REVEALED: Most powerful Emiratis

See photos of some of the most influential Emiratis of the year
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495 Joelle Mardinian
\nTV personality
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nJoelle Mardinian is a renowned TV personality on MBC’s weekly reality show entitled, “Joelle”. She is also a prominent business women and a leading beauty expert in the Middle East.
\nPresently, joelle is integral to the luxury beauty sector of the GCC, with her leading beauty centers anchored in every major city among Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Riyadh, and Doha.
\nShe has been recognized as the ‘Arab Woman of the Year’ in 2010 and was listed among the 100 most powerful Arab women in 2013 for her success and accomplishments throughout the Middle East.
\nToday Joelle is one of the most influential and inspiring personalities in the Arab world. She is the official regional creative director for one of the world’s most renowned cosmetic brand “MaxFactor” and is soon set to launch her own skin care and professional hair care brand ‘ Joelle Paris ‘
\nFurthermore joelle is launching the first celebrity cosmetic clinic named ‘ Clinica’ in  collaboration with A list doctors, surgeons, researchers and beauty consultants who are celebrities in their own field.

\nSee the full list of the 500 most influential Arabs in the world here
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371 Khalid Bin Kalban
\nDubai Investments
\nBanking & Finance
\nThings couldn't be any better for Khalid Bin Kalban, the CEO of Dubai Investments. His firm, the largest investment company listed on the DFM, saw its net income climb 58 percent in 2012 on the back of a recovery in real estate sector and markets rebounding.
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301 Saeed Al Fahim
\nAl Fahim heads up a top real estate services firm in the UAE.
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278 Mohammed Saeed Harib
\nMohammed Saeed Harib was just 19 years old when he wrote Freej, a six-page study book.
\nIn 2003 the Emirati got his first big break after Freej was adopted by Media City, who translated it to the screen. The show, which features four elderly national ladies living in a rapidly evolving Dubai, premiered in 2006, a year after Lammtara Pictures was established to oversee its production. With the show’s success, many doors have opened for Harib. Last year, it was announced that Harib will contribute to the film adaptation of Gibran’s The Prophet.
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273 Dr Karim El Solh
\nCo-founder and CEO
\nGulf Capital
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nBanking and Finance
\nKarim El Solh is co-founder and CEO of Gulf Capital, one of the largest Middle Eastern private equity firms, established with a capital base of $330m.
\nEl Solh holds a bachelors degree in civil engineering from Cornell University, an MBA from Georgetown University, a Ph.D. in economics from the Institute D’Etudes Politiques de Paris and a Certified Management Accountant diploma. The last few months have been a busy period for El Solh, who has helped the firm acquire a 51 percent in Dubai’s OCB Oilfield Services in February. He has also previously said that the firm is exploring a potential initial public offering (IPO) for GMS, one of the biggest assets in its portfolio, on a major stock market such as London in two years› time.
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270 Mahdi Ali
\nUAE football manager
\nAli took over as manager of the national side in August 2012 after a succession of foreign coaches met with little success.
\nThe former Al Ahli midfielder had previously led the side to London 2012, the first time the country has qualified for the Olympics. Although the UAE failed to make it through to the second round, the team went onto to secure the title at the 21st Gulf Cup in January, securing the country’s second Gulf Cup title in six years.
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269 Marwan Bin Ghalaita
\nAs the CEO of one of Dubai’s most important regulatory bodies, RERA, Marwan Bin Ghalaita literally has thousands of investors hanging on his every word.
\nRERA has found itself at the centre of several real estate disputes over the last few years, from Nakheel’s decision to ban several hundred residents from using its beaches on the Palm Jumeirah due to unpaid service charges, to delayed real estate projects. But he has continued to plough on with introducing new initiatives including rental price bands for each area of Dubai. Given that property prices in the emirate are starting to show signs of recovery, Bin Ghalaita is expected to face a few busy years ahead ensuring that prices are not driven up by speculators from across the Arab world and beyond.
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263 Mohammed Al Hammadi
\nEmirates Nuclear Energy Corporation
\nMohammed Al Hammadi is the CEO of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
\nAl Hammadi is currently working hard to ensure that ENEC can deliver clean, efficient nuclear energy. As energy demand in the UAE grows at an annual rate of about 9 percent, ENEC’s role is significant to the future growth of the nation.
\nThe UAE’s nuclear ambition is currently the most advanced of the GCC states, with plans to open its first nuclear reactor in 2017 and a second in 2020.
\nLast month ENEC applied to the UAE’s Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) for a licence to build the country’s third and fourth nuclear reactors.
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262 Ayman Sahli
\nAyman Sahli joined Gulf Pharmaceuticals Industries – or Julphar as it is more widely known - in 2008 as general manager.
\nBut, having excelled in leading the company and strengthening its operations through networking with various countries and their respective pharmaceuticals markets, Sahli was appointed as CEO. He is a holder of a doctorate in chemistry and specialises in pharmaceutical research and manufacturing.
\nEarlier this year, Julphar opened its first overseas plant, in Ethiopia. More are on the way, with factories planned for both Saudi Arabia and Algeria.
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259 Zeina Tabari
\nChief corporate affairs officer
\nDrake & Scull International
\n(UAE) Jordan
\nWhen Zeina Tabari was offered a three-month internship in DSI’s HR department, she took the opportunity.
\nBefore she knew it, she was offered a full-time job. Today, as chief corporate affairs officer of DSI, Tabari heads up the company’s investor relations and has been touted as a future CEO.
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252 Khalid Al Kaf
\nEtihad Etisalat (Mobily)
\nSaudi Arabia (UAE)
\nAlthough an engineer by trade, Khalid Al Kaf appears to be just as much a businessman at heart, as he runs Etihad Etisalat, or Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second telecoms firm. Mobily, an affiliate of the UAE’s Etisalat attracted eleven million subscribers after its first two and half years of operations, representing a 40 percent market share.
\nThe company enjoyed surging profit growth in the last quarter of 2012, outperforming analysts’ forecasts with earnings of $501m, despite a decline in net income from its main competitor, Saudi Telecom Company. Net profit increased eleven percent while revenue from data and corporate customer will continue to drive growth, the operator said. In February, shareholders approved a decision to raise Mobily’s capital by ten percent to SAR7.7bn ($2.05bn).
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247 Ingie Chalhoub
\nPresident and MD
\nEtoile Group
\nUAE (Syria)
\nIngie Chalhoub, president and managing director of Etoile Group, is integral to the luxury retail sector of the UAE.
\nSpearheading the fashion powerhouse since establishing the operation in 1983, Chalhoub has brought over 200 international ultra-luxury brands to the region. Among those names are Chanel, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Tod’s, John Galliano and Hogan.
\nShe employs 400 people, operates over 60 high-end fashion boutiques across six countries and has even launched her own fashion line, Ingie Paris.
\nIn 2005 Chalhoub opened luxury fashion concept, Etoile La Boutique.
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230 Mohannad Sweid
\nUAE (Syria)
\nSweid managed interior consulting and contracting companies in the US and Middle East for 25 years before co-founding Depa Interiors in 1996. The firm acquired the Italy-based contracting company Depa before moving it to Dubai. Through a number of other acquisitions and partnerships the firm became the Depa United Group in 2006.
\nThe company specialises in the full-scope, turnkey fit-out and furnishing of five-star luxury hotels, yachts, apartments, and other fine private and public facilities and employs more than 8000 people across 15 countries.
\nIn 2008, it became a public company when it listed its shares on the Nasdaq Dubai.
\nThe firm’s projects include fitting out the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa and five hotels on Yas Island.
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223 Rafic Fakih
\nManaging Director
\nEmirates Fast Food Company
\nAs managing director of Emirates Fast Food Company, Rafic Fakih has the UAE rights to one of the most successful fast-food brands in the world, McDonald’s. Overcoming increasing concern about diabetes and the emergence of new “healthy” takeaway outlets, the Quick Service Restaurant is only expanding, with 108 outlets opened since it was launched in the UAE in 1994. Fakih aims to increase that number to 150 by the end of the year.
\nRecent figures revealed that 900,000 people a day eat in McDonald’s across the GCC. The annual revenues come in at $750m, meaning that the GCC population is spending around $2m a day eating in one of the region’s 369 outlets. The chain intends to grow to 585 restaurants across the region by the end of the year, with almost 50 percent of the QSR market.
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219 Nashwa Al Ruwaini
\nUAE (Egypt)
\nCairo-born Nashwa Al Ruwaini is the CEO of the UAE-based Pyramedia and director of the Middle East International Film Festival. She started her career on the radio in Qatar at the age of 15, before becoming a TV presenter on Qatar TV.
\nShe later moved to London where she worked with MBC, before moving back to establish the channel’s Cairo office. In 1998, she finally established her own production company Pyramedia, which is now one of the largest in the Middle East.
\nShe has earned the title “Oprah of the Middle East” after hosting her self-titled chat show, during which she discusses numerous sensitive topics including the role of women in religion, AIDS and child abuse. Al Ruwaini also brought Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? to the region.
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202 Moafaq Ahmad Al Gaddah
\nMAG Group
\nUAE (Syria)
\nMoafaq Ahmad Al Gaddah established Moafaq Al Gaddah (MAG) Group in Abu Dhabi in 1978 and has built it up to be one of the largest companies in the region, consisting of 50 companies and branches across the Middle East, and in Asia, Europe and Africa, employing 2000 people. The group covers activities in commercial, real estate, industrial, cultural, tourism and service sectors.
\nAl Gaddah is also a member of the Syrian Business Council in the UAE, the World Economic Forum in Davos and the Arab Business Council in Cairo. He founded the first Arab fund to support Arab families and is lauded for his philanthropy, including sponsoring Dubai Care, a charity that promotes children’s access to primary school education in 28 countries, providing financial support and assistance for organisations assisting handicapped people and supporting the Arab Family Organisation.
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199 Muna Al Gurg
\nDirector of Retail
\nAl Gurg Group
\nMuna Al Gurg, a graduate of London Business School, leads the retail division of the family run Easa Saleh Al Gurg group, steering the firm’s strategy and operational development for its international retail brands which include Benetton, Siemens, Unilever, IDdesign and Dulux paints. She was previously on the board of the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre for about six years.
\nThe group started Al Gurg’s Women’s Empowerment Forum. Al Gurg is also a board member of the UAE chapter of Young Arab Leaders and their vice chairperson. She is a recipient of the Emirates Women’s Award.
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194 Sultan Al Jaber
\nSultan Al Jaber is at the forefront of the UAE’s plan to remodel itself as a nexus of environmentally friendly technology, as the country bids to wean itself off hydrocarbon revenues and builds its own human capital base simultaneously.
\nMasdar may have delayed its expansion plans slightly due to the economic climate, but building is still continuing. Elsewhere, Al Jaber holds the senior project manager position at Mubadala, as well as board positions at Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding Company and the American University of Dubai.
\nIn 2009, Al Jaber was invited by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon to serve as a member of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC). In the same year, he coordinated Masdar’s participation in the UAE’s successful bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Masdar City.
\nThe Masdar CEO has a PhD in business and economics from the UK’s Coventry University and as Arabian Business went to press, he was appointed Minister of State in a newly reshuffled UAE cabinet.
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185 Mohammed Nasr Abdeen
\nUnion National Bank
\nUAE (Egypt)
\nBanking & Finance
\nAbu Dhabi-based Union National Bank is one of the UAE’s largest lenders, with 49 locations across the country.
\nIt is headed by Mohammed Nasr Abdeen, who has steered the bank through the economic crisis with a conservative approach to lending. Abdeen is also vice-chairman of the bank’s new Egypt operation. The bank reported a small increase in first quarter net profit, beating Reuters’ analyst forecasts, helped by an increase in net interest income and income from Islamic financing.
\nNet profits at the bank rose 3.2 percent to AED471.1m (US$128.26m) compared to AED456.36m in the year-ago period, UNB said in a bourse statement.
\nEarlier this month, UNB - Abu Dhabi’s fourth-biggest lender - said it had already repaid half the $871m in federal government loans it was paid in 2009 after the global financial crisis.
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178 Khalid Al Malik
\nDubai Properties
\nKhalid Al Malik is group CEO of Dubai Properties Group, the real estate arm of Dubai Holding, where he is responsible for directing the group’s business strategy and implementation across a broad portfolio.
\nDPG is responsible for developing, managing and servicing a wide range of prominent properties, communities, districts and destinations in Dubai including Jumeirah Beach Residence, The Walk, Dubailand and Business Bay. DPG is heavily focused on the further development of Dubailand, which welcomed 13m visitors during 2011. The developer is in the process of building City of Arabia, Dubai Lifestyle City and Palmarosa.
\nAl Malik was previously CEO of Dubai-based Tatweer where he led its diverse portfolio of development initiatives across a number of sectors including; Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai industrial City and the leisure portfolio within Dubailand. Al Malik was also director of operations at the Dubai Development and Investment Authority where he was involved in initiatives to develop SME programmes as well as Dubai Mercantile Exchange.
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172 Hind Seddiqi
\nVice president
\nAhmed Seddiqi & Sons
\nHind Seddiqi is considered a role-model for Emirati women in the workforce.
\nShe broke with tradition to become the first female family member to join the corporate office of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. After joining as an intern, she has risen quickly through the ranks.
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170 Nabil Habayeb
\nPresident, Middle East
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nNabil Habayeb is the Middle East, North Africa & Turkey region President and CEO of General Electric, the biggest maker of power-generation equipment. From Dubai he has been steering the company’s expansion and development across the region.
\nHabayeb, a native of Lebanon and a mechanical engineering graduate of Syracuse University joined GE Power Systems’ Field Engineering Programme in 1982.
\nHabayeb expects “double digit growth” in its sales from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan, as governments invest billions of dollars in their infrastructure, move towards energy efficiency and meet the needs of their growing populations. In Libya alone, Habayeb estimates as much as $10bn in revenue from Libya, as the North African country vies to rebuild its economy, infrastructure, and institutions, and respond to the demands of its population. In 2011, GE earned about $8.6bn in revenue from the region.
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162 Nezar Nagro
\nRotana Media Services
\nUAE (Saudi Arabia)
\nNezar Nagro heads up Rotana Media Services (RMS), one of the largest media groups in the MENA region.\nThe Dubai-based firm sells and promotes all of Rotana’s TV stations, Fox Movies, Fox, LBC SAT, Rotana Magazine, Radio Stations as well as many other placements. The company, which was founded in 2004 and is owned by the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and News Corp, has regional offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dubai, Beirut and Cairo.
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147. Iskander Najjar
\nAlpari ME
\nUAE (Jordan)
\nBanking & Finance
\nNajjar heads up Alpari ME DMCC, one of the Gulf’s most innovative currency & commodity trading brokerages. He has been instrumental in transforming the online trading industry in the Middle East. This began nearly a decade ago with online trading still at its infancy globally. As the CEO of Alpari ME DMCC, Najjar has positioned the firm as one of the most transparent and trusted online trading brokers operating regionally. Alpari ME DMCC is part of the Alpari group of companies, a worldwide broker with more than twelve years of experience in global financial markets and is one of the fastest growing providers of online foreign exchange (Forex, FX), commodities and contracts for difference (CFDs) trading services for private and institutional clients.
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146. Ala’a Eraiqat
\nAbu Dhabi Commercial Bank
\nBanking & Finance
\nAla’a Eraiqat has served as the CEO of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), the UAE’s third largest lender, since 2009. Prior to his appointment he served as the lender’s deputy CEO and director of Al Dhabi Brokerage Services. Eraiqat has held senior positions within Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, and other financial institutions. Eraiqat received the Asian Banker Promising Young Banker Award for the Gulf Region in 2007 on 16 March 2008. In 2009, he was chosen by Arabian Business as one of GCC’s Most Admired Executives.
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141. Manahel Thabet
\nUAE (Yemen)
\nThe youngest – and only – Arab with a PhD in Financial Engineering, she writes research papers on quantum mathematics. Her work to revolutionize our understanding of math and physics is poised to earn her a second PhD. Thabet, the winner of L’Officiel’s Inspirational Woman of the Year award in 2010, is also an active member of MENSA, Young Arab Leaders, and the International Association of Financial Engineers. This is all in addition to her day job as President of SmartTips Consultants, a management consultancy.
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140. Raja Al Gurg
\nManaging Director
\nEasa Saleh Al Gurg Group
\nCulture & Society
\nRaja Easa Saleh Al Gurg wears many hats. Not only is she the managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, the firm of which her father is chairman, but she is also president of the Dubai Business Women’s Council. Al Gurg is also deputy chairperson of the board of directors at Dubai Healthcare City Authority, and a board member at both the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Dubai Women’s Council. She is also a member of the Dubai Economic Council.
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135. Ramzi Raad
\nChairman & CEO
\nTBWA/RAAD Middle East
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nRaad graduated from the American University of Beirut and began his advertising career in 1967. For the following twelve years he helped to expand the first Middle East regional agency network, by helping establish its branches in Kuwait and Bahrain in the early seventies. As a result of the eruption of the civil war in his native Lebanon, he was the first Lebanese ad man to move to the Gulf where he settled in Dubai in October 1975. In 1982 he moved to Paris and two years later he transferred to London for the next four years. He returned to Dubai in 1986 and it has remained his base of operations ever since.
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132. Nisreen Shocair
\nVirgin Megastore Middle East
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nNisreen Shocair took over the helm of Virgin Megastores, Middle East in 2006 and has overseen the brand’s transformation from a CD and DVD store to a one-stop shop for music, video and multimedia entertainment. Shocair, who grew up in Nigeria, started her entertainment career working at a local Blockbuster store in Texas before finishing her degree and joining Sony in the early 1990s. In addition to her role at Virgin, Shocair also sits on the advisory board of several digital and environmental start-ups.
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131. Fatima Al Jaber
\nChief operating officer
\nAl Jaber Group
\nNow 43 years old, Al Jaber Group is one of the UAE’s top companies. In her position as chief operating officer of the Abu Dhabi-based group, Fatima Al Jaber oversees more than 60,000 staff and manages around $4.9bn in assets. The conglomerate, which has built a number of iconic projects across the UAE, was founded by her father, Obaid Al Jaber, 40 years ago. Prior to her appointment at the firm four years ago Al Jaber had a hugely successful career at the public works department at Abu Dhabi Municipality. She is a regular speaker at business conferences across the region as well as a high profile ambassador for women in the workplace. Al Jaber was the first Emirati woman to be elected to the board of directors at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.
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129. Raja Trad
\nLeo Burnett (MENA)
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nTrad is the CEO of Leo Burnett Group MENA, a major integrated communications network headquartered in Dubai, and with offices in Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuwait, Beirut, Amman, Cairo and Casablanca. Through solid and expansive partnerships with its multinational clients and through the strong growth of its regional and local accounts, Leo Burnett MENA has become one of the region’s largest and most successful agencies.
\nNow a member of the Leo Burnett Worldwide Global Leadership Council, Trad began his career in advertising in 1978 as an account executive with Young & Rubicam on the P&G account in Beirut and Athens. In 1981, he joined H&C Leo Burnett Beirut as an account director, and in 1984 he was named regional account director on the Philip Morris account.
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123. Nayla Al Khaja
\nFilm Producer
\nArts & Entertainment
\nNayla Al Khaja, the UAE’s first ever female filmmaker, has already made three short features in her brief career. One of Al Khaja’s films won a prize at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2007. In addition, the Emirati has also set up her own production company (D-SEVEN), and she also heads up the UAE’s first official film club. In December, the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority commissioned Al Khaja and Ali Mostafa to make films for a new initiative, Soul of Dubai.
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118. Matter Al Tayer
\nHe will always be known as the man who built the Dubai Metro. In the past couple of years, Al Tayer saw much of the project complete with the opening of the Green Line. But that is just part of his task, as he continues to oversee the many road and other major infrastructure projects in Dubai.
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115. Salma Al Hareb
\nEconomic Zones World
\nFormer lab technologist Salma Hareb studied for diplomas in IT and business while also holding down a job at Dubai’s Department of Health before she decided on a change of career. In 1997, she started working as a planner for Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), the operator of one of Dubai’s busiest free zones. Hareb quickly moved up the ranks and in 2005 was appointed the CEO of JAFZA and parent company Economic Zones World.
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114. Ali Rashid Lootah
\nLast year was a controversial one for the Nakheel chairman with the on-going row with residents on the Palm Jumeirah over service fees. Undeterred, Lootah has been busy rolling out a string of big new projects including the new Nakheel Mall and the Palma Villas. The company announced a 57 per cent profit surge to AED2.017bn for the year ending December 31 2012.
\nThe company also saw revenues come in at AED7.8 billion, up 91 per cent over the same period. The company said it handed over approximately 4,600 units since the start of its restructure until December 2012, predominantly in Palm Jumeirah, Al Furjan, International City, Jumeirah Village, Jumeirah Park, and Jumeirah Heights residential developments. Nakheel said it completed interest and profit payments of around AED800 million to all lenders in 2012, and has made cash payments of around AED10 billion to various trade creditors and contractors since the start of its restructure. Long term customer liabilities have been significantly reduced - amicably - by around AED7.3 billion.
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112. Moh-Din BinHendi
\nBinHendi Enterprises
\nMoh-Din BinHendi started his career as the director of Dubai Airport Customs before being promoted to direct general of Dubai’s Department of Civil Aviation in 1979. The Emirati is best known for BinHendi Enterprises, a Dubai-based conglomerate, which he established. Today, the firm operates 29 fashion, jewellery, accessory and food retail outlets, while its trading division reaches in excess of one thousand retailers. In addition to his business commitments, BinHendi also sits on the board at Dubai Aviation College.
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111. Abdulfattah Sharaf
\nBanking & Finance
\nAbdulfattah Sharaf became the first CEO for HSBC’s UAE division when he was appointed in January 2010. Sharaf spent thirteen years at NBD before joining HSBC, and also spent a short period overlooking the global giant’s retail offering before taking on the top position.
\nIn February, the Middle East unit of the banking giant reported a 67 percent increase in profits to $1.4bn. That impressive figure came despite a global $900m cost-cutting drive that spurred it the lender to close sixteen businesses across the world.
\nSharaf, a graduate of The University of Denver, is also a board member of the Network International, an advisory board member of HDG Mansur - USA and a member of Young President Organisation.
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110. Ahmad Julfar
\nGroup CEO
\nAhmad Julfar was given the role of CEO of the UAE’s biggest telecoms company in August 2011. Previously COO and general manager for Dubai operations, and an employee at the firm since 1986, Julfar has played a significant part in Etisalat’s growth over the years. He holds two degrees, one in civil engineering and one in computer science, both from the Gonzaga University in Washington. State-backed Etisalat, which operates in seventeen countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a profits of $492.79m in the first quarter, down from the year-earlier period. The former monopoly had reported declining profits in seven of the previous eight quarters. The Abu Dhabi firm’s profits have slid in the last year as rival operator du, which ended Etisalat’s domestic monopoly in 2007, won market share and internet-based phone calls hit the high-margin international calls business.
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107. Yousif Abdulghani
\nManaging Director
\nMcDonald’s Middle East Development Company
\nUAE (Bahrain)
\nAbdulghani oversees all the 7 McDonald’s franchises in the GCC, and has a lot on his plate - between them they have 900,000 customers a day spending $2m a day on average. He started his career with McDonald’s in Bahrain in 1994 as a Managing Partner before moving to McDonald’s Corporation in late 2000. In January 2001, he took on the position of Deputy Managing Director in McDonald’s Egypt, where he was in charge of restaurant operations and development. After his success in growing McDonald’s business in Egypt, Yousif was offered the position of Managing Director in Malaysia in 2004.
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106. Patrick Chalhoub
\nJoint CEO
\nChalhoub Group
\nUAE (Syria)
\nCreated by Michel Chalhoub in 1955, the Chalhoub Group is recognised as one of the leading forces in the luxury retail business in the Middle East. Maintaining its family owned heritage, today the group - co-led by Patrick Chahoub - specializes in the retail and distribution of renowned brands within the sectors of beauty, fashion and gifts. The Chalhoub Group has a presence in 14 countries and the management of over 400 retail outlets, and has partnersedwith prestigious houses such as Baccarat, Christofle, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Nina Ricci, to name only a few. Patrick Chalhoub joined the Chalhoub Group in 1979. Charged with distributing perfumes in Kuwait, he made the division a commercial success within three years. He then became joint CEO of the regional businesses, overseeing operations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain.
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105. Mishal Kanoo
\nDeputy chairman
\nKanoo Group
\nUAE (Bahrain)
\nMishal Kanoo is deputy chairman of the Kanoo Group – one of the largest, independent, family-owned group of companies in the Gulf region, with diversified interests in: shipping, travel, machinery, logistics, oil and gas, power, chemicals, joint ventures, retail and commercial activities amongst others. Kanoo was educated in Dubai, and holds an MBA in Finance from the University of St Thomas, Houston, Texas. He started his career with Arthur Andersen in Dubai as an auditor before taking up his current position in 1997. He has also overseen the activity of many other prominent companies in the Gulf, in the capacity of director or chairman.
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104. Amina Al Rustamani
\nGroup CEO
\nTECOM Investments
\nDr Amina Al Rustamani started her career in 2001 as a project engineer in Dubai Media City. Just over a decade later, she has become one of the Arab world’s most powerful women, looking after 4,500 companies at TECOM Business Parks. Her rise to the top was nothing short of meteoric. She quickly began working on different projects related to broadcasting, and within four years of joining was a director in the company, having worked in the sales, marketing and technical design sides of the business. She was promoted to become the broadcast director at Dubai Media City, and became instrumental in the launch of Dubai Studio City, before becoming Dubai Media City’s executive director. Then in 2008, just seven years after first joining the company, she was appointed as CEO of TECOM Business Parks. She is a board member of Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), and also sits on the boards of Lamtara and Tunisia Telecom.
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96. Ahmed Al Hammadi
\nCEO, Commercial and Marketing Affairs
\nAhmed Al Hammadi has had over seventeen years of experience in the UAE media industry, covering newspapers, distribution, sales, radio, magazines, television and online. Prior to taking on his current role, he was deputy CEO for support services at DMI. Al Hammadi has managed five daily newspapers, including Al Bayan and Al Emarat Al Youm, Emirates Today and Emirates Business 24/7 and is a board member at Career Junction Co and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) ME. He has a degree in business administration from the Higher Colleges of Technology.
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95. Sultan Abu Sultan
\nBarclays Bank UAE
\nBanking & Finance
\nSultan Abu Sultan is co-founder and managing partner of W Motors, the firm that has built the first supercar originating from the Middle East. The manufacturing process of the prestigious car (known as the Lykan) was supervised and monitored by Sultan and his founding partner who ensured that global state of the art technologies where fully utilized to produce the first highly exclusive hypercar from the region.
\nHe is now chairman of Barclays Bank in the UAE, and is the only Emirati national chairing a global bank in the country.
\nHe started his career with HSBC in 2003, moving up the ranks before being appointed regional managing director. He also served in Dubai Police as head of IT, where he established the Quality Department that applies today quality management systems in all police fields.
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93. Hamad Buamim
\nDirector general
\nDubai Chamber
\nCulture & Society
\nAs chief of the Dubai Chamber, representing the private sector’s interests in the emirate, Hamad Buamim is a busy man. He’s a regular traveller, marketing Dubai’s businesses to the world, and in turn trying to get international firms to set up shop in the emirate.
\nAnd he also acts as a go-between between the private sector and the government, offering the chamber’s advice on laws and regulations. If the World Bank is to be trusted, then Buamim is doing a pretty good job.
\nEvery year the agency publishes global rankings that rate each country in terms of their ease of doing business. The UAE ranked 40th in 2011, but shot up to 26th place last year. This year, Buamim was also elected vice chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation.
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92. Ahmed Al Mansouri
\nDirector general, Television Channels
\nDubai Media Incorporated
\nAhmed Al Mansouri is just the latest in a new wave of young talent making headlines in the UAE’s growing media industry. He is now the director general of all Dubai Media Incorporated’s channels. Al Mansouri has also served as general manager of the television channel Sama Dubai, and as deputy manager of Dubai Media Incorporated between 2005 and 2007.
\nAl Mansouri was promoted to his current position earlier this year, via a degree issued by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Among the channels that he oversees are Dubai TV, Sama Dubai, Dubai One, Dubai Sports, Dubai Racing and Noor Dubai TV. He has a masters degree in communications from Emirates University.
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90. Shehab Gargash
\nDaman Investments
\nBanking & Finance
\nThe sale of his company’s shares to the public may not be taking place because of unfavourable market conditions. Yet Shehab Gargash is bullish and optimistic about the future.
\n“Two important things happened recently, the regional turmoil politically with the Arab Spring and the adjustment in valuations in the more developed regional markets, the Gulf,” Gargash told us last year. “Taking both of them into consideration, I think the future looks very promising for the Gulf. The macroeconomics are very sound, the valuations are attainable, the exaggeration premium has been flushed out.”
\nAs managing director of Daman Investments, one of the UAE’s most prominent financial services firms, Gargash’s opinion is one that is widely valued. And looking forward, Gargash is bullish about a rebound in investor sentiment.
\n“People will maybe look at it maybe strangely but I think real estate will make a comeback in the UAE,” Gargash told us. “It’s the home of real estate in the region more or less. I think the financial services sector will become interesting and some of the less invested areas but I think they are the long shot, things like agriculture in some of the countries around the region may see investment.”
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87. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem
\nDP World
\nAs boss of the world’s third-biggest ports firm, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem is in a good position to judge the health of the regional economy.
\n“We expect businesses to do good in 2013... we expect the economy to do very well in all aspects especially in real estate which was suffering and is expected to recover even better,” the chairman of DP World told us last month. “Dubai has really performed better than what is expected, Dubai has this ability, whatever everybody expected with the crisis that its going to paralyse Dubai - it didn’t.” The terminals operator is currently in the midst of a process of divesting stakes in non-vital operations – such as in Hong Kong, Yemen, Belgium and Australia – and investing the proceeds back into fast-growing emerging market facilities. Another key area of interest this year is DP World’s London Gateway, a superport and business park that is set to boost the UK’s economy when it opens by the end of 2013.
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86. Mohammed Al Rais
\nManaging director
\nHill International
\nUAE (Iraq)
\nMohammed Al Rais heads up regional operations at project management giant Hills International. He has over 35 years experience in the field, and is responsible for overseeing project delivery of Hills’ ever-expanding portfolio of housing, hospitality and infrastructure projects.
\nAl Rais was previously vice president acting as Hill’s regional manager for it’s Abu Dhabi operations. Under Al Rais’s leadership, Hill International has been successful in identifying new marketplaces across the Middle East; diversifying its client base and extending its operations in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi in particular. Al Rais also oversees the operational delivery of Hill’s expanding portfolio of real estate, hospitality and infrastructure projects, including monitoring KPIs and ensuring client satisfaction.
\nHe has supervised the delivery of a range of large-scale, highly-complex, multi-stakeholder developments such as the program management of Dubai International Airport Expansion.
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85. Badr Jafar
\nCrescent Petroleum
\nAn Eton College and Cambridge University graduate, Badr Jafar, has certainly inked a name for himself. Apart from serving as president of Crescent Petroleum, chairman of Pearl petroleum and of Gas Cities LLC, Jafar is leading a varied group of pioneering companies in his role as CEO of Crescent Enterprises. That is not where the list concludes. In fact, Jafar tends to be active in different industries, both regionally and internationally, including aviation, shipping, real estate and private equity. Jafar was recently honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
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84. Mona Al Marri
\nDirector general
\nDubai Government Media Office
\nLast year, Mona Al Marri was appointed director general of the Dubai government media office, replacing Ahmad Al Sheikh. A former PR guru, Al Marri was appointed CEO of Brand Dubai, the emirate’s first state media office, three years ago. Right now, she is in charge of shaping Dubai’s image to the media both at home and abroad. She is vice president of the Dubai Ladies Club and a board leader of Young Arab Leaders. Al Marri holds an MBA from the Higher Colleges of Technology.
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82. Ghaith Al Ghaith
\nFor Ghaith Al Ghaith, 2012 will always be the year that flydubai became profitable. The airline – Dubai’s answer to Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia – was only set up in 2009, but is already reaping the rewards of Al Ghaith’s stewardship and the experience and expertise lent by parent company Emirates Group. Al Ghaith has brought modern aircraft, and has also experimented with new ideas, such as charging passengers to use seat-back entertainment screens.
\nThe no-frills airline said it carried 5.1 million passengers in 2012, out of a total of 10.4 million passengers transported since the carrier began operations. Flydubai operates a fleet of 28 Boeing narrow-body 737-800, out of an order for 50 aircraft to be fully delivered by 2016. It flies to 52 destinations in 31 countries.
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76. Khadem Al Qubaisi
\nAabar Investments
\nBanking & Finance
\nAs the chairman of Aabar Investments , Khadem Al Qubaisi’s recent string of high-profile acquisitions have helped propelled Abu Dhabi onto the international map.
\nUnder Qubaisi’s stewardship, Aabar acquired a 32 percent stake in Virgin Galactic. More recently Aabar played a role in the biggest merger of 2012, Glencore’s tie-up with mining giant Xstrata. In 2011, the firm bought a $1bn stake in Glencore, although Aabar announced that it had written off $392m of that investment last November. The firm also holds a 21.57 stake in Dubai contracting giant Arabtec, which has won a number of big-money deals in Abu Dhabi in recent months. Al Qubaisi now chairs Arabtec and is also the chairman of the district cooling firm Tabreed, Takaful, I-Media newspaper and Hyundai Oilbank in South Korea.
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70. Noura Al Kaabi
\nNoura Al Kaabi took over the top job at Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 - a media development and training zone in the UAE capital - from former CEO Tony Orsten in April last year. She is also a board member of Abu Dhabi Media Company, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Flash Entertainment. She also sits on the Advisory Board for Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Tawteen, an initiative by Emirates Foundation. This year, Al Kaabi was handed the Media CEO of the Year award.
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58. Habib Al Mulla
\nHabib Al Mulla & Co
\nDr Habib Al Mulla is well-known as a straight talker. As perhaps the UAE’s foremost lawyer, he made his name by founding the financial free zones concept that led to the launch of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Dubai Financial Services Authority. More than most, he is qualified to discuss the emirate’s recent performance in a candid and honest light. “These signs of recovery do not mean that all is well, that no mistakes were made, and that that there aren’t areas in need of improvement,” Al Mulla told the Arabian Business Forum recently. He has held a series of key posts, including membership of the UAE’s Legislative and Economic Committees. He also sat as a member of the Federal National Council.
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56. Helal Al Marri
\nDirector general
\nDubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing
\nA big few years beckon for Helal Al Marri, who has just been appointed as director general of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing. Last year, Dubai attracted 10 million tourists for the first time; if the emirate wins the right to hold the World Expo in 2020, then Al Marri›s role in bringing as many as 25 million visitors to Dubai that year will be vital.
\nAl Mari will keep his previous role as head of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) , where he managed to achieve continued growth at a time when Dubai was facing harsh criticism from the global media and its position as a regional hub for business was being questioned.
\nAl Marri previously worked as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Co, one of the world’s leading consulting firms. He also worked with KPMG in London, holds an MBA degree from the London Business School and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Founded in 1979, the DWTC has been instrumental in establishing Dubai as a global financial and commercial hub and Al Marri was appointed its head in 2004.
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54. Osman Sultan
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nThe growth of the UAE’s second mobile telco, du, has been nothing short of astonishing. As CEO, Osman Sultan’s role in the company’s story has been vital. Sultan was behind the launch of the highly successful Mobinil in Egypt in 1998, and in 2007 was behind the launch of du, which is 40 percent owned by the UAE Federal Government, 20 percent by Mubadala Development Company, 20 percent by TECOM Investments and 20 percent by public shareholders. Du more than doubled its profit after royalties during the fourth quarter to $270m, compared to the same period in 2011.
\nThe figure topped off a record year for annual revenues and profit, with du recording a net profit after royalties of $540m, up from $300m in 2011. The company’s revenue increased 14.7 percent to $2.77bn during the year.
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53. Abdulaziz Al Ghurair
\nBanking & Finance
\nAbdulaziz Al Ghurair is the de facto spokesperson for the banking industry in the UAE, through his position as head of the Emirates Banking Association. And while it’s been a tough couple of years for profits at his own lender, Mashreqbank, the cornerstone of Al Ghurair’s business empire has remained stable. The fact that Mashreqbank has performed so well despite its exposure to Dubai World-linked companies speaks volumes about the strength of its leadership.
\nAl Ghurair is CEO of the bank, which he started from scratch with $1.6m of capital during the oil boom in the 1960s, and which is the country’s fourth-largest by assets. The lender was the first bank to introduce ATM machines and credit cards to the emirates, and is now in expansionist mode. Al Ghurair is also one of the founders of the property giant Emaar, and served as speaker of the UAE’s Federal National Council until earlier last year. He remains a fervent proponent of national identity in the country. The family legacy can be traced back to Ahmad Al Ghurair who founded Al Ghurair Group in 1960.
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52. Alex Saber
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nWith more than 20 years of experience in media and communications, Alex Saber himself is very much a veteran of the industry. His career started in 1991, working as a media executive in Leo Burnett (a sister company of VivaKi), overlooking bookings and media planning. “I wanted to work in marketing, and there was no VivaKi in those days...There was a media unit in a creative agency, we were at a corner and the creative people got all the attention. We were the back stage,” he told Arabian Business last year. He didn’t stay at the back too long. Seven years later, Starcom Mediavest was created and Saber, a graduate of the University of Iowa, went to the new operation, spending four years in Saudi Arabia. Following the launch of VivaKi as the umbrella firm, he became CEO in 2007, before taking over as chairman in 2011.
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45. Mohammed Al Mulla
\nrab Media Group
\nMohamed Al Mulla is the CEO of Arab Media Group, having joined the firm in November 2008. Al Mulla is tasked with overseeing and managing the operation of all the corporate and consumer products. His corporate background extends to almost every business segment of the media industry including media and marketing services, printing and publishing, music, film, new media, leisure and entertainment, broadcasting and information agencies. Al Mulla’s key managerial positions have included work with Etisalat and the region’s media hub, Dubai Media City. Prior to AMG, he served as an executive director of Dubai Media City. He played a crucial role in consolidating the pioneering international status of the brand and steering its development strategies.
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43. Dhaen Shaheen
\nDirector general for publishing
\nAs the recently appointed director general for publishing at Dubai Media Incorporated, Dhaen Shaheen is one of the most influential men in the emirate’s burgeoning media industry. Shaheen was editor in chief at Al Bayan, a hugely popular local newspaper that was originally established by the government of Dubai in 1980. Dubai Media Incorporated is chaired by Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
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41. Fadi Ghandour
\nUAE (Jordan)
\n2012 was the year that Fadi Ghandour finally stepped down as CEO of Aramex, the logistics firm he founded 30 years ago. New CEO Hussein Hachem has now taken on the reins, while Ghandour remains as vice chairman. Aramex is one of the great entrepreneurial success stories of the Arab world - founded in Jordan, the outfit took on the giants of the global express industry, such as DHL and FedEx. Via a canny policy of deals and partnerships, and later organic growth and acquisitions, Aramex is now worth $700m on the Dubai Financial Market, has 12,300 staff in 353 locations across 60 countries, and was the first Arab company to list on the NASDAQ exchange. Ghandour is a founding partner of; the world’s largest Arab On-Line community which was acquired by Yahoo!; is a member of the board of Abraaj Capital, is a founding board member of Endeavor Jordan and serves on the advisory board of the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut.
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39. Mohammed Al Marri
\nDirector general
\nDubai Naturalisation and Residency Department
\nCulture & Society
\nA former policeman with 26 years on the force under his belt, Al Marri has been at the forefront at massive change at the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD), where a switch to online services, plus a new training complex, have seen a huge improvement in service.
\nWhile many might see the DNRD role as a behind-the-scenes position, Al Marri’s role is actually vital in streamlining the vast numbers of visitors to Dubai, and ensuring that the flow of tourist dollars remains high. In a government reshuffle ordered by Deputy Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the start of 2010, Al Marri saw his responsibilities increased. Already head of Dubai’s Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) since 2007, he was appointed head of the commission for social development, one of five new committees that will assist Dubai’s decision-making.
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38. Saif Belhasa
\nSaif Belhasa Group
\nSaif Belhasa heads up a large diversified holding company in Dubai.
\nBelhasa started his prolific career after obtaining degree in Business Management from the Al Ain University in 1988. With eighteen years of diversified experience in the field of business and entrepreneurship, Saif Ahmed Belhasa embarked on a number of commercial ventures in the Middle East which led to the birth of Saif Belhasa Group of Companies. The firm is now a household name, not just in Dubai but around the region.
\nApproximately 10,500 staff are employed internationally by the group’s nineteen operating entities which import from and export to most of the world’s major trading nations. The group’s current portfolio ranges from automotive companies, through yoga sanctuaries to a stone trading company.
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35. Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi
\nIf you’re interested in the Middle East and have a Twitter account, then you’ll be well acquainted with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi.
\nHis columns have appeared in titles such as the New York Times, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Open Democracy, the Independent and the Guardian. He tweets prolifically @SultanAlQassemi and has just over 188,000 followers. In fact, if you are reading this on the internet, the chances are that you have arrived here via the power of his network. Al Qassemi received a master’s degree in global banking and finance from the European Business School, where he graduated with distinction in 2004. He received his BSc in International Business Administration from the American University of Paris.
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32. Sultan Nasser Al Suwaidi
\nUAE Central Bank
\nBanking & Finance
\nSultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, a UAE national, was born in Abu Dhabi in 1953.
\nHe started his career at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) in 1978, at the Finance and Administration Department, and joined the Central Bank as Governor in 1991. At the Central Bank, Al Suwaidi was able to introduce or modernise many banking regulations. In 1994, he worked on establishing the ‘UAESwitch’ which started operations in 1996 and was able to connect all bank ATMs in the UAE. He also supported the establishment of an automated cheque clearing System for UAE banks. Guided by Al Suwaidi, the Central Bank is in the process of implementing many new initiatives such as the Image Cheque Clearing System, the Mobile Phone Payment System and Basel II.
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30. Khaled Samawi
\nAyyam Gallery
\nUAE (Syria)
\nArts & Entertainment
\nKhaled Samawi’s Ayyam Gallery is considered the benchmark for Arabic art. With galleries in Damascus, Beirut, Cairo and Dubai, the gallery is pushing the envelope in the promotion of top Arab art.
\nAyyam Auctions is also the first regional auction house with auctions in Dubai and Beirut. Ayyam Publishing has published more than 50 art books in the last five years. The recently inaugurated Ayyam Art Center in Dubai is the first private museum in the Gulf dedicated to the exhibition of Arab art.
\nRecent gallery openings in Jeddah and on London’s Bond Street have seen Samawi’s stock rise even further. Watch out for bigger things next year.
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27. Mustafa Agha
\nHead of sports
\nUAE (Syria)
\nMustafa Agha is one of the Arab world’s most prominent sports journalists.He began his career in the industry in 1981, where he started as a writer before positioning himself as a commentator in both Arabic and English.
\nHe was the first sports presenter on “Sports Magazine” show to broadcast in English, and joined MBC London in the early 1990s. Nowadays, he is head of sports at MBC, and also runs his own programme, Sada Al Malaeb.
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25. Joseph Ghossoub
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nJoseph Ghossoub is chairman and chief executive officer of MENA Communications Group (MENACOM), parent company of the Team/Y&R. One of the Middle East communications industry’s most prominent spokespersons, he has been involved in managing regional and global agencies for nearly three decades. Under his leadership, MENACOM Group (part of WPP and Y&R Brands) has grown into one of the most successful Middle East communications groups, including 12 Team/Y&R offices in 10 countries. Among his many accolades is the Arabian Business Achievement Award for Business Leadership.
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23. Elie Khouri
\nOmnicom Media Group
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nThe last year has been a busy one at Omnicom Media Group.
\nThe company has focused its energy on talent, something demonstrated by its ranking in the list of best companies to work for in the UAE for the second year running. With the launch of Resolution, which specialises in performance marketing, including search, programmatic buying and social/mobile advertising, the group is capitalising on a significant growth in demand for such services from brands. Thanks to organic growth, but also new account wins, including McDonald’s, IKEA in Egypt, Qnbn, Bentley, Mubadala or Sony Mobile, Omnicom Media Group has registered a healthy rise in revenues.
\nMonitoring sources report a growth of more than 30 percent to $2.5bn. Its two communications agency networks, OMD and PHD, have innovated with the introduction of new operating systems and shared their intellectual property through events such as OMD Predicts and PHD BrainScape.
\nThe group’s CSR programme, which is founded on the pillars of the environment, corporate behaviour and the community, saw Khouri become a board member of START, a non-profit organisation established by Art Dubai and the Al Madad Foundation, and of Injaz-UAE, an organisation dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
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16. Khaldoon Al Mubarak
\nBanking & Finance
\nA trusted aide to the Crown Prince of the UAE, HH Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Khaldoon Al Mubarak — CEO of Mubadala — has masterminded many of Abu Dhabi’s strategic investments and key development projects.
\nAs one of the UAE capital’s key investment vehicles, Al Mubarak is a vital cog in Abu Dhabi’s plan to diversify its economy away from oil and into sectors such as aerospace, manufacturing and utilities. Educated in the US, a graduate of Tufts University, Al Mubarak sits on a number of boards, including First Gulf Bank, Aldar Properties, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and he is chairman of the Executive Affairs committee. Worldwide, he is, of course, best known as the chairman of Manchester City Football Club since the club was bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.
\nLast year, the club secured its first title in the top flight of English football for 44 years, after beating Queens Park Rangers with an injury-time goal. It meant that the near $1bn of investment in the club that Mubarak has approved now seems very much worthwhile, and Mubarak himself has become one of the most popular figures in the city as a result.
\nWhile this year’s Premier League defence has proved tough, few would bet against the team securing more silverware in the next few years.
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14. Dahi Khalfan Tamim
\nDubai Police
\nCulture & Society
\nLieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim has had a remarkable career in public service.
\nIn 1970 he graduated from the Royal Police Academy in Jordan, after which he specialised in criminal investigations. After working his way up the chain of command, in 1979 he was appointed Deputy Chief of Police in Dubai, before taking the top job in 1980. Over the past 31 years, he has totally transformed the police force, its role and its reputation internationally and locally.
\nHe has published eight major reports on policing, and credited with a number of the police force’s key achievements in the last three decades. These include launching the Dubai Police Academy; establishing the Dubai Forensic Laboratory and the use of DNA in investigations; forming the land, marine and air rescue teams and establishing a special rehabilitation centre for drug addicts.
\nTamim is also largely credited with driving the force towards using modern technology – it was the first government department to use emails, and later became the first fully operational e-government department.
\nA major figure on the emirate’s political scene, Tamim’s forthright views are respected by both expatriates and locals. In addition, he is also highly regarded for his social welfare work, which has included the establishment of an orphanage in Dubai, and the launch of the Khalfan School for teaching the Holy Quran.
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12. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi
\nMinister of Development and International Cooperation
\nCulture & Society
\nSheikha Lubna Al Qasimi is the UAE’s first female minister. Her current role is Minister of Development and International Cooperation, to which she was promoted earlier this month.
\nShe has previously served as Minister for Foreign Trade. The Emirati national’s background lies in IT; she won plaudits for developing a system that slashed cargo turnaround times at Dubai airport, and in 2000 founded Tejari, the Middle East’s first business-to-business online marketplace. The firm, which is now one of Dubai World’s most successful units, has franchises across the Middle East and was initially funded by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, and prime minister of the UAE. Sheikha Lubna was appointed to her first ministerial post in November 2004 — becoming Minister of Economy and Planning, before taking the Minister of Foreign Trade brief afterwards. She also sits on the board of directors at the Dubai Chamber.
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4. Mohamed Alabbar
\nEmaar Properties
\nHe has built the world’s tallest tower and the world’s most popular tourist attraction.
\nThe accolades just keep coming for Mohamed Alabbar, who has done more than most to cement the reputation of Dubai as a global hub for tourism. As boss of Emaar since 1997, Alabbar’s place in history is already secure. He will be long remembered as the driving force behind the development of the iconic Burj Khalifa, though equally impressive has been the manner in which he has successfully diversified the company. Emaar is now involved in hospitality and leisure, malls, education, healthcare and financial services. With six business segments and more than 60 active companies, Emaar has a collective presence in several markets spanning the Middle East, North Africa, Pan-Asia, Europe and North America. The Dubai Mall saw a whopping 65 million visitors last year.
\nBut away from the property giant, the company’s boss has been spending an increasing amount of time on his own private venture, a mining company with extensive operations largely in Africa. The result is that, barely three years since Africa Middle East Resources (AMER) was created, Alabbar has created a mega mining empire.
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2. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum
\nChairman and CEO
\nEmirates Group
\nThere aren’t many airports in the world that don’t see a constant procession of Emirates flights taking off from their runways.
\nAt some point this year, the Dubai carrier is likely to become the world’s second-biggest airline, with the number-one slot clearly within its sights. The man behind this feat is HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who over the past 25 years has spearheaded the growth of both the airline and Dubai, which is now one of the world’s most important aviation hubs. More recently, he has also formulated economic, investment and fiscal policies and strategies in support of the emirate’s overarching vision.
\nOf course, the airline is only part of Sheikh Ahmed’s story. He is chairman of Dubai’s biggest bank, Emirates NBD, and of Dubai World, the conglomerate that includes the world’s third-biggest ports company, DP World.
\nSheikh Ahmed is also the chairman of Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority, Dubai Air Wing, Alliance Insurance Company, The British University in Dubai, and The Dubai Power & Energy Committee. He is the chairman of Wasl Hospitality and chairman of Noor Investment Group and the chairman of Noor Takaful.