Dr Saad Al Barrak is the brains behind the transformation of Kuwait's local telecoms brand MTC into the dynamic global firm now known as Zain
, the Arab region's third largest telecom.
This year has been a busy one for Al Barrak who has battled to combat the impact of the economic downturn, which he expects will cut his $9bn revenue forecast by $1bn in 2009.
In November, Zain
posted a 52.8 percent fall in third quarter profits to $144.3m, nevertheless its customer base increased by 28 percent to 71.8 million during the first nine months of the year.
In October, Al Barrak halted the sale of Zain
's African assets to appease an Asian consortium of investors who are looking to buy a 46 percent stake in the firm from the Kharafi conglomerate, a major shareholder in Zain
. If the sale - which values Zain
at around $13.7bn - goes ahead it will be one of the biggest acquisitions of a Gulf company.
, which has a presence across the Middle East and Africa, operates in 23 countries. Al Barrak holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering, an MSc in Systems Engineering from Ohio University, and a PhD in Information Systems & Technology Management from the University of London. He is also a Harvard alumnus.