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Fri 6 Nov 2009 04:00 AM

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Night to remember

CEO Middle East gathers together the region’s top executives to celebrate its annual awards ceremony.

Night to remember


CEO Middle East gathers together the region’s top executives to celebrate its annual awards ceremony.

The GGC’s top executives, leading managers and CEOs all gathered together to celebrate CEO Middle East’s annual award ceremony last month. Held at Dubai’s prestigious Grosvenor House on September 28, CEO Middle East — along with sponsors
Emirates NBD

, HP and VistaJet — honoured 14 of the region’s leading businessmen and women, all of whom have continued to excel in their industry during what has been the toughest of years.

Karam Awad, managing director of ITP Executive, which publishes CEO Middle East, began the ceremony with a tribute not only the region’s CEOs but also their CFOs as they have fought together to meet new challenges amid the downturn.

“It is our financial chiefs who have had to call the shots,” he said. “They have had to make major re-adjustments, or in some cases, totally rebuild our business models. Revenues that we took for granted have disappeared and cash flow has become more critical than ever,” he continued. “At the end of the day, balance sheets still have to balance. And it is our CFOs that have been the real stars.”

Awad continued with the acknowledgment that although times have been difficult, there is light at the end of the tunnel. He congratulated the city of Dubai on the opening of its metro system — which opened just days previously — Saudi Arabia’s continued economic growth, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s escalating internet penetration rate and Qatar’s economic diversification.

He noted the power of emerging economies and the GCC’s position alongside China and India and how each will continue to shape the world over the coming years.

“As the world’s economies take their shape, many experts believe — and it is a view I share — that the next five years will see the GCC become the third new economic superpower,” he said.

Next on stage was the evening’s special guest speaker and recipient of CEO Middle East’s Lifetime Achievement award, Riad Kamal, founder and CEO of the UAE’s largest construction firm by market capitalisation,
Arabtec

. Kamal continued to highlight the challenges the region faces amid the global downturn. Liquidity is the biggest obstacle holding GCC firms back, he said, as he urged banks to relax their strict lending criteria, allowing companies to continue to grow.

More than 350 companies operating across all sectors in the GCC countries were reviewed for the awards, with three nominations shortlisted for each of the 14 categories; Lifetime Achievement, Financial Services, Corporate Social Responsibility, Banking, Entrepreneurship, Construction, Hospitality, Aviation, International Achievement, Property, Visionary of the Year, Young CEO, Businesswoman of the Year and Man of the Year.

The panel of judges, which included several senior directors of ITP Publishing, spent months deciding each award winner before finally deciding. On stage to hand out each prize was Walid Akawi, chief executive of ITP Publishing.

Click here to view this year’s CEO Middle East award winners.

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