in order to meet their ambitious sustainability targets. Photo by Lester ApuntarITP Images
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Property CEO of the Year: Hussain Sajwani - accepted on his behalf by his son Ali (pictured). Sajwani founded Damac Properties in 2002, which has grown to become one of the largest property development companies in the Middle East, building prestigious properties in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Riyadh and London, among other cities. Teaming up with luxury designer names such as Versace, Cavalli and Bugatti, to have them style and brand some of Damac’s properties, is a stroke of genius. His knowledge of the property market - from marketing and sales to legal and finance - is exemplary, based on many years of experience. Forbes magazine in the US even nicknamed him ‘The Donald of Dubai’ when he found himself on their list of the World’s Billionaires for the first time last year. Photo by Lester ApuntarITP Images
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Industry CEO of the Year award: Fleming Dalgaard, CEO Gulftainer, the world’s largest privately-owned, independent port operator based in the UAE, and a company that is still rapidly expanding. Dalgaard has extensive global experience of managing large businesses, with a proven record of establishing profitable growth, both through organic expansion and through acquisitions and business partnerships. He has held various Board Memberships for the last 15 years. In a CEO magazine interview earlier this year he told us that he “believes that unless your business is innovating, it's going backwards.” Photo by Lester ApuntarITP Images