InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40 - Business and Industry
Welcome to the 2015 Arabian Business Power List, our guide to the planet’s 100 most influential young Arabs
2. Bader Al Kharafi
\nMA Al Kharafi & Sons Company
\nBader Al Kharafi is one of the most powerful men in Kuwait, as one of the heads of the family conglomerate MA Al Kharafi & Sons Company.
Established in 1956, the group is now estimated to be worth more than $8bn, with more than 135 registered companies operating in 28 countries, across sectors including construction, trading and manufacturing, investments and development, and travel and leisure. Al Kharafi took the helm as director of the group’s executive committee in 2012, following the death of his highly esteemed father, Nasser. He holds several high-profile roles within the family business, including as a board member of Gulf Bank, a board member of Foulath Holding (Bahrain Steel) and chairman and managing director of Gulf Cables & Electrical Industries. He was recently elected vice chairman of Zain Group, the telecommunications giant that operates in eight countries across the Middle East and North Africa, with about 44.3 million customers and $4.3bn in turnover.
\nIn April 2014, Coutts, the wealth division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, announced it had appointed Al Kharafi to its Middle East Advisory Board.
\nA keen advocate of youth development, he is also a board member for INJAZ, a non-government organisation that teaches students entrepreneurship and financial literacy at a time when the Gulf state is working to encourage more nationals into the private sector.
\nWith ongoing plans to expand, Al Kharafi’s influence is only expected to continue rising.
4. Khaldoon Al Mubarak
\nCEO and Chairman
\nMubadala Development Company and Manchester City Football Club
\nBanking and finance
\nSince taking over as chairman in 2008, Al Mubarak has transformed Manchester City FC from a backwater team into one of the wealthiest sporting clubs in the world that has obtained two Premier League titles and won both the League Cup and FA Cup.
\nHis business prowess also is being used to guide Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification as CEO of Mubadala, the government’s investment and development vehicle with multi-billion dollar projects and significant stakes in companies including Ferrari, AMD, the Carlyle Group and General Electric.
\nAl Mubarak is a key confidant of the emirate’s Crown Prince, holding the position of chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority and as a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
\nHe is also the chairman of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority and Emirates Global Aluminium, and is a representative on numerous other government organisations covering areas from education to urban planning. In his role as chairman of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, Al Mubarak also was instrumental in bringing the Formula One Grand Prix and the FIFA Club World Cup to Abu Dhabi.
7. Fahd Al Rasheed
\nCEO and managing director
\nKing Abdullah Economic City
\nFahd Al Rasheed is coordinating the world’s largest construction project, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). The $100bn megaproject is being built from scratch about 100km north of Jeddah with an eventual capacity to host two million people.
\nAt the centre of the city is King Abdullah Port, which is aiming to use its strategic location on the Red Sea, through which almost one-quarter of world shipping trade passes, to make it a game changer. Port manager Rayan Bukhari said in March it would steal trade from Dubai’s Jebel Ali, one of the largest in the world, by being cheaper and more efficient.
\nThe city also includes an Industrial Valley, as well as residential communities, tech clusters, universities and hospitals. Haramain Station on the eastern side will link the city to Jeddah and the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Saudi Arabia’s latest high-speed rail network. A mega-mall also is being built near the station. KAEC already has provided about 12,000 jobs and more than 70 companies are in the process of setting up bases, including multinationals Mars, Pfizer and Danone, and local family giants Abdul Latif Jameel and the Naghi Group.
\nWhen it is finished, not likely until at least the middle of the next decade, KAEC is expected to be as big as Washington DC. But in an interview with Arabian Business last year, Al Rasheed shrugged off the pressure to perform.
\n“It’s fun — every day there’s something new, it fuels you,” he said. “This is my seventh year, and it’s amazing — I’m working harder than ever.”
8. Hashim Shawa
\nChairman and General Manager
\nBank of Palestine
\nBanking and finance
\nIt was under difficult circumstances that Hashim Shawa took over the reins of his family bank. Aged 31 in 2007, succession plans were immediately fast-forwarded after the death of Shawa’s father. Gaza, where 20 percent of Bank of Palestine’s retail operations are generated, was enduring yet another conflict with Israel and the world was about to fall into the global financial crisis.
\nBut eight years on and the Bank of Palestine, under Shawa’s guidance, has become the second-largest private sector employer in Palestine, with 1,300 employees across 54 branches. The bank is expected to post a record profit for 2014 when its results are released in April. Profit during the first three quarters of last year amounted to $27.6m, despite being forced to close its Gaza branches during the area’s seven-week war with Israel in July-August.
\nShawa established his banking career with global leaders Citibank and HSBC, working in various European countries. Prior to returning to Palestine, he was director of HSBC Switzerland’s Middle East and North Africa business, with responsibility for developing the company’s private banking business in the Gulf and establish HSBC’s onshore presence in Kuwait.
\nShawa also serves as chairman or on the board of several other financial firms and is a member of the Emerging Markets Advisory Council at the International Institute of Finance Washington, DC.
9. Amal Clooney
\nDoughty Street Chambers
\nAmal Clooney (nee Alamuddin) has been defending high-profile clients in international legal cases for years but it was the announcement of her engagement to Hollywood actor George Clooney in April 2014, that really brought her under the spotlight.
\nThe lawyer, activist and author is now also somewhat of a style icon, featuring in fashion and gossip magazines worldwide. However, the highly intelligent barrister, who has degrees from Oxford University and New York University’s School of Law, had already begun gaining notoriety for handling some of the most contentious human rights cases in recent years, including that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
\nIn February, she publicly ridiculed the Canadian government for failing to do more to assist its citizen, Fahmy, who was on bail awaiting retrial after more than a year behind bars in Egypt on terrorism-related charges. Clooney remarked that Canada’s “sheepish whimpers are woefully inadequate”.
\nShe has also served on the International Court of Justice, worked in the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon, advised UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan on Syria, represented Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and is an advisor to Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa, among other accomplishments.
\nIn August 2014, she turned down an offer to join the UN’s three-member commission investigating possible war crimes during last year’s Israel–Gaza conflict, citing her consistently heavy workload.\nClooney was born in Beirut but her family emigrated to the UK in 1980 during the Lebanese Civil War.
11. Ahmad Belhoul
\nDr Ahmad Belhoul is spearheading the development of one of Abu Dhabi’s most significant projects. Masdar City, which is in the process of being built outside the UAE capital, is billed as being the world’s first sustainable eco-city. It already features the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a research institute focused on clean energy, as well as the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). But Masdar is about much more than the city; it is also building and investing in clean energy projects all over the world.
\nPrior to joining Masdar, Belhoul was the CEO of strategy and tourism sector development at Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). During his tenure at DTCM, he played a leading role in developing Dubai’s Tourism 2020 strategy. He also serves on the board of Emirates Development Bank, a financial institution set up by the UAE government to promote economic growth in the country through the provision of funding to small and medium-sized companies, industries of strategic importance and key housing developments.
\nBelhoul has a PhD from Sir John Monash University in Australia, an MSc from the University of Melbourne and a BSc from Khalifa University in the UAE.
17. Majid Jafar
\nMajid Jafar runs the region’s oldest privately held energy giant, Sharjah-based Crescent Petroleum. The firm has focused on oil and gas exploration in countries like Iraq and Egypt, and alongside sister company Dana Gas (of which Jafar is also managing director), has invested over $1bn in Kurdistan’s energy sector. That, however, is only part of Jafar’s story.
\nHe is also vice chairman of the Crescent Group, the holding company founded by his father Hamid Jafar, which includes interests in transport, logistics, private equity and property, and is also vice chairman of the Global Energy Initiative, an NGO based in New York which focuses on sustainable development through tackling climate change and energy poverty worldwide.
\nHe is also vice chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment, and the founder of the Arab Stabilisation Plan, a strategy that aims to use the private sector in the region to combat economic instability. In addition, Jafar is also chairman of the Middle East-North Africa Business Council, and holds degrees from Cambridge, London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
30. Radwa Rostom
\nRadwa Rostom is a civil engineer with a passion for sustainability and community development.
\nHer enthusiasm about the environment and knowledge of engineering led to her explore idea of addressing the lack of housing for poor communities in Cairo by providing new environmentally friendly living spaces in the city.
\nRostom currently works as a training & CSR specialist at the Solar Energy Co. Her work mainly involves managing initiatives which the company is leading in the field of social development and working with international organisations, NGOs, donor agencies, as well as governmental bodies.
\nRostom also works with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) in implementing energy management systems in Egyptian industrial facilities.
\nIn January 2014, Radwa was granted a fellowship from the DO School in Hamburg, Germany. At this time she had an idea: to provide a humane shelter for slum dwellers in Egypt. After receiving several training, workshops and coaching sessions, the idea was developed a project under the name Hand Over.
\nHand Over, a sub-project from the “Ezbet Project”, seeks to provide sustainable, affordable and durable houses for slum dwellers by empowering architecture and civil engineering students/graduates, along with the local residents, and jointly they design and implement sustainable shelters for slum dwellers.
\nIn its first year, Hand Over will rebuild one housing unit in Abu-Qarn district using the rammed earth technique, with a team formed of 27 engineering students/graduates and a group from the local residents. Once the first prototype has been successfully delivered, residents will be able to own their own homes through the offering of flexible payment arrangements.
\nHand Over’s vision is expand this solution to include all slum areas in Egypt.
31. Mariam Abultewi
\nIn an area where telecommunications are greatly restricted, with no 3G coverage, 25-year old Gazan entrepreneur, Mariam Abultewi, has created a version of Uber that works offline.
\nAbultewi came up with the idea for Wasselni when, as a 22-year-old, she was waiting for a lift in the middle of the Gaza Strip.
\nFunding for the idea wasn’t initially forthcoming when she initially pitched the idea to investors in 2011. With the help of Gaza Sky Geeks, the first start-up accelerator in the Gaza Strip, she landed an investment from Palinno, a Palestinian operation that works in both Gaza and the West Bank. It was one of the first start-up investments in Gaza, and she sees it as a step toward changing attitudes that still linger in the Middle East.\nThree years on from that first brainwave, Wasselni now has 2,000 subscribers and about 70 vetted drivers.
\nTaxi drivers and taxi companies can join the system to get ride requests. They get real time notifications from the users using the mobile and web app who connect to the internet via Wi-Fi.
\nA taxi company deals with incoming requests from customers and then forwards them to their drivers, if the drivers don’t have smartphones. The taxi drivers/companies pay a portion of their Wasselni-linked earnings back to the company.
\nWasselni also works as social network, allowing users to follow each other, find their friends’ trips, add comment on each other’s posts, and even ask to join their friends’ trips and rides.
34. Ayman Hariri
\nThe second of the five children of slain Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, Ayman Hariri is involved in running Saudi Oger, one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest construction companies and the source of the Hariri family fortune.
\nAyman made his mark on the telecommunications sector, having worked as an engineer at satellite consortium Intelsat, and also on a family-owned South African wireless carrier, 3C, but it’s in the field of property where has forged a successful career path, as vice chairman and deputy CEO of Saudi Oger.
\nHariri has handled the construction and facilities management of multi-billion dollar projects such as Princess Noura Bint Abdulrahman University for Women; King Abdullah Financial District, the $480m King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture, and the first privately-financed airport in the kingdom — the new $1.4bn Madinah Airport being built in a consortium with Turkey’s TAV and Al Rajhi Group.
\nHe also played a key part in delivering — on time — the academic and administration buildings of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). He is known for being one of the rare chief executives who combine a deep, hands-on knowledge of complex technology concepts, with an impressive history of entrepreneurial success. Just like his four other siblings, Ayman is a billionaire, but didn’t follow his father’s footsteps into politics, unlike his brother Saad, the former Lebanese prime minister.
35. Abeer Abu Ghaith
\nLiving in Palestine, Abeer Abu Ghaith never settled for a standard career, and was always an activist, volunteer and social worker. Those qualities provided her with the resources and opportunities to help her realise her entrepreneurship dream.
\nJust over two years ago, she set up StayLinked, a talent broker between skilled Palestinian freelancers and businesses with project needs from all over the world that need to outsource certain services.
\nStayLinked’s model is best described as being a hybrid between crowd-sourcing, outsourcing and freelancing channels. It’s a business model that has had a wide socioeconomic impact in West Bank and Gaza\nStayLinked also led to Abu Ghaith being branded Palestine’s first female high-tech entrepreneur.
\n“Palestinian women face a lot of challenges,” Abu Ghaith told AP earlier last year. “We have plenty of qualified women in my area who have no access to jobs. As a woman, I can help and change the world in my own way, even if the society wants to confine us in the kitchen and the house.”
\nAbu Ghaith is also the country officer at Women’s Campaign International (WCI), an international organisation working in emerging democracies and post-conflict regions around the world.
38. Talal Al Gaddah
\nMAG Property Development
\nTalal Al Gaddah runs one of Dubai’s most prominent developers, part of the city’s MAG Group. Heading the company’s six departments; finance, project management, sales, marketing, administration and legal, Al Gaddah’s ambition is to lead the firm to become one of the top five developers in the UAE, and eventually expand internationally to locations such as the Far East, the US and Europe. The company has already completed a series of high-rise towers and hotel apartment buildings in Dubai, and is working on developing more projects in Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Sharjah.
\nThe MAG Group was formed three decades ago in Abu Dhabi in 1978. Since then, it has evolved to become a powerful and vibrant group embracing more than 50 companies and branches covering almost every country in the world and employing over 2,000 personnel. The activities of the group cover different areas such as the commercial, real estate, service and industrial sectors.
40. Reem Khouri
\nUp until December 2013, Reem Khouri had a high-profile job at logistics giant Aramex, before she left to start up her own company, Kaamen.
\nKaamen — the Arabic word for untapped potential — is a social enterprise that designs and implements shared interests-based investments and programmes for corporations and measures their impact on the company’s bottom line and growth.
\nKaamen focuses on finding the untapped opportunity for profitable social impact, where the interests of a corporation meet the interests of communities, and then designs investments and programmes, making enterprises leaders and beneficiaries of social progress. Khouri works in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Palestine and has plans to move into Asia and potentially the US. Working with Fadi Ghandour at Aramex, Khouri developed a passion for supporting entrepreneurs. She supports accelerators Gaza Sky Geeks and Fast Forward in Palestine, as well as the MIT Arab business plan competition, the NYU Abu Dhabi hackathon for social good and she’s also a mentor with Oasis 500.
\nKhouri also serves on the board of directors of Ruwwad for Development, a regional not-for-profit private sector-led community empowerment organisation that helps disadvantaged communities overcome marginalisation through youth activism, civic engagement and education in Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt.
\nIn addition to this she serves on several boards, such as the Runwad Micro Venture Fund and Ethaar Journeys, as well as Nakhweh.
45. Issam AbdulRahim Kazim
\nDubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM)
\nTravel and tourism
\nEmirati Issam AbdulRahim Kazim is the chief executive of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), the new body responsible for the branding, promotion and marketing of Dubai to the world.
\nWith Dubai’s tourism vision to attract 20 million visitors per year by 2020, the corporation is dedicated to working with private and public sector tourism and commerce partners to promote Dubai’s position as a leading international business and leisure destination around the world.
\nUnder his remit he oversees the development and activities of the corporation, which was established in December 2013, as an affiliate of the Dubai Government’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
\nKazim took up this post in February 2014, joining the DTCM from the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), where he was the director of DXB Live, a subsidiary of DWTC. In his role he was responsible for creating and developing strategic live events such as Dubai Sports World, Dubai Music Week and Dubai Classics.\nHe previously worked at Nakheel and Dubai Bank. One of the initiatives Kazim reportedly is keen to establish is the setting up of more tourist information centres. At present these are only located at Dubai Airport and Dubai Cruise Terminal.
47. Omar Samra
\nTravel and tourism
\nAt the age of 16, British-born Egyptian Omar Samra climbed his first mountain in Switzerland. The experience gave him the adventure bug and in May 2007 he achieved his childhood dream and become the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to scale the 8,850-metre-high summit of Mount Everest, the world’s highest point. After his record-breaking feat, he entered the banking and private equities world in London and Hong Kong, working 15-hour days behind a desk. However, in the midst of the worst financial crisis the world has ever seen, and as he was climbing yet another mountain in the depth of the West Papuan jungle, he decided to quit the financial sector.
\nDeciding to marry his passion for travel and entrepreneurship, Samra decided, against the advice of many, to hand in his notice.\nHe spent over three years on the road, visiting over 80 countries and over 200 destinations.
\nAfter graduating with a degree in economics from the American University in Cairo and obtaining an MBA from London Business School in entrepreneurship, Samra leveraged his experiences by developing Wild Guanabana, a company which specialises in designing and creating ethical adventure travel experiences in the wild for companies in 15 countries across six continents.
49. Philippe Ghanem
\nVice chairman and executive managing director
\nBanking and finance
\nPhilippe Ghanem was one of the key forces behind the conception and creation of ADS Securities, one of the world’s fastest growing forex traders.
\nBased in Abu Dhabi, the firm is the largest brokerage by volume in the Middle East and one of the fastest growing forex and investment companies globally. Institutional clients include banks, global and regional hedge funds, asset managers, investment banks and non-bank financial institutions. These are equally split between Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
\nGhanem has a wealth of experience in both establishing and running successful entrepreneurial ventures in the financial services sector. Prior to ADS Securities, he was the founder, director and chairman of Squared Financial Services, a financial brokerage firm based in Dublin, Ireland.
\nHis expertise is in banking and financial instruments such as bonds, equities, mutual funds, commodities, derivatives, and cash and treasury management. He also has experience in trading a wide range of financial instruments as well as core asset and fund management. Ghanem was born in Switzerland and he received his bachelor of science in business administration from the International University in Geneva in 2002.
52. Elissa Freiha
\nBanking and finance
\nOne half of the founding partners of WOMENA, Elissa Freiha is changing the face of investment in the MENA region. The Emirati of Lebanese and American descent launched the women-only investment platform with her partner Chantalle Dumonceaux in 2013 to provide Gulf-based high-net-worth women with a supportive, professional network and dependable guidance to invest in new companies. Having previously worked in publishing, food and beverage, and entertainment, Freiha oversees the marketing, business development, sales, events, and member satisfaction elements of the business. WOMENA hosts monthly meetings with its members, who are introduced to pre-screened entrepreneurs, offering both sides the opportunity to form a strong investment partnership.
53. Habib Haddad
\nHabib Haddad is a serial entrepreneur, having founded Wamda, a networking platform for entrepreneurs, and Yamli.com. His various endeavours have not gone unnoticed; the World Economic Forum recognised Haddad as a Young Global Leader in 2009 and he currently serves on the Global Agenda Council on fostering entrepreneurship. He also advises several startups and non-profits. Haddad holds a bachelor of computer and communication engineering degree from the American University in Beirut and a masters in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California. Haddad also co-founded INLET (International Network of Lebanese Entrepreneurs and Technologists), an organisation geared towards promoting entrepreneurship and leadership for the Arab world.
56. Minoush Abdel-Meguid
\nBanking and finance
\nMinoush Abdel-Meguid has more than 16 years of experience in the field of investment banking and investment management. Before setting up Union Capital, she served as assistant to the chairman and head of corporate finance at Egypt’s Capital Market Authority between December, 2005 and December, 2007. In her capacity as corporate finance head, Abdel-Meguid has been part of the team leading the introduction of a new takeover chapter as well as working on a comprehensive reform plan for the division. She has also just been selected as Young Global Leader for 2015 by the World Economic Forum.
\nShe also served as a manager in the investment banking division of HSBC Investment Bank Egypt from November 1999 to April 2004 and prior to that she was a financial analyst at the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs International, London, UK.
\nAbdel-Meguid is also the founding president of the Egyptian Young Bankers Association, an Egyptian non-governmental organisation that caters for the progression of young bankers and served as chairperson of the board and editor-in-chief of the Egyptian Banker publication until 2008.
\nShe was the sole Egyptian participant at the US State Department’s International Visitors’ Leadership Program in 2005 with a focus on “Women in Economic Development”.
61. Jassim Alseddiqi
\nAbu Dhabi Financial Group
\nBanking and finance
\nIn just four years of existence, starting with two people in a small office, Jassim Alseddiqi’s Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) now manages an investment portfolio worth $1.5bn (about AED5bn) in assets. In particular, it has been making waves due to its eye-catching purchases in London, where it has secured New Scotland Yard and No.1 Palace Street. ADFG is also planning to develop a large land bank on the Black Sea in Bulgaria, as well as other sites in Serbia and Montenegro.
\nOver the last four years, the company has evolved and expanded into an integrated financial services platform under the umbrella of ADFG, branching out into real estate investments and debt structuring and management. Alseddiqi is also the chairman of Integrated Capital and First Gulf Financial Services, as well as being a board member at Tourism and Development Investment Company, Qannas Investments Limited, Northacre Plc and Abu Dhabi Capital Group. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and earned a master’s in the same subject from Cornell University in the US.
63. Abdallah Absi
\nAn Arab version of Mark Zuckerberg, Abdallah Absi is a college dropout from Lebanon who has nevertheless already started six companies. Among them are Rifflex and Zoomaal, the Arab world’s leading crowdfunding platform to support creativity. Zoomaal is funded by four major institutional investors and recently featured on CNN and in Forbes and the New York Times. Absi has won more than 10 awards for entrepreneurship and computer science, with the latest being top place in the Doha Venture Day event in Qatar in November 2013. He also won the Arab Thought Foundation’s Fikr 2013 in December 2013.
\nIn January 2014, he was recognised as a World Economic Forum ‘Global Shaper’ for the Beirut Hub. Later that year, Absi became a Middle East delegate of Stanford University’s AMENDS — a student community that enables the most promising youth change agents from across the Middle East, North Africa, and US to learn from each other and advance their work. In addition to organising StartUp Weekends in Beirut, Absi has founded the Entrepreneurship Club, known as e-Club. An initiative at the American University of Beirut, the club aims to create a network to connect aspiring businessmen and businesswomen with those who have more experience in the industry.
65. Ayah Bdeir
\nAyah Bdeir’s guiding principle is to “put the power of electronics in the hands of everyone, and to break down complex technologies so that anyone can build, prototype and invent”.
\nFrom the first prototype developed in 2008 to the 2011 launch of littleBits, an open source library of modular electronics that snap together with magnets, her concept has managed to make technology accessible across all disciplines and ages. The company, which is based in New York with funding from investors such as True Ventures, Foundry Group, and Two Sigma, has sold hundreds of thousands of units in about 80 countries.
\nIn 2011, the Museum of Modern Art, located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, added littleBits to its prestigious design collection. A Lebanese-Canadian, Bdeir earned a master’s of science degree from the MIT Media Lab and undergraduate degrees in computer engineering and sociology from the American University of Beirut.
\nShe has garnered numerous industry accolades, including a fellowship at Eyebeam Art + Technology Centre in New York City, as well as being named to Popular Mechanics’ 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream in 2014, and has spoken at TED, SXSW, Solid, and Creative Mornings. Bdeir is also the founder of Karaj, Beirut’s first non-profit lab for experimental arts, architecture and technology, and has also been a mentor on Stars of Science, the Middle East’s first reality show focusing on innovation.
66. Mohammed Khammas
\nAl Ahli Holding Group
\nJoining the family business developed by his father Nasser, a pioneer of the UAE’s manufacturing and construction industry, Mohammed Khammas has had significant influence on the growth of Al Ahli Group (AAHG).
\nIn recent years, he has helped grow the company to become a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate of more than 30 companies present in over 25 countries, employing more than 9,000 people worldwide.
\nIn addition to managing a diverse portfolio, Khammas is the first Arab who has managed to develop and sell a multi-million-dollar game development company to the Walt Disney Company.
\nDuring this process, he has established long-term strategic alliances with the global entertainment industry’s major companies.
\nToday, AAHG’s portfolio in the entertainment industry includes Dubai Outlet Mall, Gold’s Gym International franchise rights, plus exclusive rights to publish comics and activity books belonging to Marvel, Disney, Warner Bros, DC Comics, San Rio and Comicave.
\nKhammas also formed the Young Arab Leaders Organisation (YAL), which has become a platform for a new generation of Arab thinkers from more than 30 regional countries.
68. Nadine Hanafi
\nWith her passion to make complicated ideas simple, Nadine Hanafi founded We Are Visual, a company dedicated to turning mediocre PowerPoint presentations into visual experiences that “persuade, inspire and engage”, in 2013.
\nWe Are Visual specialises in creating highly visual and engaging presentations that help their clients tell a compelling story. Two years ago, Hanafi used her personal savings to start the company, and within 14 months, she grew the business to a six-figure revenue with no external capital. Based in Miami, the company serves an international clientele across five languages and works with professional speakers, entrepreneurs and Fortune 100 companies.
\nIn December 2014, it was voted Miami’s Most Innovative Startup and received the award for Best Design. Hanafi herself was named ‘Top US Entrepreneur under 35’ by the Empact Showcase and honoured at the United Nations. Originally from Morocco, Hanafi speaks five languages and is an avid traveller.
69. Ghosson Al Khaled
\nChief operating officer
\nGhosson Al Khaled has climbed the corporate ladder within her family’s business step by step. ACICO started off as an industrial company specialised in autoclaved aerated concrete in 1990, and is now a business conglomerate consisting of ACICO Industrial, ACICO Construction, ACICO Cement, ACICO Real Estate and ACICO Real Estate — Hotels.
\nThe company is listed on both Kuwait and Dubai financial markets. Working for a company with such a diverse portfolio, Al Khaled quickly became aware that her engineering degree from the Kuwait University School of Civil Engineering might not be enough for effective management. So, in a bid to understand different sides of the family business, she also earned a master’s degree in building science from the University of Southern California.
75. Hamdan Al Shamsi
\nHamdan Al Shamsi Lawyers
\nHamdan Al Shamsi is one of the leading entrepreneurs in the UAE, having founded his first company at the age of 23. Educated in the UK and having worked for some of the most recognised companies in the UAE, Al Shamsi enjoyed early success in his career. However, his passion was to always be his own boss and own his own firm. In 2011, Al Shamsi launched Hamdan Al Shamsi Lawyers and Legal Consultants, which has grown from an operation of two people to a team of over 25 within three years. It has attracted large corporations as clients, including United Technologies Company, Starz Media and German automaker Daimler-Benz.
79. Fahd Hariri
\nBanking and finance
\nFahd Hariri is the youngest son of the former Lebanese prime minister and business magnate Rafiq Hariri. While studying an architecture degree in Paris, Hariri opened an interior design shop just outside the French capital that sells furnishings to Saudi Arabia. With an estimated net worth of just over a billion dollars, Hariri’s expertise lies in property and construction. He has previously served as chairman of Saudi Oger’s subsidiary in Dubai. Hariri is also the president of Har Investment Fund, and a member of the advisory council at Lutetia Capital SAS.
85. Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon
\nOne of Qatar’s most well-known and respected residents, Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon founded perhaps the country’s most popular community website, iloveQatar.net, in 2008. He remains as chief executive of the site, and is also the founder and CEO of Haroon United Group (HUG), a holding company that has interests in brands as diverse as Shake Shack, King Koil and the Camel Company. He has also recently taken on a new role as director for marketing and communications at Qatar Stars League, the country’s top football league. As well as running his own companies, Al Haroon is also the head of innovation and interactive at Vodafone Qatar. In addition to all of that, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by government ministry ictQatar in 2011, Young Achiever of the Year by Arabian Business in 2014, and is an ambassador for Qatar’s National Cancer Programme.
90. Sami Khoreibi
\nPalestinian entrepreneur Sami Khoreibi successfully founded Candax Inc., the publicly listed energy company in Toronto, before co-founding Enviromena in Abu Dhabi in October 2007.
\nThe company has since grown to be the largest solar developer in the Middle East and North Africa region. Born in Saudi Arabia and educated in Canada, Khoreibi was only 25 years old when he first met success with Candax, which gained financing from the Canadian Investment Bank and was publicly listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
\nAfter taking on the top role at Environmena, Khoreibi has been a key part of a team that has secured 35 projects in seven countries, and has won investment from the likes of Masdar, Good Energies Invest, and Zouk Ventures. Khoreibi was named “Solar Pioneer” by the Middle East Solar Industry Association in 2014 and a Young Global Leader at the 2012 World Economic Forum. His experience means he now also frequently acts as a commentator for global media houses such as Time, CNN, the BBC and the Financial Times.
93. Najla Al Midfa
\nUnited Arab Bank
\nBanking and finance
\nNajla Al Midfa was the first ever Emirati female to join the board of an Arab bank, having landed the plum role at United Arab Bank in 2012. But Al Midfa, born in Sharjah, has a pretty impressive CV beyond the bank. She has an MBA from Stanford University, and is also on the board of both the Sharjah Business Women Council and the Young Arab Leaders.
\nShe has also had stints working for PWC, Shell, Google and McKinsey & Company, as well as the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise and Development. She runs an online careers advice office known as “Khayarat”, telling The National newspaper last year: “I will guide the students and make sure they know what they want to do, that their resumes are up-to-par, that they are prepared for interviews, but also that they are going after careers and jobs that actually suit them. It’s about exploring their passions.
\n“I was very fortunate that in each role I’ve had, I had a mentor who guided me towards the next step,” Al Midfa explains. “In many ways, I feel like I’ve come full circle and now I’m giving something back.”
96. Mohammed Bin Zaal
\nLush, luxurious and secluded, it’s no surprise that some of Dubai’s wealthiest residents have chosen to live in Al Barari. And with villa prices at the site based just off Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (formerly Emirates Road) starting at AED20m, it certainly takes deep pockets to secure your foothold there. The project has focused on sustainability, using recycled water from its own plant to nourish more than a million trees and shrubs. While Al Barari is a relatively new project — originally launched in 2005 - its founders, the Zaal family, are certainly not. The family can trace its roots in the region back until the early nineteenth century. Mohammed Zaal, the young CEO of Al Barari, is just the latest scion of the Zaal clan, and has just announced the latest addition to the community, the Nest. He is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Science at Cranfield University.
100. May Habib
\nMay Habib is the founder and CEO of Qordoba, a language services and digital content company based in Dubai that works with over 650 linguists in 30 countries. She was formerly the mergers and acquisitions director at Mubadala and an investment banker at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, New York.
\nBorn in rural Lebanon, the eldest of eight children, Habib emigrated with her family to Canada at the age of eight. She studied at Harvard, where she headed the news board for the college newspaper, an experience that helps her bridge the often tenuous gap between writing, profitability and speed. Qordoba employs 31 permanent staff. ‘If you had told someone you were building a tech team in the Middle East a few years ago, they would have thought you were insane! Today we’re showing we can write software here that disrupts industries,’ Habib said recently. Last year, the firm raised $1.5m in funding — from Silicon Oasis Ventures and MENA Venture Investments — which it plans to invest in product development.