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Sun 2 Aug 2009 04:00 AM

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30 under 30

If you're good enough, you're old enough and it's not just a case of having the right family name, says Claire Ferris-Lay.

30 under 30

When Abdulrahman Bin Ismail Tarabzouni spoke in front of Saudi Arabia's HRH King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, as he performed his duties as Master of Ceremonies at Saudi Aramco's 75th anniversary last year, few in the audience would have believed he was still just 24 years old.

The cynical might be forgiven for thinking Tarabzouni's presence at the prestigious event was as a result of nepotism - you don't get to speak in front of such a select audience unless you're related to someone who can open a few doors, I can hear you say.

But it doesn't take long to work out why that wasn't the case. For the now 25-year-old, the event was just another step in his remarkable rise up through the business ranks.

Tarabzouni, you see, is already responsible for bringing an additional $39bn worth of business to software giant Oracle Corporation, and has held leading positions at Microsoft and Morgan Stanley amongst others. As if that wasn't enough, he is also the CEO of his own hybrid venture capital fund, Mubadiroon.

Tarabzouni is proof that making the cut in our 30 under 30 list doesn't just depend on the family name. Even those with names you'll recognise - the Hariris and Al Fayeds for example - are demonstrating that they can make their own way. 22-year-old Omar Al Fayed last month quit his position as board member at his father's firm, Harrods, in order to concentrate on his education.

Salama Alabbar's father might have built Dubai Mall, but that doesn't mean she spends all day shopping - although she does plan to roll out her new accessories boutique across the GCC.

This month's 30 under 30 list covers a variety of occupations from internet start-ups and fashion labels to established construction firms and oil and gas companies. It is a unique insight into the next generation of Arab leaders. Or as is fast becoming the case, the current generation.

Claire Ferris-Lay is the deputy editor of CEO Middle East.

Jessy 10 years ago

I respectfully think this article is a joke. To say that these people have risen to rank solely on the basis of merit in the middle east is a joke. Tarabzouni, by default, comes from a family with means. To say that he has become a multi-billion $ generating tycoon by 24-5 is also simply wrong. People are given opportunities in the middle east and some take them, others don't. You can call it what you like, but the opportunity was not created by any of these people, they were given to them. They simply had to say ok, i'll do it. For those of us under 30's who really work hard for our money, I wouldn't want to be considered even a near equal to those you have mentioned. Because payoff is the difference between hard work that is noticed and hard work that is just hard work. We are better because we know the value of the dollar and we check our paycheck at the end of the week. We, unknowns, are simply better people...

Arnie S 10 years ago

Merit? What merit? If people were being promoted on merit in the Middle East, it wouldn't be in the mess it is in. Take a look at. for instance, the issue of accountability. What accountability? 'nuff said.

X 10 years ago

You know what they say about succuss; it comes with its accomplices, jealousy and hatred. Tarabzouni, some people who may have not been 'recognized' for the so called hard work they do, as you have been will disregard the work you have done, the achievements you have earned and the relationships you have established over the course of your life. Its actually interesting, to see how people can feel strongly against someone they don't even know. To say that they claim themselves as 'better people' than you without even have met you just shows you how invalid and 'ignorant' these once again so called 'better' people's statements and thoughts may be. To even say that these opportunities were not created for 'these people' but just given to them shows you the immaturity that there is out there against those who have achieved success as you have. There really is no such thing as unknown people, many people have built themselves from nothing and now are the prominent leaders of the modern world. It is those people who experience difficulty in 'trying' to accomplish half the success that you have that boost up the lack of self esteem and prosperity they may have by claiming that 'they at least know the value of a dollar'. - Amateurs.

Transparency 10 years ago

There are many smart young people belonging to the GCC. Youngsters with excellent education from the top universities of the world. But not all of them deserve to be at the top position they've received immediately after graduating. I am a firm believer of the concept that everyone has to be put through grind before being given something which he deserves. Basically he should earn it. Lets face it GCC nationals are being fast tracked to CEO and Senior Management positions without having done the hardwork an ordinary expat would have in his career.

Alias 10 years ago

Who says Tarabzouni didn’t work hard? He certainly worked ‘smart’!

Jessy 10 years ago

First of all, I'd like to agree with "Transparency"... Second of all I'd like to point out the X from LA has a completely California way of looking at the world. I am not looking for recognition from the media at all. I'd much rather be poor and unknown than rich and in the spotlight. The issue here is the fact that people are not put in the spotlight because the deserve it, but simply because of who they are. Everyone celebrates individuals who are privileged by birth and rise to media stardom through unimpressive acts. Whether you are impressed by the guys in this article is relative. The truth of the matter is the fact that kids are risen to rank way before their time. And with daddy's money, they can hire consultants who make decisions for them and they get all the praise. I'm not saying this guy never worked for it or that he does not deserve praise. I'm saying, he is not where he is based off merit, and there are many, many more people deserving praise (who are under 30).

X 10 years ago

Just as you have assumed that the logic behind my thinking is due to the fact that I have a 'californian' way of thinking, you have assumed that Tarabzouni has not achieved what he has based on merit. Heres a little surprise; your wrong. Not only do I not live in LA, have not been raised there, and studied there; the 'californian' way if thinking as you so eloquently put it is most definitely not my way of thinking. So you back up your argument but stating that what I have said was due to stereotypically pointing out a 'way of thinking', well your very wrong on that point & its simply irrelevant to reason someone's beliefs based on where they live or where they are from. Just as how you assume and feel SO SURE that Tarabzouni has not achieved is accomplishments based on merit. Have you ever met him? Do you know his background? Have you ever even seen him in person? If the answer is no, which it most probably is, your probably as wrong as reasoning the way I think by the fact that I ' live ' in LA.