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CEO Middle East – January 2018

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GREENER TRANSPORTATION ON THE RISE REAL ESTATE GOES DIGITAL DIVERSIFYING YOUR PORTFOLIO
2018 FORECASTS
JANUARY 2018
#132
EIGHT BUSINESS LEADERS
LOOK TO THE YEAR AHEAD
O N E T O WAT C H
SWIFT 7
THE GUIDE TO GOOD BUSINESS AND BETTER LIVING
Why Breitling’s new limited edition
timepiece is a precise work of art
The world’s
thinnest
laptop
FIVE MINUTES WITH
Damien Drap, Uber Eats UAE
DR AHMED ELTIGANI, CEO OF AL RAWABI DAIRY COMPANY
TAKING A POSITIVE AND BRAND-FOCUSSED APPROACH TO 2018
THE FUTURE
AFRICA IS NEXT
JEAN-CLAUDE BASTOS DE MORAIS
VAT I N T H E U A E
YOUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE
THE URUS: THE SUPER SUV
BY L AMBORGHINI
U A E AED 20 B A H R A I N BHD 2 K U WA I T KWD 2 O M A N OMR 2
JANUARY
2018
IS HEALTHY
HOTEL REVIEW
MANDARIN ORIENTAL, MALAYSIA
Safe industry is
our high priority.
January 2018
contents
Business
05 FIRST WORD
AS WE WAVE GOODBYE
TO 2017 AND USHER IN
ANOTHER NEW YEAR, THE
BUSINESS LANDSCAPE IN
THE MIDDLE EAST REMAINS
AS COMPLEX AS EVER
8-9 THE BIG PICTURE
UN MEMBERS VOTE AGAINST
US DECISION ON JERUSALEM
1 7 C OV E R S TO RY
DR AHMED ELTIGANI, CEO OF
AL RAWABI DAIRY COMPANY,
TELLS CEO MIDDLE EAST WHY
HE THINKS NUTRITION IS THE
BUSINESS OF TOMORROW
6
23
23 THE YEAR AHEAD
WE ASSEMBLE EIGHT OF THE
REGION’S TOP BUSINESS
LEADERS TO GET THEIR TAKE
ON THE YEAR THAT WAS,
AND WHAT WE CAN LOOK
FORWARD TO IN 2018
3 2 R E TA I L
KIM THOMPSON, FOUNDER AND
CO-OWNER OF RAW COFFEE
COMPANY, EXPLAINS HOW
INVESTING IN HER WORKFORCE
AND ALWAYS PUTTING THE
CUSTOMER FIRST HELPED
HER TURN COFFEE BEANS
INTO BIG BUSINESS
3 8 E N T E R TA I N M E N T
AFTER YEARS OF
STRUGGLING TO FIND A
FOOTHOLD ON A GLOBAL
SCALE, THE ARAB MUSIC
INDUSTRY IS FINALLY READY
TO TAKE OFF. TAYMOOR
MARMARCHI, THE HEAD
OF PLATINUM RECORDS,
EXPLAINS HOW
17
42
42 TRANSPORT
INVITING INCENTIVES FOR
ZERO-EMISSIONS VEHICLES
AND INNOVATIVE CARSHARING SOLUTIONS COULD
SOON SEE THE MAJORITY
OF UAE DRIVERS SWITCH
TO GREENER FORMS OF
TRANSPORT
46 INVESTMENT
46
QUANTUM GLOBAL GROUP
FOUNDER JEAN-CLAUDE
BASTOS DE MORAIS TALKS
FILMMAKING, MANAGEMENT
STYLES, AND WHY AFRICA IS
THE PERFECT MARKET FOR
MIDDLE EASTERN INVESTORS
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 3
January 2018
contents
Pleasure
53 MCLAREN SENNA
SO FAR MCLAREN HAS
BUILT A REPUTATION FOR
PRODUCING RED-HOT
SUPERCARS THAT MAINTAIN
ENOUGH PRACTICALITY TO
BE USED AS AN EVERYDAY
RIDE. HOWEVER, WITH THE
LATEST ENTRANT INTO
THE COMPANY’S ULTIMATE
SERIES, THE SENNA,
THAT ETHOS HAS BEEN
BLOWN COMPLETELY
OUT OF THE WATER
54 STYLE
THE SNEAKER TREND
HAS BEEN GOING FOR
A LONG TIME NOW AND
IS SHOWING NO SIGNS
OF STOPPING, SO WHAT
BETTER WAY TO EMBRACE
IT THAN WITH A PAIR FROM
PREMIUM FRENCH LEATHER
SPECIALISTS BERLUTI?
5 5 M I N D A N D B O DY
ESCAPE THE OFFICE FOR
THESE EXPRESS SPA AND
BEAUTY TREATMENTS FOR
MEN AND WOMEN
53
56 PERFUMES
AMOUAGE HAS
INTRODUCED BEACH
HUT MAN, THE NEWEST
ADDITION TO THE MIDNIGHT
FLOWER COLLECTION
55
5 8 M OTO R
DESIGNED, ENGINEERED
AND HANDCRAFTED
IN BRITAIN, THE NEW
THIRD-GENERATION
BENTLEY CONTINENTAL
GT COMBINES SPIRITED,
FOCUSSED PERFORMANCE
WITH HANDCRAFTED
LUXURY AND CUTTINGEDGE TECHNOLOGY
54
59 TIMEPIECES
SWISS WATCHMAKER
JAEGER-LECOULTRE AND
CELEBRATED ARGENTINIAN
BOOTMAKER CASA
FAGLIANO ARE CELEBRATING
THEIR CONTINUED
PARTNERSHIP INTO 2018
WITH THE RELEASE OF A
LIMITED-EDITION REVERSO
TRIBUTE DUOFACE
74 DA I LY R I T UA L S
FACEBOOK FOUNDER MARK
ZUCKERBERG ON WHY HE
ALWAYS WEAR THAT SAME
GREY T-SHIRT
4 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
59
74
58
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CEO
ALI AKAWI
DESIGN
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GENARO SANTOS
CFO
TOBY JAY SPENCER-DAVIES
LEAD CREATIVE
ADRIAN LUCA
DIRECTOR
WALID AKAWI
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JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 5
MUST READS
THIS ISSUE
THE REAL DEAL
Creating a platform where
buyers and sellers meet will
be the future of the real estate
industry, according to Omar
Chihane, CEO of
SellAnyHome.com
PAGES 12-13
STARTUPS
The recent acquisition of
Dubai-based beauty
subscription service GlamBox
by Saudi Arabian investors
shows the way to a lucrative
exit for MENA startups
PAGE 14
FAST DELIVERY
The team you work with is
the most important part of
any work experience, believes
Damien Drap, general
manager of UberEATS UAE
PAGE 16
FIRST WORD
A
LOOKING AHEAD
S WE WAVE GOODBYE TO 2017 and usher in
a new year, the business landscape
in the Middle East remains as complex as ever, with potential pitfalls,
areas for development, as well as
tremendous opportunities at every twist
and turn.
The end of one year and start of a new
one often brings about a fresh start, where
we reflect on the year that was, celebrate
the successes, learn from the failures and
cast our thoughts ahead to the new year,
with fresh ideas bringing added impetus.
That is what our cover story for this
month is all about: reflection and looking
ahead. We have assembled some of the region’s top businesspeople – across various
industries, from e-commerce and retail, to
jewellery and industrial steel production –
6 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
to hear what 2017 meant to them, and what
they have in store for 2018.
As well as some brutal honesty, success
stories and ambitious plans, the business
leaders also shared a few pearls of wisdom for
those looking to branch out in 2018. From the
measured advice of Unilever Executive Vice
President for MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine
and Belarus, Sanjiv Kakkar, who declares
that, “In this new connected world, startups need to be more agile, more closely connected to their customers and learn quickly
from their shortcomings to flourish”; to the
passionate plea of Souqalmal.com founder,
Ambreen Musa, who implores entrepreneurs
to “follow their gut instinct and never let fear
stop them from realising the full potential
of their idea”, there’s plenty to get your
teeth into.
DIVERSIFICATION IS KEY
With one in four SMEs failing
within the first year, being an
entrepreneur is a career path
fraught with danger. But you
can boost your chances of
success by diversifying your
portfolio, says Adam Ridgway,
CEO of MEDIACUBED
PAGES 20-21
FUTURE ENERGY
Qais Al Khonji, founder and
CEO of Genesis International,
explains why the rise of green
energy doesn’t necessarily
mean the end for the oil and
gas industry
PAGE 22
FOR THE STYLISH
GENTLEMAN
Need some suit inspiration?
The Custom Shop New York’s
Jamie Stone shares his top tips
for buying bespoke
PAGE 57
QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?
Like the magazine? Hate it?
Either way, let us know:
ceo@itp.com
D I S C O V E R
L U X U R Y
IN THE HEART OF DUBAI
Located convenientely in the heart of the city • 555 Luxury Guest Rooms and Suites
Restaurant & Bar collection of contemporary venues • 5,500 sqm outdoor urban pool oasis
Fully equipped spa of 2,000 sqm • One of the largest meeting spaces in the city
P.O. Box 115143, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Phone +971 (0)4 444 7444 | conraddubai.com
BIG PICTURE
8 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
PHOTO BY EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ / AFP / GETTY IMAGES
THE RESULTS OF THE VOTE ON JERUSALEM are seen on a display board at the UN General Assembly hall on December 21, 2017, at UN headquarters in New York.
128 member states voted resoundingly to reject US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital, and have expressed support in the longstanding
international consensus that the status of Jerusalem can only be settled as an agreed final issue in a peace deal.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 9
GET MORE CEO
MIDDLE EAST ON
YOUTUBE
THE GUIDE TO GOOD BUSINESS AND BETTER LIVING
YOUTUBE.COM/CEOMIDDLEEAST
@ceomiddleeast
10 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
www.arabianbusiness.com/ceo
BUSINESS
FINANCE
AVIATION
MANAGEMENT
TECHNOLOGY
PROPERTY
$108M
The investment placed by
Audacia Capital in two
buildings in the Netherlands
From East to West The new Danone Netherlands global headquarters
UAE INVESTOR
CRACKS DUTCH
REAL ESTATE
MARKET
DUBAI-BASED INVESTOR
COMPLETES RECORD
PURCHASE IN AMSTERDAM
A
UDACIA CAPITAL HAS BECOME DUBAI’S
FIRST LOCAL investor to make a ma-
jor property purchase in Amsterdam,
as it completed the acquisition of two
adjacent purpose-built headquarter offices now under construction in Hoofddorp, close the Schipol Airport.
“We believe we are the first Dubai
financial investor to have closed a real
estate transaction in Amsterdam –
strangely enough – certainly the first
one at this value,” says Audacia Capital
CEO, Emad Mansour.
“Most real estate investments out
of the region target the UK, Germany
and France, in that order,” he continues.
“I would say the three countries above
represent more than 95 percent of all
European-based real estate investments from the region. Amsterdam’s
real estate market was uncharted territory until we cracked it.”
The properties, being developed by
RED Company and designed by architecture firm Powerhouse Company, are
both state-of the-art office buildings
with a strong focus on sustainability
and health.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 11
BUSINESS | REAL ESTATE
REAL
E-STATE
20 YEARS AGO PEOPLE
BALKED AT THE IDEA OF BUYING
CLOTHES ONLINE, YET TODAY IT’S
COMMONPLACE. COULD THE SAME
HAPPEN WITH REAL ESTATE?
OMAR CHIHANE WEIGHS IN
NY TIME AN INDUSTRY DEVELOPS many
friction points and multiple
layers between buyers and
sellers, it is bound to be disrupted by a
technology-driven marketplace.
The real estate market has operated
with the same model since well before
the term ‘realtor’ was penned in the
early 1900s. Slight modifications to
the model have since taken place with
the introduction of the internet, but
that’s not a modern thing any more –
it was almost 25 years ago, all the way
back in 1994, when classified ads first
appeared online.
While the construction industry is
constantly being disrupted by technology, be it in material development or
building technologies, the buying and
selling process at its core, has not –
barring a few (cool, I might add) tech
features added to online listings along
the way. There are as many as 16 touch
points between real estate buyers and
A
12 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
“IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE
SOMEONE SITTING NOT JUST IN
THE UAE, BUT IN INDIA, CHINA OR
SAUDI IS ABLE TO BROWSE, VIEW
AND BUY PROPERTY FROM THEIR
MOBILE PHONE”
sellers, and at each juncture lies a
potential miscommunication, misinterpretation or simply lost data. Creating
a platform where buyers and sellers
meet, where information is streamlined and where market forces could
take flight is where we believe the next
disruption opportunity lies.
THE VALUE OF REAL-TIME
MARKET CO-ORDINATION
Once information is transparent, risk is
reduced and decisions could be made
faster. Once that happens, a marketplace is created that inevitably attracts
more buyers thereby increasing values.
Imagine a world without the stock
market. What would happen to
companies’ stock prices? The answer
is simple: they would remain low or
suboptimal. Not having a marketplace
where transactions happen seamlessly,
transparently and quickly discourages
new entrants (buyers), which in turn
keeps prices low.
Creating real-time market coordina-
tion where sellers can easily and seamlessly sell their property is no different;
it attracts more buyers to the market,
which in turn drives prices up. Ensuring
this happens on an impartial platform,
like SellAnyHome.com, where the only
focus is transparency and efficiency,
delivers more trust in the process and in
turn reduces risk and cost of ownership
which of course increases value.
TECHNOLOGY CULTIVATES EMOTION
Omar Chihane,
CEO of SellAnyHome.com
$41.1BN
The investment made by 217 nationalities
in Dubai’s real estate market between January 2016
and June 2017, according to the Dubai Land Department
Naysayers will claim that, “people need
to feel connected to the home, and
technology strips that away”. But put
aside the fact that I run a tech startup
that is driving people to buy properties
online for a moment. My fundamental
issue with this statement is actually a
lot less biased than you think – in fact,
the statement is simply not true. Of
course, there is merit in perhaps viewing
a property, and we do incorporate that
into our processes, but to think technology strips away emotions is equivalent
to refusing to listen to music unless
you’re seeing the artist live in concert.
Back to property, one’s knee-jerk
defence in this case would be to compare buying online to buying property
off-plan, where you’re literally in some
cases buying an idea, a plan, a design –
of course with the necessary regulatory
structure in place to safeguard your
investment, etc. But I will elaborate
beyond that point to explain just how
much technology could enhance our
emotional experience rather than
diminish it.
Let’s look at the emotional touch
points or signals that normal buyers
look for to make a ‘buy decision’ and
compare that to what technology can
do to emulate those signals.
Of course, the first touchpoint and
perhaps the strongest signal would be
to actually physically see the property.
Well, that one is easy; camera technology has come a long way in just the past
decade and I’m not only talking about
20-megapixel phones that can take high
resolution images and video, I’m talking about virtual reality and 360-degree pictures that literally give you eyes
on the back of your head.
Next is hearing. Of course, it’s basic
and easy for technology to relay this
information, but let’s go a step further
shall we? You’re 55 years old, sitting in
your home in Cairo, enjoying a nice virtual tour of a property you’re interested
in Dubai, and all of a sudden Umm
Kulthum starts setting the mood –
while simultaneously, another viewer in
New York – same age – starts listening
to Sinatra. Technology can seamlessly,
instantly, and in a very relevant way,
enhance one’s experience, even when
making such an emotional decision like
buying a home.
But what about imagination? That’s
easy, too. How many of us have walked
into our future property and tried to
picture where the sofa goes? Well, how
about software that instantly stages
your home while on your virtual tour?
Would that not only enhance your
experience, but also enable you to
literally see what your next home
could look like?
We can, of course, go on and on
about technology that we could easily
incorporate to other technology we
could potentially develop, but the
point is, we can harness its power to
positively impact the entire homebuying experience.
Imagine a world where someone sitting not just in the UAE, but in India,
China or Saudi Arabia was able to
browse, view and buy property from
their mobile phone.
The beauty of technology is that
it simplifies our lives, enhances our
experiences and, while many will always
doubt its role in one of the world’s
oldest and largest industries, technology is bound to change the way people
buy and sell property simply because it
makes it easier!
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 13
TALK
SUBSCRIBE TO SUCCESS
THE RECENT ACQUISITION OF DUBAI-BASED BEAUTY SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE GLAMBOX BY SAUDI
ARABIAN INVESTORS SHOWS THE WAY TO A LUCRATIVE EXIT FOR MENA STARTUPS
BY IPSHITA SHARMA
Last month Dubai-based beauty subscription service GlamBox Middle East announced
that it had been acquired by a Saudi Arabiabased consortium of investors. While the exact
financial details of the sale remain undisclosed,
the deal marks a significant milestone for a
company that was started in 2012 by cofounders Shant Oknayan, Fares Akkad, Christos Mastoras and Marc Ghobriel, as a small business
and has since seen its value skyrocket.
Prior to being sold, GlamBox had collected
more than $4 million in venture capital funding
from regional investors including STC Ventures,
MBC Ventures, R&R Ventures and KSA strategic investors, and the sale sees the founders,
as well as STC, MBC and R&R all selling their
stakes to the Saudi consortium.
With rapid growth and clear exit strategy,
the company is the kind of success story that
every MENA start-up dreams of. But why has
GlamBox been so successful? And why are
numerous me-toos like ChicLiving box and
Spinkso box not even in the same league?
Its all in the partnerships; GlamBox has
partnered with more than 200 brands since
its launch, including Benefit, Givenchy, L’Oreal
Paris, Maybelline, L’Occitane, Philosophy, Rituals, Bliss, Dermalogica and Nivea, as well as
some niche and local brands including Herbal
Essentials, Davines, Ciate, Alterna, Missha and
many more.
Korean brand Missha used Glambox to
enter the MENA market. “We combined the
sampling with an event, which resulted in customer participation and feedback,” says Alfiya
Saifuddin of Fakhree Al Hindi Group, which
launched the company in the Middle East. “It
gave us a great introduction to a new market.”
The operations director at fashion ecommerce platform Isawitfirst.me, Bianca
Skeete, pinpoints another benefit of subscription services: guaranteed engagement.
“It works to be included inside a subscription
business as the customer is already engaged
and is interested in the items,” she says. “You
can almost guarantee visibility.”
As is so often the case in business, for
Glambox, timing was a large factor in the com14 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
pany’s success. “We saw an opportunity in e-commerce at a time when
the industry was still very nascent in
MENA,” says the company’s cofounder Fares Akkad, currently Head
of Media Partnerships at Facebook for
Middle East and Africa. “The space
is now booming with the entrance of
large players such as Amazon via its
acquisition of Souq.com and the digitisation of traditional retail groups”.
And it seems that the sale will be
just the start for the company. “We are
excited about GlamBox’s next phase
of growth and regional expansion,”
says CEO Matthieu Guinard, who
joined GlamBox in 2016 and has since
launched a series of new initiatives
including a men’s grooming subscription service and a GlamBox app – all of
which has contributed to the company’s subscriber base growing five-fold
over the past year.
“The KSA consortium which has
acquired GlamBox brings a wealth of
knowledge and experience, particularly in Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest
beauty market.”
ADVERTORIAL
AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN
SEE — AND BEYOND
MAG PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT HAS NOW BEEN RELAUNCHED AS MAG
LIFESTYLE DEVELOPMENT — WITH A NEW BRAND IDENTITY AND A COMPELLING
NEW PROMISE TO OUR CUSTOMERS: EXPECT MORE.
ith an entirely rethought brand
image and philosophy, we are
excited to be introducing our
unique ‘lifestyle development’ concept
to the real estate sector for the first
time. I would like to explore what this
means to us at MAG, because it is the
product of our pursuit of ‘more’, which
is what keeps us up at night and what we
work for every morning.
We believe that the future of MAG
lies beyond brick-and-mortar; instead,
it centres on creating unique concepts
and new opportunities that proactively improve our customers’ lives.
This continues the legacy of Moafaq Al
Gaddah, Chairman and Founder of the
MAG Group, whose life work has hinged
on translating dreams into reality. Now,
we are offering our customers not just
buildings to live in, but rather new lifestyles to discover.
Our vision is to be a future-shaping,
customer-centric lifestyle development
company that is always surpassing
expectations, which we will achieve by
delivering on our mission to be an agile
brand, constantly on the lookout for
new opportunities, pioneering innovative concepts and always ready for what
our customers desire, whenever and
wherever that may be. We will pursue
our vision and mission with the marked
passion, ambitious ingenuity and genuine integrity that have always been the
cornerstones of our work.
Our MAG Creek Wellbeing Resort
project, the region’s first wellness-
W
Talal Al Gaddah aims to position the company as one of the top five developers in the region
inspired real estate, is ‘lifestyle development’ in action. It is a landscaped
master development that has been
meticulously engineered in partnership
with Delos, a leading wellness real estate
and technology company, to provide
residents with a holistic and healthy
lifestyle by integrating the best of science, health and technology within the
built environment. With other projects
like MAG 5, MAG EYE and MAG 230,
we are also improving lives by opening
up new opportunities for mid-income
earners in the residential market.
This is how we are giving more – by
putting our customers at the heart of
our strategy and providing the answers
to what they need and desire at every
stage of their journey. Our new logo,
which is inspired by the human eye,
captures the intuition, vision, foresight,
attention to detail and beauty that we
pour into our developments to ensure
we deliver on this promise. The cultural
significance and profound dimensions of
the human eye make it the perfect creative representation of our promise that
our customers can expect more.
Our new brand philosophy sends
a clear message to our customers: we
have a clear vision for our future and we
want them to keep an eye on theirs too
by putting their trust in us. MAG Lifestyle Development exists for the sole
purpose of inspiring them to expect
more from us.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 15
TALK
UBER
FIVE MINUTE INTERVIEW
DAMIEN DRAP, GENERAL MANAGER OF UBEREATS UAE
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
I am an experimenter, passionate about the
diversity of experiences life can bring. I really
enjoy analysing how our society, beliefs and
norms evolve over time. As such, working in a
tech company and witnessing as well as influencing, the impact that technology has on our
lives provides me with front row seats to one of
the most important social shifts of our history.
I also love to be involved – whether in the audience or on the stage – in live performances,
from experimental theatre to performance art,
to the not-so-simple art of live-cooking in front
of guests.
HOW WOULD OTHERS DESCRIBE YOU?
The people who know me best would probably
say firstly that I am intense in the way I experience life. I am also a very tenacious person,
sometimes on the edge of obstination. My
friends also call me an iconoclast, which, to me,
is a good thing, as everything around us should
always be challenged in a constructive way to
ensure we’re not trapping ourselves in cages
of our own making. Finally, I used to be known
as one of the very last to leave the dance floor,
but how things have changed since I became
a dad!
WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST CAREER ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
Without a doubt participating in building Uber
outside of the US in some of our most profitable markets today, improving the way people
move around in Europe and seeing the positive
impact on the cities we serve. It is the same
excitement I still feel today when bringing the
future of food to the Middle East, always focusing on providing the best customer experience
and the exact food people are looking for, even
before they know it.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?
The most inspiring to me is to work with talented people from all around the world: the team
you work with is the most important part of
any work experience. Beyond this, I feel really
excited about optimising the way we interact
with the physical world thanks to technology,
and how this can allow us to make the cities we
serve smarter and more efficient, while providing financial opportunities to our partners,
16 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
whether they are restaurants, drivers
or couriers.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS?
I really don’t have any regrets, but
I sometimes like to think about the
other professional paths I might
have chosen. It would definitely be
something involving creativity –
from interior design to cooking or
haute couture.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL IN BUSINESS?
I believe there are two sides to every
entrepreneurial adventure. The first
is a journey of personal growth and
development whilst encouraging and
helping with the growth and development of others. You have to inspire
others to develop new skills, dream
big and become better people. The
second is making sure you step out
of your comfort zone and push the
existing boundaries, all while changing the world we live in for the better.
To do so, there’s only one recipe for
success: identify a genuine need that
people have, build a solution to it
focusing on the quality of the product
and customer experience, and do so
sustainably. It sounds easy, but it’s the
hardest thing to do.
WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DO YOU VALUE MOST
IN OTHERS?
The most important qualities, both in
business and in life, are transparency,
kindness and pragmatism. If you have
all three, then you are able to easily
build trust, interact efficiently in any
group and keep a down-to-earth approach to things. This helps you focus
on what really matters, without letting
irrelevant things pull you down.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST LUXURY?
This business is literally day and night
and always in real-time, so it’s easy to
get pulled into it and lose track of the
rest. My biggest luxury is being able to
plan my schedule around the needs of
my family – we had our first baby this
year – and I make sure to spend some
quality time with them daily.
BUSINESS | AL RAWABI DAIRY COMPANY
Dr Ahmed Eltigani says the
Al Rawabi brand resonates with the
UAE’s spirit of excellence
THE FUTURE
IS
HEALTHY
DR AHMED ELTIGANI, CEO OF AL
RAWABI DAIRY COMPANY, ON
WHY HE THINKS NUTRITION IS
THE BUSINESS OF TOMORROW.
BY KATY GILLETT
T WAS THE GREEK PHYSICIAN
HIPPOCRATES WHO FAMOUSLY
SAID: “LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE
AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD.” Today,
more than 2,000 years later, this
attitude is catching on.
“I personally believe that 20 years
from now we won’t have pharmacies
I
like we have today,” says Dr Ahmed
Eltigani, CEO of Al Rawabi Dairy
Company and chairman of the UAE
Dairy and Juice Association. “I believe people will have all treatment of
diseases through food.”
This is the basis for his Dubaiborn company’s entire philosophy,
and why “The Nation’s Health”
is its official tagline.
Dr Eltigani, a veterinary surgeon by
vocation, founded the company back
in 1989. He had dreamed of building
a farm in the desert, something many
people at the time did not think was
possible. It started with just 500 handpicked Holstein and Friesian cattle
from Germany. Now you will find 13,000
cows grazing at the Al Khawaneej-
based facility, and between 20 and 25
new calves are born every single day.
We meet Dr Eltigani at the farm.
He is sharply dressed in a light grey
suit as he sits at his dark wooden desk,
passionately and precisely explaining
to CEO Middle East his company’s
history, processes and its future.
Behind him sits a cabinet holding numerous awards, including international
accolades for leadership excellence,
environmental practices, commitment
to education and industry innovations.
One such recognition came just
last year for the introduction of Al
Rawabi’s pioneering Vitamin D Milk
product. This was conceived after
the company worked closely with
the Ministry of Health to develop
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 17
BUSINESS | AL RAWABI DAIRY COMPANY
Al Rawabi Dairy Company, with Dr Eltigani at the helm, aims to transform into a major brand by 2020 with presence in all countries in the MENA region
products that would address health
concerns in the UAE.
“The first thing is the widespread
prevalence of vitamin D deficiencies,”
he explains. “Eighty percent of the
population have one.”
Previous to that, Al Rawabi introduced Super Milk, which also provides consumers with more essential
nutrients, such as vitamins A, B12, D,
E and calcium. Then came NutreeBoost, a functional laban drink that is
enriched with oats, vitamins and minerals, and acts as a meal replacement.
Across its range of juice products, too,
the company has refocussed its efforts
18 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
on decreasing calories and lessening
sugar content.
“Consumers are more educated
now, especially young people,” Dr Eltigani adds. “When we started, consumers used to look just for the production
and expiry dates. Now they dig deeper,
they look into the ingredients, they
do research, they ask if it’s good for
their health.
“The tempo of life is changing;
nutrition and pharmacology is changing. People want to look younger,
live longer, be alert, productive and
active, and that is the why we have
introduced functional products.”
In 2018, Al Rawabi is working on developing a range of new health-focussed
items. These include drinks for people
suffering from diabetes and hypertension, as well as for weight loss. There
is also another product in the pipeline
specifically for women that promises
smoother skin “from the inside out”.
Every product contains healthy, natural
ingredients, with no chemicals or additives, Dr Eltigani emphasises.
“We are investing a lot of money
in the research and we call in the best
experts in their fields, because we
want to make sure we are introducing
a safe, healthy product.”
Each cow in Al Rawabi’s farm in Al Khawaneej produces around 31 litres of milk per day
Of course, no innovation nor
development comes easily. Dr Eltigani
tells us how rates for ingredients,
insurance and freight are all going
up, and yet the company has not been
able offset these costs by raising their
product prices.
“We are also getting competitors
from other countries that share the
same market and same conditions,
and yet their cost structure is much
lower than ours because they have
some direct or indirect subsidies,
which we don’t have.”
Last year, he tells us, the company
paid $5.44m (AED20m) on electricity
“WE INVEST A
LOT OF MONEY
IN RESEARCH
AND WE CALL IN
TOP EXPERTS IN
THEIR FIELDS,
BECAUSE WE
WANT TO
MAKE SURE WE
ARE ALWAYS
INTRODUCING
SAFE AND
HEALTHY
PRODUCTS”
bills alone. And, with the introduction
of VAT to the UAE in the New Year,
Dr Eltigani foresees challenging
times ahead, not just for his own
business but for the entire industry.
In order to meet such growing
demands, Dr Eltigani tells us that
they do a lot of “re-engineering”.
“Every week we study our business processes and see where we can
improve.” This is why, at the end of
2017, the entire management team of
Al Rawabi spent three days discussing
plans for the year ahead. Using the
leadership system developed by global
consulting experts FranklinCovey,
each manager was responsible for
developing two to three major goals
for 2018. The various teams then
work together throughout the year in
order to make sure every department
achieves their aims.
“Leaders in business should listen to
their employees and try to unleash their
talent by giving them opportunities,”
Dr Eltigani asserts. “Try to understand
before being understood – I think this
habit that Stephen Covey puts forth
in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective
People, is very important.”
It is clear to us, by the end of
our farm tour, that Eltigani is the
epitome of a highly effective person.
He greets everyone by name and
pets the cows as we pass by. He tells
us how he spends 90 minutes in the
gym every morning and makes sure
to have dinner together with his wife
and six children each night. He also
still finds time to have a busy social
life and keep hobbies such as painting and diving.
“You have to be this way,” he
smiles. “Life is going very fast, and you
cannot catch up with everything unless
you try to be fit, mindful and, most
importantly, healthy.” That, he says, is
what the future is all about.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 19
INTERVIEW
THE NOW
INVESTOR
ften entrepreneurs have one
big idea that they are convinced is going to make them
their millions. In cases of success, it
takes tremendous mettle, courage and
tenacity, not to mention a great deal of
risk, to see a project come to fruition.
However, for every triumph over adversity and every success story, there are
hordes of failures. In fact, one in four
SMEs fail within the first year, and 70
percent of the balance fail by year four.
But for the business owner looking
to better his odds, there is an easier
consideration: diversifying. Clearly, as
a business owner you already possess
that certain je ne sais quoi that it takes to
set up on your own, and presumably you
also have a certain skillset that makes
your expertise a valuable commodity.
So, why not consider investing your
time, money and expertise into someone
else’s business?
The days of me wanting 100 percent
ownership are far behind me. Having
smaller shares in several businesses
keeps ‘Now Money’ rolling in and ‘Future Business’ on track. Imagine having
varied quarterly returns from several
businesses; it may not be the big ticket
you had initially thought of, but a diverse portfolio hedges your investments
and lessens risk levels considerably. As
my father always said, “It’s better to
have 20 percent of something than 100
percent of nothing”.
I wanted to write this editorial to
offer an understanding of why I consider
this particular approach to business to
be the future. Based on personal experiences and some costly decisions, this
is a transposable approach to growing
a successful empire in any economic
climate, which is formed from the following key principals:
O
Think resources, not funds
Do you have capital, but not sure it is
enough to get to where you visualise
20 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
THE ‘NOW’
INVESTOR
ONE IN FOUR SMES FAIL WITHIN
THE FIRST YEAR, SO BEING AN
ENTREPRENEUR IS A CAREER PATH
FRAUGHT WITH DANGER. BUT YOU
CAN BOOST YOUR CHANCES OF
SUCCESS BY DIVERSIFYING YOUR
PORTFOLIO, SAYS ADAM RIDGWAY
being? If so, your instincts are probably right – you won’t have enough,
and you will fall short. However, if you
use an alternative mindset, it’s not all
about needing more money to grow your
business; it’s about having a different
strategy. More money is actually not
needed, so stop thinking about it (it’ll
consume you). Instead, think in terms of
resources. What do you have that could
help bring the results you’re looking for?
Remove emotion from your idea
Not every successful business is glamorous. Selling the dream of building a
multimillion-dollar brand sounds great
and challenging, but it can be done in
any number of ways. It may be with the
next big idea to revolutionise an industry, having invested heavily and made
tremendous sacrifices over the course
of a decade, or you could be selling hot
dogs from a stall and earning AED3
profit on every sale. Scale the latter
by the same timeframe and look at the
financials – it may not be as glamorous,
but it delivers the same reward.
Think of ‘Now Money’ vs.
‘Future Business’
This is advice I give myself daily. Will
the time I invest into an idea, project,
person or business bring in ‘Now Money’? Do I need it to? Or is this a ‘Future
Business’ investment? Is it worth it?
The future is the exciting part, but you
need a combination of both to succeed.
Another daily question is: Is it needed,
or just nice to have? Probably two of the
most essential mantras to my daily life.
You don’t know everything,
nor should you
You don’t have to have all the answers;
no one does. You’ll have to wear many
hats, know everyone’s role (so if you get
let down, which you will, it won’t affect
your future business). Surround yourself
with peers who do and have done, who
have the experience. Of course, this
expertise does not come for free. These
people have learnt and already paid
the price for being able to provide you
sound advice and a different way of
modelling your business, so their investment in you must be rewarded. Lose all
ego (but not confidence or belief), and
think what you can offer them before
you start the conversation.
Nobody will care about your brand
as much as you do – they don’t have to.
Let them care about their expertise and
allow them to deliver what your business needs to grow.
Choose the right people to work with
This can be the hardest element for any
new entrepreneur. Set out your expectations and deliverables from the start;
make sure they overlap where needed
and stay divided equally so. Invest in
the correct legal contracts – this provides the solid foundations for any business to grow – and consider the ‘what
ifs’ and issues that may arise.
I don’t believe any article, book or
podcast can give you all the answers,
and I’m certainly no stranger to making
mistakes in business. While reading this
will hopefully give you a few take-home
nuggets for consideration, it’s the experience of taking that audacious leap that
counts. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely
place, but it doesn’t have to be.
INTERVIEW
THE NOW
INVESTOR
ADAM RIDGWAY,
CEO OF MEDIACUBED, TRAVALL WORLD,
ADBRAND, VIDEOH AND DOTCASTING
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 21
TALK
ENERGY
POWERING THE WORLD
THE RISE OF GREEN ENERGY DOESN’T MEAN THE END FOR THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY, SAYS QAIS AL KHONJI
Oil and gas is a cyclical business where
prices rise when demand is high and
supplies fall short, only to plunge when
there’s a surplus in demand and alternative sources are developed, but this
doesn’t always necessarily signify the end
of the oil and gas era following recent
trends. Many industries will still depend
on oil and gas in the future, even though
demand has dropped. Strong oil and gas
companies that are run very well will
emerge stronger if they’re able to introduce new technologies and improve their
business process, which will decrease their
production costs despite the high availability of oil in the market. Production
would not result in such terrible losses if
production costs are well managed and
prices are regulated to suit all.
As a businessman in my respective
field, it’s quite challenging and risky to
venture into the business of green energy
in this region despite many countries such
as the UAE and Saudi Arabia investing
heavily in green energy. Solar power, for
example, is fast replacing fossil fuels, but
I really believe that unless governments
undertake studies and take serious steps
in recognising this sector and opening it
up for investors to take the challenge, then
the chance of it succeeding will be slim.
Let’s talk about the real effects of
green energy on businesses. Many consider it highly disruptive and an unwelcome change because when the price of
green energy is low, it directly impacts
energy prices, which leads to plunges in
share prices of energy companies, affecting overall revenues and market share and
leading to losses. The market knows how
to trade oil, but the outlook on the green
energy market has shown some volatility
22 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
QAIS AL KHONJI, FOUNDER AND
CEO OF GENESIS INTERNATIONAL
AND GENESIS PROJECTS AND
INVESTMENTS IN OMAN
and companies should begin to
adapt to this change. This is why
companies that produce energyefficient products, such as the
Tesla car, for example, might need
anything between the scope of 10
to 20 years before they announce
that they have successfully replaced the traditional automobile.
I’m with diversification, but
I still see a lot of potential in oil
and gas for the next 50 years.
Anything new takes a lot of time
to settle properly and requires
expertise and skilled manpower,
which might not be available locally. Other sources of energy tend
to be slow in terms of generating
outcome. But unless governments
are supportive, then most companies won’t be able to resume their
organic growth when the market
will be overtaken by alternative
producers who will eat up the oil
and gas market share.
I really do believe that the oil
and gas industry cannot afford to
see further losses and should focus on stability, because creating
stability today is important for
stability in the future. This industry today still remains a growth
business; oil will still remain a
fuel of choice in the future and
production should not continue
to drop because it is required to
sustain the declining rates from
other fields of energy.
AT THE DAWN OF ANOTHER NEW YEAR,
WE ASSEMBLE EIGHT OF THE REGION’S
TOP BUSINESS LEADERS IN VARYING
INDUSTRIES FROM E-COMMERCE AND
RETAIL TO JEWELLERY AND INDUSTRIAL
STEEL PRODUCTION,
TO GET THEIR TAKE ON THE YEAR
THAT WAS AND WHAT WE CAN
LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2018
BUSINESS | PREDICTIONS
AMBAREEN
MUSA
FOUNDER OF SOUQALMAL.COM
W
hat have your biggest
achievements of 2017 been?
2017 has been an exceptional
year for me as the CEO of Souqalmal.
com. We’ve brought in $10m in our
Series B funding, with the investment
round being led by Riyad TAQNIA
Fund, and including two local and global
strategic partners – UAE Exchange
and UK-based GoCompare. We’re the
third company in the region to bring in a
strategic international player, and that’s
a massive landmark for Souqalmal.com
and for the region as a whole.
And while it’s been great to see
Souqalmal in the news for raising $10m,
I’m even more excited that the business
is performing better than ever and is
standing on a strong foundation. We’ve
grown our insurance business by 800
percent in the past 12 months alone.
We’ve also focussed on building efficiencies along the way. Through service optimisation, we’ve slashed our customer
acquisition cost by 80 percent.
What were your toughest challenges of
the past 12 months?
There are challenges on a daily basis as
an entrepreneur and CEO. The challenges
vary from regulatory to finding the right
talent. 2017 was particularly challenging
as a CEO trying to both close our round
of funding but also not lose too much
touch with the operations of the business.
Fundraising is almost a full-time job on
its own, and trying to manage to keep the
business growing is another. I’m really
looking forward to 2018 to now be able
to use our recent round to really build up
the product and our brand.
24 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
Ambareen Musa says Souqalmal is performing better than ever and is standing on a strong foundation
What are your goals for 2018?
Our aim for 2018 is to launch new
business lines, and grow the Souqalmal brand even further by ramping up
investment in marketing.
Our strategic partnership with UAE
Exchange is in line with this goal, which
is set to make Souqalmal a household
name synonymous with buying insurance
in the UAE.
We’re also looking to invest in our
technology and applying the technological know-how brought in by our international strategic partner GoCompare.
“OUR AIM FOR 2018 IS TO LAUNCH
NEW BUSINESS LINES, AND GROW THE
SOUQALMAL BRAND EVEN FURTHER”
IBRAHIM
COLAK
FOUNDER AND CEO OF MRUSTA
W
hat have your biggest
achievements of 2017 been?
Our achievements were twofold, one of which can be told in numbers. Streamlining our model, processes, and improving efficiency allowed
us to increase our monthly revenue by
more than three times.
That was also thanks to another
achievement – putting the right team
in place to ensure and secure our
future successes.
What were your toughest challenges of
the past 12 months?
As an advanced-stage startup, a common challenge is one of marketing
spend as budgets are rather limited.
To offset this limitation, our
strategy in 2017 was partnerships
with larger, established organisations
that help build our credibility and
customer-base for very low costs. Our
toughest challenge in 2017 was securing those partnerships, as they take a
lot of man-hours in terms of follow-up
and execution even after the agreements are inked.
What are your goals for 2018?
Our primary goal is to successfully close
our Series A funding round. We believe
we have secured the confidence of our
investors and have proven that our
business model works and is scalable,
so the time is ripe for our first major
funding round.
We also would like to see our user
base increased fourfold, and for mrUsta
to be launched in new territories across
the region.
Ibrahim Colak says securing partnerships was a tough challenge in 2017
What do you think will be your biggest
challenges of the year?
With our ambition to plant our flag in
new markets, there will be the obvious
challenge of educating both customers
and Ustas (service providers) in those
“WE ALSO WOULD LIKE
TO SEE OUR USER BASE
INCREASED FOURFOLD,
AND FOR MRUSTA TO
BE LAUNCHED IN NEW
TERRITORIES ACROSS
THE REGION”
new territories on the benefits of mrUsta
as the service provider sector in a traditionally offline market in the region.
What is your advice for businesspeople
for 2018?
Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to do
everything from the get-go. Focus on
the key elements of your business –
those elements that differentiate you
from the competition and truly add
value to your brand – and execute them
perfectly. The other aspects of your
business will fall into place provided
that your core is delivered flawlessly.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 25
BUSINESS | PREDICTIONS
This has been the culmination
of an investment career spanning 24
years. I’m excited about my new journey and I’m looking forward to building a unique company in our region.
What were your toughest challenges of
the past 12 months?
Convincing others to believe in the
long-term potential of our region is
always challenging.
Unfortunately, there is too much
focus on short-term noise rather than
the strong long-term fundamentals of
our market.
What are your goals for 2018?
Our goals include to drive growth and
development of our portfolio companies, invest in new companies and help
the entrepreneurial ecosystem to continue to develop across the region.
Amjad Ahmad believes the best learning an entrepreneur can gain is from actual market interaction
AMJAD AHMAD
FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER OF PRECINCT PARTNERS
“MY ADVICE IS TO
MOVE FAST AND BUILD
A PRODUCT THAT YOU
CAN TAKE TO MARKET
TO TEST YOUR
ASSUMPTIONS”
26 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
hat have your biggest
achievements of 2017 been?
I officially became an
entrepreneur and launched my
venture and growth capital
company, Precinct Partners,
in the DIFC.
W
What do you think will be your biggest
challenges of the year?
The continuing negativity and scepticism given the recent regional challenges will hinder growth and investor
appetite in 2018.
Unfortunately, not many listened
to the advice of Warren Buffet when
he stated, “Be fearful when others
are greedy and greedy when others
are fearful”. It is periods like these
when smart investors make the
greatest returns.
What is your advice for businesspeople
for 2018?
My advice is to move fast and build a
product that you can take to market to
test your assumptions.
The best learning an entrepreneur can gain is from actual market
interaction. This will help in improving the product, value proposition and
understand the true economics of your
business model.
SANJEEV
GUPTA
CHAIRMAN OF LIBERTY
HOUSE GROUP
hat have your biggest
achievements of 2017 been?
Without doubt the biggest
achievements of 2017 were the major
industrial acquisitions we undertook in
the UK and Australia, starting with Britain’s last remaining aluminium smelter
and associated hydropower stations in
Scotland, the Speciality Steels business in the North of England and China,
which make high-grade steels for the
world’s aircraft fleet, and the excellent
engineering businesses in the English
Midlands, which supply millions of parts
to the UK car industry each year.
Perhaps the biggest achievement was
the acquisition of our new integrated
Australian steel business, Liberty OneSteel, with over 6,000 staff. All of these
were crucial milestones on our journey
as a business; key pieces of an emerging
global industrial enterprise based on a
new and sustainable business model. I
remember 2016 as an exciting year as
we came out of our shell somewhat, but
2017 was a year when we started reaching for the stars.
W
What were your toughest challenges of
the past 12 months?
The sheer pace of growth has been a
challenge – going from an organisation
of 2,000 employees to 11,500 people in
the space of 12 months.
We needed to set in place the
structures to manage that enlarged
entity effectively while retaining the
strong entrepreneurial spirit that led to
this exciting growth in the first place.
We were very lucky to have welcomed
Sanjeev Gupta has big plans in store for the Liberty House Group
“[THE CHALLENGE
IS] CONTINUING AND
EVEN ACCELERATING
OUR PACE OF GROWTH,
BOTH ORGANIC AND
INORGANIC”
many world-class professionals into the
organisation through recruitment and
through the acquisition of these businesses. Their skills and commitment
have been vital in helping us integrate
these new member companies into the
global GFG family.
What are your goals for 2018?
Given that low-carbon, sustainable
Greensteel and Green Aluminium are at
the heart of our business model, our key
goal in the year ahead will be to build
our green production capacity worldwide. By that I mean expanding our
capacity to produce renewable energy
to drive our industrial processes and
building the infrastructure we need to
produce competitively priced metals –
both steel and aluminium.
During 2018 we will step up our
programme to develop one gigawatt
of renewable energy capacity and five
million tonnes of Greensteel production
capability in the UK.
Moreover, we have ambitious plans
to build ten gigawatts of green power
capacity in Australia to power our ambitious industrial plans there.
What do you think will be your
biggest challenges of the year?
Continuing and even accelerating
our pace of growth, both organic and
inorganic, both in business and as an
organisation. Entering capital markets
for the first time, for some specific parts
of our business.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 27
BUSINESS | PREDICTIONS
NOORULDEEN
AGHA
FOUNDER OF ELABELZ
W
hat have your biggest
achievements of 2017 been?
The biggest achievement was
to get elabelz.com from a team of 20 to
a team of 250 within 12 months. Now
that by itself is not an achievement, the
achievement was that we were growing
so phenomenally fast to need to hire and
grow the team the way we did.
What were your toughest challenges of
the past 12 months?
The toughest challenge was finding a
team that had the relevant talent, which
can still be a major issue in technologyrelated fields, but secondly, and most
importantly, was finding partners that
shared the same vision, and wanted to
build something that will come out from
the Middle East region and go global.
What are your goals for 2018?
Develop the customer experience within
Elabelz to make it a brand that competes
head to head with the global industry
pioneers not only in the region, but in the
US and UK markets. This is vitally important for us, as in 2018 we are planning
to take elabelz.com global.
What do you think will be your biggest
challenges of the year?
To make the product appealing to the
international market, we have many
areas in relation to the customer experience and the life cycle of the customer
to improve on. But that’s one of the best
challenges to have.
Secondly, as Elabelz aims to grow
ten times the size it is currently over
2018, and on the way gains a little bit
28 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
Nooruldeen Agha aims to take his firm to even greater heights this year
of maturity, the toughest challenge will
be setting the standards and pace, as
correct as I can possibly imagine it, as it
could define the future of the company.
What is your advice for businesspeople
for 2018?
If you think about it, almost everyone
you know, says it every day: “I am going
to start a business next year” and “I
am thinking about a business that I am
going to start soon”. The funny thing
is, almost none of them actually go out
and start a business. So the one thing
“THE BIGGEST
ACHIEVEMENT WAS
TO GET ELABELZ.COM
FROM A TEAM OF 20 TO
A TEAM OF 250 WITHIN
12 MONTHS”
I have to say to you is, if you want to
start a business or you have an idea that
you truly feel for, stop thinking and stop
procrastinating, and get out there and
get it done. The only thing stopping you
from doing it, is you.
products look from different angles and
share photos with friends and family.
Another big move for us was introducing an extensive product lineup that
includes the widest range of kids’ furniture that caters to spectrum of needs
within nursery and teenagers’ rooms. We
also added an array of modular solutions to suit customers’ evolving needs.
Additionally, this year we also launched
warranty on furniture and home accessories to reinforce the quality in our
products to our customers.
Médéric Payne is making plans to retain Home Centre’s number one position in the market
MÉDÉRIC PAYNE
CEO OF HOME CENTRE
hat have your biggest
achievements of 2017 been?
It has been a memorable year.
The market has seen its ups and downs
and we have worked on business operations to provide shoppers with a seamless experience, ensuring quality and
easy access to our customers.
Following the launch our revamped
flagship store in Mall of The Emirates
Dubai, we extended the new format to
Rashid Mega Mall store, Saudi Arabia.
The new format stores are designed to
create inspiration by combining products
W
and technology, letting the customer
experience the true essence of the brand.
After the success of homecentre.com
in the UAE, we expanded our omnichannel approach, introducing the
e-commerce portal in KSA and Bahrain.
To further enhance our omni-channel
experience we amplified engagement
with customers on our digital platforms
with the introduction of augmented
reality on the iPhone app’s newest
operating system. The feature allows
shoppers to virtually preview furniture in
their homes, view dimensions, see how
What were your toughest challenges of
the past 12 months?
The challenge we took up as a brand
was to provide our customers with a
seamless cohesive shopping journey.
This meant changing our store formats,
ensuring our online shopping experiences provided customers with extensive choices and making sure operations run smoothly. The other aspect
we focussed on is adhering to the new
and improved safety regulation standards with our products.
What are your goals for 2018?
We started with a vision to provide
customers with high quality products at
affordable prices and, today, more than
two decades later, customer satisfaction
continues to remain a prime focus for us.
We will continue to offer our customers an extensive range of furniture and
home accessories in a customer-friendly,
contemporary and modern shopping
environment, in a bid to remain their
preferred home shopping destination.
What do you think will be your biggest
challenges of the year?
In the next year, our challenge ahead will
be keeping abreast of buying preferences
due to changing lifestyles and emerging
trends that are shaping a new furniture
industry landscape.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 29
BUSINESS | PREDICTIONS
SHEIKHA INTISAR
AL SABAH
FOUNDER OF LULUA PUBLISHING, INTISARS AND PRISMOLOGIE
proved to be under the human development sector for the higher authority for
planning for its upcoming five-year plan
for Kuwait. Plus, our film production
company has just had its third film enter
the competition in both Cairo and Delhi
film festivals. So, basically it has been a
stupendous 2017!
What were your toughest challenges of
the past 12 months?
For me, a life without learning and dealing with trials and tribulations would
be no fun. I love challenges – I thrive on
them and think they are part of everyday life, so I don’t really dwell on them
much, rather solve them and carry on.
What are your goals for 2018?
I’m really looking forward to launching our new artistic and poetic jewellery
brand, Ebbarra, as well as our Intisars
amazing women book in association with
Assouline in summer.
We will also have more than 18 new
products for Prismologie, so it’s set to be
an exciting year.
Sheikha Intisar Al Sabah is planning future launches across the world
hat have your biggest
achievements of 2017 been?
I have had many great achievements this year in most of my enterprises. We launched high-end jewellery
brand Intisars to a great positive
reaction with two events in Kuwait,
and we have future launches across the
world planned.
For Prismologie, my mood-enhancing beauty brand, we just signed up with
the biggest TV shopping channel in the
world – American QVC – and are also
the number one bath and body brand at
W
30 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
“FOR ME, LIFE
WITHOUT LEARNING
AND DEALING WITH
TRIALS WOULD
BE NO FUN. I LOVE
CHALLENGES”
John Bell & Croyden, the Queen’s pharmacy in London.
We also have Alnowair – a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting
positivity, particularly in educational
institutions, which has just been ap-
What do you think will be your biggest
challenges of the year?
Keeping up with all the success we will
achieve! We have worked very smartly
and intelligently on all our brands and
enterprises and the challenge is to continue the smart thinking we have done
so far.
What is your advice for businesspeople
for 2018?
Don’t just work hard; work smart. While
hard work means putting in long hours
and keeping a never-ending focus on the
day-to-day work that can so easily cause
burnout and exhaustion, smart work
means looking at the big picture. Every
couple of days, stop doing what you’re
doing, stand back and view work from a
different angle.
year, including Unilever KSA and UAE
being recognised as leading Unilever’s
global quality league table with a first
and second spot respectively. We also
made great progress with our sustainable living plan, which has successfully
reduced CO2 by 34 percent per tonne of
production, water use by 18 percent and
waste by 100 percent.
Sanjiv Kakkar aims to continue attracting the best talent from across the region
SANJIV KAKKAR
UNILEVER EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, MENA, TURKEY, RUSSIA,
UKRAINE AND BELARUS
hat have been your biggest
achievements of 2017?
2017 has been another challenging year for the MENA region with a
tough economic and geopolitical climate
as demonstrated by Egypt’s currency
devaluation, increased protectionism,
and more digitally connected, savvy and
demanding consumers.
At Unilever, we see all disruptions as
opportunities and our global Connected
4 Growth (C4G) change programme,
introduced at the start of the year, has
transformed Unilever into a business
that is more agile and responsive to
fast-changing consumer trends and
W
digitisation. This has translated into
many decisive wins for our brands, which
deliver high quality products at competitive price points.
As a business, we have continued to
become more resilient, while delivering
strong and sustainable growth. We have
had a number of big wins over the past
“WE HAVE CONTINUED
TO BECOME MORE
RESILIENT WHILE
DELIVERING STRONG
AND SUSTAINABLE
GROWTH”
What were your toughest challenges of
the past 12 months?
The world around us is changing at an
incredible speed and digitisation is impacting everything – how we live, work
and play. At the same time, we see entry
barriers to our industry coming down,
leading to massive fragmentation of our
markets and intense cost competition.
Additionally, rising trade barriers
due to an increased mindset of protectionism, cost pressures emanating from
currency devaluation – particularly
devaluation of the Egyptian Pound –
rising commodity costs and constantly
evolving regulations have emerged as
sizeable challenges.
We are confident that our improved
internal efficiencies, thanks to C4G and
improving quality of products to drive
consumer preference, is paying in offsetting the effect of larger challenges.
What are your goals for 2018?
We have made good progress in 2017,
whilst it is getting harder the further we
go, we will continue to focus on offering
the best quality products to meet the
needs of our consumers.
Our innovation funnel, for example,
is getting more focussed and we are
combining this with far greater local
agility and speed to market.
We aim to continue the legacy of
being the employer of choice across
MENA, while continuing to attract the
best talent across the region with a focus
on gender diversity and inclusion.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 31
BUSINESS | RAW COFFEE COMPANY
RAW
AMBITION
KIM THOMPSON, FOUNDER
AND CO-OWNER OF RAW COFFEE
COMPANY, EXPLAINS HOW
INVESTING IN HER WORKFORCE AND
PUTTING THE CUSTOMER FIRST
HELPED HER TURN BEANS INTO BIG
BUSINESS. BY PETER IANTORNO
an you tell us a bit about
RAW Coffee Company?
RAW is a coffee roastery that
has just celebrated its ten-year anniversary. Founded in Dubai, our core
business is importing premium quality
green beans and roasting them here locally, supplying to discerning cafés and
restaurants. We are a one-stop coffee
solution; offering not only freshly roasted premium Arabica coffee, but also
representing the best Italian espresso
equipment, we are internationally certified barista trainers and can consult on
all things coffee to help your business
deliver an exceptional experience.
C
How did you start out?
Aware there was a gap in the market,
we started out naïvely in 2007 – and
our learning curve was slow and long.
Fortunately, we made the decision to
focus on the niche high-end market;
high-quality, fresh, organic and ethi-
32 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
Matt Toogood, the director of RAW Coffee
with founder Kim Thompson
cally traded Arabica beans. We also
looked for the right people to join our
team, and invested in them, aware they
would be the key to securing a strong
viable future.
How has the company changed
over the past decade?
We’ve grown in a number of ways in
the past ten years. We went from a
small company where everyone knew
how to do every part of the business, to creating departments, with
organisation and structure. We now
have 31 RAW team members and we’re
still growing. As part of this, we have
upskilled individuals to now become
department heads or employed new
skilled people, with everyone selecting the area they want to personally
“WE WILL DEFINE SUCCESS AS ACHIEVING OUR
AMBITION OF YEAR ON YEAR GROWTH, GREATER
MARKET PENETRATION, AND EXPANSION INTO,
FIRST, ABU DHABI, AND THEN OTHER GCC
COUNTRIES”
symbiotically helped both our businesses to grow.
What are your biggest achievements
in business?
Surviving ten years! But seriously,
becoming a top 100 Dubai SME in 2015
and a finalist in the Gulf Capital Business of the Year this year was fantastic.
Matt and I both feel there is a great
sense of responsibility as an employer,
with our growing team, that we provide
them with financial security, a dynamic
environment to grow, helping them provide for their families, building homes,
schooling their children and supporting their extended families. That’s our
greatest achievement to date.
grow as an individual, playing to their
strengths for the company.
We have also selected and work
with consultants (finance, senior
management training, HR, social
media and IT) to help us in areas we
knew we needed to achieve our growth,
creating procedures so everyone had
clarity and knew what was expected of
them. Through Endeavor, we now have
a strong advisory board supporting us
and, along with our business trainer,
we have regular sessions to discuss
how we attack each new project,
bouncing ideas and figures off them.
We strengthened our partnerships
with suppliers and have developed
direct trade supply of green beans
wherever possible and we’re continuing to grow these. And perhaps, most
importantly, we made the decision to
focus on our customers and became
proactive in our customer service, letting go of companies that didn’t hold
the same vision as we did, concentrating instead on companies where we
3BN
The volume of coffee sales worldwide, in tonnes, by
2021, according to estimates by Euromonitor International
What do you put your success down to?
We are still searching for that. Both
Matt and I decided a year ago that we
were going to go for it, even though we
were proud of what we had achieved so
far with RAW. We would both be bored
unless we invested in learning, expansion and growth.
We will define success as achieving
our ambition of year on year growth,
greater market penetration, and
expansion into, first, Abu Dhabi, and
then the other GCC countries. I believe
once this is done, we will re-evaluate
and always redefine success.
What have been your greatest
challenges so far?
For years it felt like we could not afford
the next phase of our growth; it was
always financially just out of our reach.
We couldn’t afford to bring in people
who could relieve pressure from us,
so that we could work on, not in,
our company.
We worked crazy hours, going
to weekend markets and events as
a form of marketing, then would be
back roasting and packing the coffee
ready to supply to our customers and
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 33
BUSINESS | RAW COFFEE COMPANY
RAW is the supplier of Dubai’s premium 100
percent locally roasted, 100 percent organic and
ethically traded fresh Arabica coffee
then sitting at our desks doing all the
supporting admin. We needed time to
travel to meet our farmers, to foster a
strong relationship where they knew
we would pay for the product we were
demanding. We needed to learn the
ropes importing directly and managing all the documentation as most of
the best coffee we wanted to purchase
came from developing countries.
Rules and regulations changed,
documentation expectations and
inspections changed, so we had to
keep abreast with the legalities. Our
cashflow was crucial as we had no
investor, and it had to support our
projected growth and provide us with
a buffer as coffee is a fruit so it only
grows once per year. We would train
34 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
staff and empower them, only to
have them poached by new companies
with more finance behind them but
no knowledge.
How does the Middle East compare to
other regions in business terms?
I have never run a company in another
country so I have little to gauge against,
but as a cash-rich SME that is growing,
our greatest challenge has been access
to finance with realistic interest rates
that can support expansion. Most of
the challenges we have faced would
have probably been relevant no matter where we lived in the world and
were more about our maturity and
business knowledge.
While there may be other negatives
here with licensing, challenges importing a food product for manufacture, and difficulties getting information, there are positives that outweigh
these challenges. For example, the
“RULES AND REGULATIONS CHANGED,
DOCUMENTATION EXPECTATIONS AND
INSPECTIONS CHANGED, SO WE HAD TO
KEEP ABREAST WITH THE LEGALITIES”
amazing and diverse nationalities
we have in our RAW team that we
wouldn’t have as easy access to in
New Zealand. Also, geographically,
the proximity to the coffee growing countries is a huge plus, and the
European suppliers for the equipment
we like is also a positive.
You recently launched a new coffee
subscription service. How does that
work and what do you think it will add
to your business?
Yes, we launched a new online membership subscription called Refinery
by RAW. We had wanted to do this for
some time as we felt we now had the
knowledge and the right contacts to
purchase really special lots of coffee,
to add to the solid offering from RAW,
providing diversity and bringing in
some really exciting new coffees.
While we would say at the moment Dubai is a good five years
behind leading coffee industries,
it is catching up quickly and there
is a growing niche of people really
interested in good coffee who want
the opportunity to continue learning and developing their palates. It
is designed to be like a wine club,
where we send out only one coffee at
a time and, when it is finished, the
next origin will come online. You can
select how frequently you would like
the deliveries – weekly, bi-weekly or
monthly – and you can gift coffee online. To support this, we are currently
finishing our new website with greater
information, functions and easier use.
You also have an app. How important
is technology to your business?
The app is called Refuel by RAW. It
offers the standard locator and loyalty
function, but we also wanted to promote education for both the customer
interested in learning more about
coffee, but primarily to encourage the
RAW Coffee Company believes barista
training is one of the main ingredients
to making quality coffee
barista community. They can compete
amongst themselves, connect with each
other and see how their skills compare.
Behind the app, we can determine
the cafés that are consistently serving
exceptional coffee, and those that may
need more training and support.
$4.4BN
The size of the Middle East’s coffee market
by 2021, according to Euromonitor International
Tell us more about your new roastery.
We are super excited to whisper, that
after ten years, we are getting to build
the roastery we have always wanted.
This will be a new bigger, better version of RAW, same core values and
ambiance, and still in the industrial
environment that suits us, but we are
bursting at the seams in our existing warehouses and run out of seats
on busy days. We will have improved
temperature-controlled storage for
our green beans, big glass walls to
watch the roasting process, a dedicated cold brew plant, a larger training
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 35
BUSINESS | RAW COFFEE COMPANY
facility to cope with the growing barista training demand, lots of parking
and more seating, and, finally, we listened to everyone, and will be offering
a limited but exceptional food menu
to accompany the coffee.
What are your personal coffee
drinking habits?
It always changes, depending on
which new products we are developing
and what new coffees we have coming
in. At the moment I love Ethiopian
coffees and we currently hold nine
different exceptional coffees from
Ethiopia. I am also really enjoying the
natural processed coffee from Myanmar that we have world exclusivity on.
I prefer drinking brewed coffee, no milk or additives; sometimes
cold as we have really nailed the cold
brew coffee – it’s amazing. I love the
clarity and flavours of a well-brewed
coffee, but after lunch I always take
an espresso. I don’t drink as many
coffees as many on my team, but I
savour them and occasionally will just
ask one of the team to surprise me,
and I love seeing their faces as they
go to their favourite coffee and show
me what they have learnt.
What are you excited for in 2018?
We are now poised to double our
growth year on year. We have a strong,
well-trained team and newly established brands launched, including:
Refinery by RAW membership online
subscription; our new fresh Horeca
brand to enter the volume market,
Fundamental; and our exceptional
new cold brew brand, Rocket Fuel. We
also have finished trademarking for
other GCC countries and have plans
for expansion.
And, finally, what advice would you
give to those looking to start their
own business in the UAE in 2018?
We grew slowly and organically. We
36 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
RAW has internationally certified barista trainers
learnt a lot along the way; we made
some mistakes and learnt from these.
We had to learn the hard way with
some companies and people who had
their own agenda. But, ultimately, we
chose to start a company we believed
in, we decided which area of the
market we wanted to play in and we
8%
The proportion of the Middle East region
in the global consumer spend on coffee
cared deeply about the product and
the people who worked with us.
I think, when I look back, we
wouldn’t be doing as well and
wouldn’t have the reputation we have
in the market today, if we hadn’t
concentrated on the quality of our
coffee and cared about the people we
work with.
So, if you intend to open a business, my advice would be to make
sure you really care about what you
are going to be manufacturing or
selling, or the service you are providing, putting your reputation and
name on the line, valuing and listening to your customers, making sure
you are really well prepared
and informed, and make sure you
look after the people that form
your team.
The rest, you must learn along
the journey!
RAW is poised to double its
growth year on year
RAW’s focus is to enhance its customer
experience and is proactive in its
customer service
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 37
BUSINESS | PLATINUM RECORDS
GOING
PLATINUM
AFTER YEARS OF STRUGGLING TO
FIND A FOOTHOLD ON A GLOBAL
SCALE, THE ARAB MUSIC INDUSTRY
IS FINALLY READY TO TAKE OFF.
THE HEAD OF PLATINUM RECORDS
EXPLAINS WHY
treaming music is largely
becoming a major source of
music consumption throughout the world, and the trend is
expected to grow in 2018 and beyond.
The global digital music industry is now
valued at $30bn, with the Middle East
market accounting for less than $100m.
Streaming music platforms have been
the main factor of this global growth,
however, the majority of regional artists
are only available on services such as
Anghami and Apple Music, as other
streaming platforms are either not
available in the MENA territory or
banned entirely, like Spotify, Tidal,
Sirius and Vevo to name a few. This has
limited the opportunity for Arab music
to be discovered around the world and
minimised the distribution value across
the region, due to lack of competition.
With over 200 music tracks produced daily in the Middle East region,
S
38 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
only ten percent are actually works
signed to record labels and properly
distributed. The rest are not even monetised. The physical music industry is
suffering globally but regionally, ring
back tones are still highly popular and
growing fast as a paid service, providing
good revenue for the music industry.
Recently, Platinum Records’ entire
catalogue was licensed to ADA-Warner
for global distribution, to allow Arabic
content to travel worldwide to countries
that are home to large Arab populations, and to make it discoverable to
Arab-American record producer and radio
personality DJ Khaled is now one of the
hottest musicians in the US
music lovers from many different territories across the world, contributing to
the streaming growth.
As an Anglo-Arab, I have always
been passionate about creating more
awareness of Arab culture, engaging the
widest possible audience to discover the
people behind the success. Fast forward
ten years and, today, for the first time
in the history of music, Arab-American
immigrants are leaving their stamp on
the global music culture. Artists and
managers of Arab heritage have taken
over the Billboard charts, the Pop, HipHop and RnB charts, the Apple Music
playlists and Spotify leading streams
and downloads.
Taymoor Marmarchi,
Director at MBC Group, Head of Platinum
Records and Platinum Independent
“WITH OVER 200 MUSIC
TRACKS PRODUCED
DAILY IN THE MIDDLE
EAST REGION, ONLY
TEN PERCENT ARE
ACTUALLY WORKS
SIGNED TO RECORD
LABELS AND PROPERLY
DISTRIBUTED. THE
REST ARE NOT EVEN
MONETISED”
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 39
BUSINESS | PLATINUM RECORDS
Artists like DJ Khaled, an ArabAmerican from Palestine, and French
Montana, an Arab-American from
Morocco, have under their belt chartbusting international songs. Managers
like Sal Wassim, who represents The
Weeknd, and Noah Shabib who represents Drake, are both Arab-Americans
from Lebanon. Mike G, one of the
leading music agents at UTA, is an
Arab-American from Egypt and Ghazi
Shami, founder of the Empire Music
distribution company, is from Palestine.
Grammy award-winning Arab-American
music producer RedOne from Morocco
and Fredwreck from Palestine have both
produced huge hits for stars including
Lady Gaga, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull,
Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and many others.
At this unprecedented time, we have
launched Platinum Independent, as the
first Middle East-based label to target
the US global market; the only criteria
being that the selected artists must
have roots in the Middle East [and]
North Africa, while singing in English.
To help these artists get a foothold in
the world’s largest music market, we
have enlisted big names in the recording
industry, including Grammy award-winning producer and former American Idol
judge, Randy Jackson, and PR veteran,
Chris Chambers who have helped guide
the careers of some of the biggest names
in showbiz, with Warner Music Group
managing the music distribution and
radio promotions in the US.
“AT THIS
UNPRECEDENTED
TIME, WE HAVE
LAUNCHED PLATINUM
INDEPENDENT, AS
THE FIRST MIDDLE
EAST-BASED LABEL
TO TARGET THE US
GLOBAL MARKET”
40 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
Moroccan-American hip hop star French Montana’s first song as lead artist has reached the top ten on the US
Billboard Hot 100
Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer The Weeknd is the son of Ethiopian immigrants to Canada in the
late 1980s
Arab-American music producer RedOne from Morocco and Fredwreck from Palestine
have both produced huge hits for stars including Pitbull
Platinum Independent officially
launched in September 2017, with talented break-out artist Julian, an IraqiAmerican rapper from Detroit. His first
release is a hit rhythm track featuring
Jeremih, ‘Got it On Your Own’, already
garnering over 1.5 million YouTube
8.7M
The number of people who follow DJ Khaled
on photo-sharing site Instagram
views and distributed across the United
States on all leading Rhythm radio stations, as well as ‘Really Good’, currently
playing on urban chart radio.
Last year, Lebanese teen pop star
Lynn Hayek won the Middle Eastern
reality TV singing competition, The
Voice Kids, singing only in Arabic. However, after discovering she had an even
stronger voice in English, she became
the perfect example of a cross-over artist and was signed to Platinum Records
and Platinum Independent, becoming a
key part of the plan hatched to transform Platinum Records from a regional
music label into a global player.
Lebanese-American manager Noah Shabib is representing
rapper Drake
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 41
BUSINESS | TRANSPORT
THE
FUTURE OF
TRANSPORT
INVITING INCENTIVES FOR
ZERO-EMISSIONS VEHICLES
AND INNOVATIVE CAR-SHARING
SOLUTIONS COULD SOON SEE THE
MAJORITY OF UAE DRIVERS SWITCH
TO GREENER FORMS OF TRANSPORT
BY PETER IANTORNO
ention the term ‘future of
transport’, and immediately
The Jetsons-esque visions of
flying cars and jetpacks spring to mind.
Of course, despite the best efforts of the
likes of Elon Musk (the man behind revolutionary transport system Hyperloop,
as well as a whole host of other ingenious
inventions and innovations), the real
world is still some way short of achieving
what many would consider to be a truly
futuristic form of travel.
Perhaps a more attainable – and
certainly a more practical – pursuit, is
to look at the innovations that are going
on right now. And while they may not be
headline-grabbing flying machines, the
futuristic transport of today is certainly
worthy of getting excited about. The
biggest movement in transportation at
the moment is undoubtedly the shift from
traditional petrol- and diesel-powered
cars, to vehicles that run – either partially, or completely – on electricity.
It’s no secret that climate change
M
42 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
and the greenhouse effect brought about
by carbon emissions is a massive global
issue, and governments the world over
are almost universally (with one notable
Trump-led exception) taking measures to
combat the issue.
Therefore it’s inevitable that the
automobile industry will turn to greener
alternatives in an effort to keep in step
with strict government directives. Few
places will this change be felt as strongly
as the UAE – a country built on the
riches garnered from its vast oil reserves,
and whose residents have a reputation for
their love of gas-guzzling SUVs.
“Diversification away from oil is a
pillar of the UAE Vision 2021 and electric
vehicles play a significant part in achieving this mission,” says Michel Ayat, CEO
of Arabian Automobiles Company and
AW Rostamani Group. “The government
aims to have 42,000 electric vehicles
(EVs) on the roads by 2030, and in
response to this directive, both DEWA
and RTA have announced initiatives to
support EV owners, including free public
parking and charging and additional
benefits [including free registration and
renewal fees and an exemption from
“DIVERSIFICATION
AWAY FROM OIL IS A
PILLAR OF THE UAE
VISION 2021 AND
ELECTRIC VEHICLES
PLAY A SIGNIFICANT
PART IN ACHIEVING
THIS MISSION”
government has also confirmed that EVs
will make up at least ten percent of total
government vehicle purchases by 2021.
“Carlos Ghosn, Chairman of the
Board of Nissan Motor Co, has said
that the vehicle of the future will be an
electric, connected, autonomous car, and
at AAC we believe this to be true; at our
last EV Conference conducted in 2015, we
forecast that Dubai in particular will have
an average of 10,000 EVs on the road by
2021. All of this is supported by government incentives and green initiatives that
demonstrate that EVs are the long-term
future of transport in the UAE.”
With more than 60 patents filed for its
design, the Renault ZOE incorporates
the most advanced electric technology
Salik’s tag fee]. Leading local banks have
also launched green car loans to encourage customers to buy EVs.”
As Ayat points out, when both
governments and powerful companies
throw their weight behind a cause, it’s
very likely that the goal will be achieved.
“Our confidence in EVs is built on solid
indicators that will drive their future in
the UAE,” he says. “His Highness Sheikh
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
Vice President and Prime Minister of
the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recently
announced that EVs and autonomous
vehicles will represent 25 percent of
the car population by 2030. The Dubai
Pushing the green agenda
The UAE is far from alone in pushing a
green agenda to car-buyers. According to
Renault Middle East managing director Marwan Haidamous, the issue of air
quality in some of the world’s biggest
cities is making the need for sustainable
transport a priority. “As the air quality
in major cities becomes a major concern, it’s hard to ignore the urgent need
for sustainable transport powered by
clean energy,” he says. “Looking around
the globe, in some of the world’s most
populated cities in important markets
like China or India, the smog produced
by petrol and diesel cars is saturating the
air and seriously damaging the health of
people living there – they need a zeroemissions transportation solution.
“Governments are starting to act
by introducing new rules, which will see
conventionally powered cars become a
thing of the past. In Paris, the French
government will ban all diesel-powered
vehicles in the city by 2024, and by 2030
petrol cars will be banned, too. Similar
rules are being enforced in other major
cities around the world such as London,
Madrid, Athens and Mexico City. Norway
is a great example of a country which
has embraced electric vehicles; earlier
this year electric vehicles accounted for
a record 42 percent of all new car sales in
the country and pure EV have 15 percent
market share, compared to France, where
they have just over 1.5 percent.”
And this raft of new legislation is
good news for Renault as, according to
Haidamous, the company is ahead of the
curve when it comes to electric cars. “We
are very confident that electric vehicles
offer a long-term mobility solution for
the future,” he says.
“Whilst many other manufacturers
are only just starting to look at alternative fuels, we have been dedicated to creating market-leading 100 percent electric
products for over eight years. This is what
gives us the competitive edge; we have
gone through the testing, we have learnt
from our mistakes, we are constantly
developing the technology we use, and we
are pushing the boundaries.
“We’ve trained more than 30,000
people across the company, and 100
percent of our dealer network across the
world. We recently launched the new ZOE
long range model in the Middle East,
which features new battery technology
meaning the ZOE’s range has doubled –
to 300 km – compared to the previous
generation,” Haidamous adds.
While all-electric cars are still in their
infancy, the hybrid has been around for a
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 43
BUSINESS | TRANSPORT
lot longer than many people think.
Despite the popular belief that it was
Toyota who came up with the world’s
first hybrid car with its ubiquitous Prius
launched in 1997, the world’s first ever
hybrid actually came along more than
30 years before Toyota as a company
even existed. First shown at the Paris
Exposition of 1900, the Lohner-Porsche
Elektromobil took power from a batteryoperated electric motor that was fitted
inside one of its wheel hubs. Of course,
the Prius was the first widely available
hybrid almost a century later, and it has
since gone on to contribute heavily to
the estimated 12 million hybrid electric
vehicles that have been sold worldwide
to date.
Causes for concern
Despite promising predictions and
targets from the region’s governments, a
niggling fear that the Middle East’s motorists won’t go for all-electric cars still
remains. “There are various reasons why
the electric vehicle movement is more
prevalent in Europe than in other parts
of the world,” says Haidamous. “Just one
example is the charging infrastructure. In
Europe, the charging infrastructure is well
established with 80,000 public charging
stations in place – 30 percent more than
there were in 2015. And, in certain cities
the infrastructure is much more advanced
with smart and fast charging facilities as
well as other incentives like exemption
from congestion charges, bus lane access
and tax benefits all encourage drivers to
switch to electric vehicles.
“The psychological barrier plays a big
part in the Middle East; ‘range anxiety’
is a considerable blocker to many drivers
thinking about taking the decision to ‘Go
Green’, but now with the new ZOE longrange model we can combat that issue
and prove that electric vehicles offer you
just as much freedom as petrol-powered
cars. Another contributing factor is the
price of fuel which is much higher in Europe than here in the Middle East.
44 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
“GOVERNMENTS ARE
STARTING TO ACT BY
INTRODUCING NEW
RULES, WHICH WILL
SEE CONVENTIONALLY
POWERED CARS BECOME
A THING OF THE PAST”
Michel Ayat, CEO of Arabian Automobiles Company and
AW Rostamani Group
“However, the popularity of electric
vehicles is growing in the region,” he
continues. “In Dubai, the government has
said that ten percent of vehicles operated
by the authorities will be electric by 2020
– this will see thousands of electric cars
hitting the road in the next few years. The
Middle East is recognising that mobility
is changing and thanks to government
sustainability awareness programmes
like the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy
2050 and the new EV incentives from
the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy,
more and more drivers will start to make
the switch.”
Arabian Automobiles’ Ayat is equally
bullish. “The region will certainly begin to
favour electric vehicles because the misconceptions about EVs being expensive
and having short driving ranges or long,
inconvenient charging requirements have
been dispelled,” he says. “EV chargers are
rapidly spreading across Dubai, spearheaded by DEWA, which has successfully
completed installation of 100 charging
stations in 2015 with a plan to further
increase them to 200 by 2018. In addition, electric vehicles now have a shorter
charging time of two hours, combined
with a longer driving range than ever
before. EV prices are also fairly positioned and subject to special bank loans,
meaning that EVs are becoming more
affordable for all customers, especially
those who are living in villas.”
Another concern amongst electriccar naysayers is that while electric cars
undoubtedly cut emissions directly from
running vehicles, creating so many new
cars is counterintuitive in terms of lowering the global carbon footprint. However,
Renault’s Haidamous is adamant that
electric is the way to go in the long term.
Marwan Haidamous, Renault Middle East
managing director
Renault’s electric
vehicle line-up
“There is an argument by some that the
energy used to manufacture electric cars
is still polluting the planet,” he says. “But
in my opinion, whatever the source of the
energy, we are still reducing particulate
emissions, which will protect our cities in
the long term. And, we are working tirelessly to find more efficient and sustainable ways to run our production facilities
to address this concern.”
Vilhelm Hedberg, co-founder and CEO of ekar
Middle East
Innovative solutions for marginal gains
Aside from the long-term goal of turning the world’s vehicles electric, the
automobile sector is full of other ideas
and innovations that have the potential
to contribute to a massive cut-down in
carbon emissions from road users.
One such idea comes from ekar –
the Middle East’s first pay-as-you-go
carshare operator.
“We observed a problem and went
about figuring out how find to a solution and make the joys of driving a car
just that – joyful,” says the company’s
co-founder and CEO, Vilhelm Hedberg.
“The freedom of driving a car without
the hassle of ownership gives our customers the freedom of driving a car when
they want without the annoyance of paying for insurance, petrol or parking.
“The concept delivers on-demand
mobility while leaving a smaller environmental footprint; for every carshare
in operation, 17 privately owned cars are
off the road. We provide a new vertical
in the market. Offering different mobility
solutions to taxis, Careem or Uber, ekar
is a drivered solution but more simplistic
than traditional car rental.”
The concept is incredibly simple, yet
underpinned by some super-smart technology, as Hedberg explains: “ekar uses
state-of-the-art instant reservations
and smart access technology, providing
a network of vehicles for on-demand
rent in the UAE,” he says. “We enable
users to easily discover and book available cars via its mobile app and website,
providing a cost-effective alternative
to daily and monthly rentals by offering
a ‘pay-as-you-go’ pricing scheme. The
app is super convenient – you simply
download, provide details of your ID
and drivers’ license, take a selfie to
prove it’s you, and then utilise the app to
unlock the car and lock to end booking.
While Hedberg describes his company as “still a child learning their way”,
he is confident that this idea has the
potential to grow – and fast.
“Overall, we have over 20,000
members, 100,000 app downloads,
and more than 400 bookings per day,”
he says. “We are executing expansion
plans in the UAE going into Abu Dhabi
and Sharjah and also into the greater
Gulf region, most specifically in Saudi
Arabia. In the Kingdom we have exciting
partnership deals in discussion at this
time, which will be announced in March
2018. With current discussions in place,
we anticipate an additional 2,000 cars
on the road within the next two years.”
The plans are undoubtedly impressive, and with the vision and the will of
governments and major companies all
pushing towards emissions-free travel, a
greener future certainly seems possible –
for the UAE and for the world.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 45
BUSINESS | JEAN CLAUDE BASTOS DE MORAIS
OUT OF
AFRICA
QUANTUM GLOBAL GROUP
FOUNDER JEAN-CLAUDE
BASTOS DE MORAIS TALKS
FILMMAKING, MANAGEMENT
STYLES AND WHY AFRICA IS THE
PERFECT MARKET FOR MIDDLE
EASTERN INVESTORS
J
ean-Claude Bastos de Morais is
an entrepreneur and innovation specialist with a deep
interest in African socio-economic development. In 2007, he founded Quantum Global Group, an international
group of companies focussed on African
development, particularly in the fields
of corporate finance advisory, asset and
private wealth management, real estate
and investment consulting.
Aside from his work, Bastos de
Morais is a certified culture vulture,
with wide-ranging interests that span
literature, music, art, science, community service and film. In fact, he’s
such a movie buff that he sponsored the
Dubai International Film Festival. We
sit down with him while he is in town
for an in-depth chat about his burgeoning business. Here are the excerpts:
What makes you tick as a CEO?
I have always combined my instincts as
an entrepreneur with a passion for innovation, and a deep interest in African
development. I am proud of my work at
Quantum Global because we are able
to invest in projects that are bankable,
have a high success rate and aim to
have a strong impact on the economic
46 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
“MY GRANDFATHER INVENTED THE LIGHT
FEATURE IN WATCHES WAY BACK WHEN
SWISS WATCHMAKING WAS STILL A VERY
TRADITIONAL INDUSTRY”
Bastos de Morais says he has
been fascinated in helping to
unleash and develop the economic
power of African countries
“OUR AIM IS TO BE
INTERNATIONALLY
RECOGNISED AS THE
PARTNER OF CHOICE
FOR INVESTMENT
ACROSS AFRICA”
Therefore, my ideology for developing African innovation ecosystems is
based on an inclusive model that will
drive needs-based innovation and
bring opportunities to these segments of African society. I believe in
an innovation hub model that allows
grassroots innovation to evolve in
an environment where collaborative
knowledge, intellectual knowhow,
mentorship and creative exchange are
accessible in a linear manner.
This is why I set up the African
Innovation Foundation, which rewards
innovators with $185,000 every year
to foster the African innovation spirit
and the Fabrica de Sabao, a warehouse
in a Luanda slum which is today a
thriving community centre.
Africa has the fastest growing youth
population in the world; 60 percent of
its population is under the age of 24.
This youth bulge creates an important
opportunity for sustainable development in Africa. These youth segments
will have specific needs different from
developed or First World nations.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to
invest in local innovation ecosystems
which respond to these real needs.
development that will improve the
lives of Africans by creating jobs and
making the economy perform better.
At the same time I am also deeply
passionate about the grassroots
approach to development.
You sponsored the recent Dubai International Film Festival. How does this fit
in with your vision?
I have always been committed to promoting youth, entrepreneurship, innovation and cultural awakening in all
the markets where I operate. As we are
seeking to build a presence in Dubai, it
is natural for me to invest in film, and
in particular local Arab and Emirati
filmmaking through the Muhr Award.
Film is such a powerful tool for
cultural expression and exchange, so
it is interesting to me that indigenous
filmmaking is growing so strongly,
both in the Arab world and in Africa,
as in Nollywood (the Nigerian film
industry), for example. I believe that
an active filmmaking culture is a sign
of a healthy and progressive society
where the young, bold and creative
people are able to claim their place
at the table and play a role in shaping
the future.
Not only that, but it is a great way
to put young people to work. Nollywood still has some growing pains,
but nonetheless generates more than
$600m in revenue annually and employs a million people. Dubai today is
ranked the top place to live in the Arab
world by Arab youth, and is therefore
the natural hub for the creative industries, and filmmaking in particular. I
am delighted to support this trend.
How would you describe your personal
management style?
I guess you could say that I’m driven
to create. I’ve always been that way,
pushing the envelope, defying norms
and testing new ways to do things
better and faster. In a way, the passion for innovation is in my blood. My
grandfather invented the light feature
in watches way back when Swiss
watchmaking was still a very traditional industry. I must have inherited
some of his traits because I am drawn
to disruptive ideas that shift mindsets
and influence positive change.
I had to pay for my university on my
own, and while at university I created
a company called M&A Partners, even
though there was actually only one
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 47
BUSINESS | JEAN CLAUDE BASTOS DE MORAIS
employee – myself! That company
allowed me to find out about different companies in Switzerland. Having
learnt the basics from a very early age,
I tend to adopt a very open approach
in doing business. I would say being
creative, being open towards problems
and not panicking when things don’t
turn out as expected are some of the
traits of my management style.
Could you give us more details about
Quantum Global and your investments
in different sectors?
For a decade, Quantum Global Group
has focussed on African development,
particularly in the fields of corporate
finance advisory, asset management,
real estate and investment consulting. Our aim is to be internationally
recognised as the partner of choice for
investment across Africa. The group’s
investment strategy can be broadly
defined in the three main pillars.
Firstly, there’s African money into
world markets. Our active portfolio
asset management focusses on liquid
assets with its experts, while our private equity team invests in worldwide
real estate assets.
Our second strategic pillar focusses
on our sector-oriented African funds.
We invest into African markets for
long-term growth and development.
The funds are based in Africa to be
closer to investment opportunities on
the continent. In parallel, we are also
investing into liquid instruments with
African fixed income and equities.
Our third strategic pillar targets
to give global investors the option to
participate in the African investment
opportunities we develop. Therefore,
African markets will gain additional
momentum and further job and wealth
generation will be generated together
with investment returns.
We have approximately $8bn of
assets under management. We strive
48 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
Bastos de Morais says
Quantum Global wants to be
part of the next critical phase
of Africa’s development
“WE REGARD DUBAI AS A GATEWAY FOR
INVESTMENT IN AFRICA, AND WE PLAN
TO USE DUBAI AS A BASE TO OPEN OUR
UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
TO GULF INVESTORS”
to build on our reputation as a trusted
and recognised partner for investment management, private equity and
research across Africa. On the private
equity front, the group has established
seven dedicated investment funds that
will target high-growth industries such
as agriculture, healthcare, timber,
mining, hospitality, infrastructure and
mezzanine investments. The funds will
promote regional growth by developing
a portfolio of assets.
What do the MENA region, and especially the UAE, mean for your business?
The UAE is a gateway for investments into Africa, and also a hub for
African businesses seeking to expand
internationally. It is emerging as a hub
for Quantum Global, thanks to its advanced financial sector, its close links
to Africa and its proximity to Europe.
Do you have, or are you planning to
have, presence in the region or in the
UAE? If so where and when?
We are expecting soon to receive a
license for a representative office of
Quantum Global in Dubai International Financial Centre. This is our
first step into the region and we expect
our presence to grow in line with the
growth of our investments in Africa.
What role could Dubai and the UAE
play as a gateway to Africa?
There is a long tradition of Gulf
investments in Africa, from telecoms
and airlines to natural resources and
agriculture. Dubai has made significant efforts to make Africans feel welcome in the city, and regularly attracts
African heads of state and business
delegations to its conferences.
We regard Dubai as a gateway for
investment in Africa, and we plan
to use Dubai as a base to open our
unique investment opportunities to
Gulf investors.
Dubai-Africa non-oil trade has grown steadily to exceed $190bn over the last five
years, according to Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
“AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS
ARE PLACING MORE
EMPHASIS ON
DIVERSIFYING AWAY
FROM HYDROCARBONS
AND NATURAL
RESOURCES, WHICH
IS STIMULATING
INVESTMENT IN
OTHER SECTORS”
Where are we likely to see an expansion of private equity investment?
Africa is one of the most rewarding
markets to invest in due to its growth
potential and young population.
20
The number of diversified companies
under the Quantum Global Group portfolio
African governments are placing more
emphasis on diversifying away from
hydrocarbons and natural resources,
which is stimulating investment in
other sectors. At the same time, the
recent recovery in commodity prices
will boost investor confidence in oil
producers such as Angola and Nigeria.
One of the most exciting developments
has been the growth of public-private
partnerships, where states are attracting private equity into infrastructure
projects, which are a great fit for longterm investors such as Quantum Global.
African and foreign investors can
take advantage of widespread opportunities to support significant
government investments in priority
target industries, including hospitality, technology, infrastructure, timber
and healthcare. These are the direct
recipients of government funding and
as such are a clear priority. They offer
premium long-terms gains for investors who wish to take a long-term view
and want a more meaningful stake in
Africa’s future.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 49
BUSINESS | VAT
ARE YOU
VAT
READY?
THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO VAT IN
THE UAE, BY NAVEEN SHARMA
hat is VAT?
VAT stands for Value Added
Tax and, as the name suggests,
it is applied to each stage of the supply
chain until its final stage. A type of general consumption tax, VAT is applied on
most goods and services whenever value
is added at a stage of production or at
final sale.
W
History of VAT
Germany and France were the first
countries to implement VAT, doing so in
the form of a general consumption tax
during World War I. The modern variation of VAT was first implemented by
France in the 1950s. VAT has, however,
been spreading rapidly since the Sixties,
thanks to the fact that it is less distortive and more revenue-productive than
many other forms of taxation. It is now
in operation for more than 150 countries
all over the world.
VAT in the GCC
The GCC recently announced the first
ever taxation reform in the region and
were expectedly met with myriad reactions. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are
the first two countries in the Arabian
Gulf to implement VAT, starting on
January 1, 2018. The taxation itself may
not be a cause of deliberation for most
businesses, as it has been pegged to
a nominal rate of five percent, but its
impact and execution has invited more
questions than answers. Business entities are likely to be the most affected by
50 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
the fact that their daily operations and
processes require a complete overhaul
to incorporate the new tax structure.
It is certainly a welcome move for the
economy, as it will generate the muchrequired, non oil-based revenue for the
government in the times to come.
How will VAT affect you?
For the end-consumer, it may mean an
increase in their base expenditure in the
range of 2.55 to five percent on most
items of purchase. However, for business
owners, it will translate into a complete
metamorphosis of Enterprise Resource
Planning. As the tax is on value-addition,
each department and process will come
under its umbrella. Its impact will, thus,
not be limited to only the financing and
accounting department. All systems will
need to be reprogrammed to account for
the assessment and collection of the tax.
VAT will impact businesses at the
following four levels: Strategic (planning at board level including company
structure, market positioning and negotiations with customers and suppliers); Financial (impact on cashflow, and
the cost to acquire new technology or
resources related to VAT); Economic
Naveen Sharma, Institute of Chartered
Accountants of India (ICAI), Dubai Chapter
(business relationship with customers
and suppliers); and Operational (identifying gaps in the current operational
process and making modifications to
become VAT-ready).
Business owners have so far been
tax-free and as such, lack the necessary
infrastructure and personnel to tackle
the change. However, with competent
experts and smart software solutions,
this task should not be a hurdle for long.
Who is required to register for VAT?
The mandatory registration threshold
is $102,110 (AED375,000), and the
voluntary registration threshold is from
$51,055 (AED187,500).
$3.27BN
The additional revenue the UAE will
raise in the first year after implementation of VAT
How to be VAT ready
There are a number of things UAE companies should consider in order to be
VAT-compliant. Employees should be
educated about VAT, assigned responsibilities for VAT-related activities and
offered regular training to keep them up
to speed with the rules and regulations.
It also helps to create a VAT committee to deal with any VAT situations and
scenarios. Study the VAT impact on
each part of your business.
How does it affect the bottom line?
All activities should be classified based
on their VAT treatment. For example:
Standard Rate (five percent), Zero Rate
(zero percent), Exempt and Out of Scope
transactions. It’s vital to update and
configure any IT systems to take VAT
into account. Documentation such as
invoices, debt memos, credit memos and
LPOs should also be updated to reflect
the changes.
Check any long-term ongoing
contracts with suppliers and customers
and evaluate the VAT impact on those
contracts. One evaluated, communicate
with suppliers and customers so all parties are fully aware of where they stand.
To conclude
As with any new tax, there is confusion
and apprehension in equal measure
regarding the imposition of VAT. Consumers fear a subsequent inflation, while
business owners see the end of a tax-free
era in the region. The low rate of the tax
is not likely to have a substantial effect on
either party, but it will generate revenue
for the government, who can continue to
invest in developmental projects.
With some diligence on the part
of the firms, VAT should fit relatively
seamlessly into the economy, which will
greatly benefit in the long run. VAT is
an unknown entity to most firms in the
region, and has been the cause of much
debate and anticipation. However, with
strong fundamentals and thorough
knowledge, this reform should be easy to
implement and adapt to.
“WITH SOME DILIGENCE
ON THE PART OF THE
FIRMS, VAT SHOULD
FIT RELATIVELY
SEAMLESSLY INTO THE
ECONOMY, WHICH WILL
GREATLY BENEFIT IN
THE LONG RUN”
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 51
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@CEOMiddleEast is your guide to good business and better living. Get up to the second updates and videos
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52 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
PLEASURE
CARS
MOTOR
Power and performance The McLaren Senna is the most track-focussed road car the UK-based automaker has ever built
MCLAREN
SENNA
THE ULTIMATE ROAD-LEGAL
TRACK CAR
S
O FAR MCLAREN HAS BUILT A REPUTATION
for producing red-hot supercars
that maintain enough practicality to be
used as an everyday drive. However, with
the latest entrant into the company’s Ultimate Series, the Senna, that ethos has
been blown completely out of the water.
Described as providing “the purest connection between driver and car”
and being able to deliver “the most
intense circuit experience of any road
McLaren”, the Senna is an absolute
beast that was clearly designed with the
track in mind.
McLaren hasn’t revealed details of
the top speed or 0-100kmh time, but
the fact that it’s powered by a 4.0-litre
twin-turbocharged V8 that throws out
a whopping 789bhp and 800Nm, and it
weighs a paltry 1,198kg, means performance is likely to be absolutely savage.
Production is limited to just 500
units and prices start from around
AED3.7m ($1m).
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 53
style
BERLUTI SNEAKERS
FOR THE URBAN ELITE
The sneaker trend has been going for a long time now and is showing no signs of stopping, so
what better way to embrace it than with a pair from premium French leather specialists Berluti?
Renowned for their top-quality leatherwork, Berluti has produced an exciting line-up of trainers
that toe the line between smart and casual with aplomb.
Our pick of the bunch is this Fast Track Sneaker. Inspired by the classic running shoe, they are
given a formal twist with a smooth calfskin leather upper, contrasting with the flexible coloured
sole. Most certainly smart and stylish, but would you get away with wearing a pair to the office?
54 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
Fast Track Torino Leather
Sneaker, $1,120
With the Fast Track shoe, Berluti
embraces the running-shoe trend
and opens a new era in the history of
fashion. This uniquely contemporary
model breaks the rules by pairing
a leather upper with an extremely
flexible, brightly coloured sole.
THE SPA
EXPRESS SPA AND
BEAUTY TREATMENTS
FOR
MEN
AND
WOMEN
ESCAPE THE OFFICE FOR THESE QUICK PICK-ME-UPS
T
Rejuvenation
We recommend these spas to de-stress the
mind and body for people on the go
RY A 20-45 MINUTE TREATMENT FROM SensAsia Urban Spa’s new menu of express
treatments for men and women. We
recommend the Stress Survival, an energising
30-minute scalp and face massage available
for both men and women at a rate of AED195.
Branch locations include the Palm Jumeirah,
Downtown Dubai and The Village.
The Signature Lounge for men and women offers quick fixes, including massages and
beauty treatments. Opt for the Stress Buster,
a back and shoulder massage, for a bit of relaxation. It comes at an affordable price of
AED40-AED50. The salon is located in Business Central Towers and J3 Mall Jumeirah.
Ladies’ venue Re-Salons & Spas offers 30
minute Tension Relief Head Massages for just
AED40. Locations include Sunset Mall, Trident Building Dubai Marina and Dubai International City. It also has beauty treatments
such as express mani/pedi for AED105.
The De-Stressor massage at men’s spa Urban Male Lounge focusses on releasing tension
in the upper back and neck and also includes a
scalp massage. It’s priced at AED60 for 15 minutes and AED100 for 30 minutes. Branches are
in DIFC and Times Square.
Jazz Lounge Spa for men has express
treatments ranging from back massages to
eye treatments. We recommend the latter for
AED150. It reduces under-eye puffiness and
wrinkles, but also serves as a relaxing 30 minutes away from the office. The spa is located
in Al Barsha.
Quick massage treatments that range from
20-45 minutes are available at ladies’ salon Tips & Toes starting at a budget price of
AED60. Try the 20-minute neck and shoulder
massage to reduce shoulder knots formed from
hours of desk work. Locations include The Palm
Jumeirah and Al Barsha.
A spa list wouldn’t be complete without
popular men’s grooming joint 1847, where a Relaxer massage will diminish stress in the head,
neck and shoulders. Options are AED50 for 15
minutes or AED100 for 30 minutes. Locations
include Emirates Towers, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Grosvenor House and CityWalk.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 55
E
C
E
D
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1 OCTOBER
NOVEM
BER
6
5
7
4
8
3
9
2
56 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
S
E
P
T
Beach bliss
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28 J U L Y
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OF THE
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31 N U A R 17 18
MOUAGE HAS INTRODUCED BEACH HUT MAN, the newest addition to the Mid-
night Flower Collection. The latest olfactory treat from the nose of
creative director Christopher Chong, Beach Hut Man opens with a
carefree fragrant mélange of mint, orange blossom and galbanum
radiating light green and sweet floral notes nuanced with sensuous musk.
“Beach Hut Man tells the story of an iridescent aromatic idyll that
unfolds in the fragrant wild garden of a beach hut, where the sweeping sand
dunes meet the sea,” says Chong. “It liberates the senses and unleashes
emotion as it explores the intoxicating sublime of the shoreline during the
mesmerising moments of sunset.”
Beach Hut Man is priced at AED955 ($260) for 100ml.
INTERVIEW
JAMIE
STONE
hat are the main factors we
should consider when
buying bespoke?
I’ve been in the industry for 17 years
across various regions and have worked
with top industry aficionados, so I certainly have learned a thing or two about
the sartorial craft. There are two main
things I believe men must always bear in
mind when considering a bespoke piece.
Firstly, keep it simple. If you add too
many details, especially a mix of formal
and informal accents, you’ll end up creating a bad suit, or at best one that has
limited use. It’s just like cooking – if you
add every spice you can think of, you’ll get
a dish no one wants to eat.
Secondly, work with the best. We all
have different budgets and priorities, but
one of the most important lessons I have
learnt over the years is that you should
opt for the best, versatile, suit maker you
can afford. In the long run, this will save
you money and, even more importantly,
time. One of the biggest mistakes men
make is wasting time going back and forth
with a tailor who keeps delivering substandard work, just to save themselves
some money in the short term or the hassle of finding a new one.
W
What are the latest trends in made-tomeasure menswear in 2018?
The trends for 2018 for men’s bespoke
gravitate towards suit fabrics that have a
geometric effect with tiny low-contrast
stripes, small-scale motifs with a combination of mixture and mouliné yarns;
hound’s tooth or subdued checks on
milled fabric; different size diagonals,
plains and fake plains. The formal and
ceremony suit showcases dark shades on
uneven or jacquard grounds and sometimes micro patterns and small-scale
motifs as part of the design selection.
Many men have a favourite suit, but is it
best to wear different cuts and fabrics for
different occasions?
Wearing the right suit makes you more
SUITS
YOU
NEED SOME STYLE INSPIRATION?
THE CUSTOM SHOP NEW YORK’S
JAMIE STONE SHARES HIS TOP TIPS
FOR BUYING BESPOKE
Tailor-made Stone says the company also plans to initiate
the UAE’s very first mobile bespoke tailoring truck
than just a well-groomed man – it gives
you the look of a man who is in step with
the seasonal fashion trends. What’s the
secret? No aggressive plaids, no fourbutton jackets.
The best way for a man to make a
fashion statement is to look as if he’s not
trying too hard to make one. Like the best
of modern design, the ideal suit is simple
and streamlined, perfectly crafted. Smart,
confident, thoroughly put together –
that’s the look you want to go for.
What’s the key to making a suit work for
both business and pleasure?
When picking a suit, versatility is an
important factor to consider. The benefit
of opting for a classic or timeless style and
cut is that you’ll have a suit that you can
wear just as well at a job interview as at a
casual get-together. And at The Custom
Shop New York you can find adaptable
choices, at affordable rates, that will easily carry you from dawn to evening drinks.
What are your tips for accessories
to go with a suit?
Though the suit is the star of a man’s
wardrobe, the supporting cast of accessories shouldn’t be overlooked. Finding the
perfect suit for your shape and budget is
step one. After this, it’s time to add a bit
of personality with the right accessories.
Apart from the silk tie – a time-honoured
classic – a few accessories will elevate
your dapper game to the next level. It’s
important to get it right, though – too
many of the wrong accessories can completely destroy the look.
For example, when wearing a silk
pocket square, forget the preconception
that it should match the colour of your
tie. Instead, your pocket square should
complement the colour of your tie. Secondly, lapel pins and tie bars may seem
very formal, but that’s not necessarily the
case these days. You can find many fun
and unique tie bar designs to add some
style, humour and colour to your tie and
to liven up your suit. And, finally, nothing
shows class quite like a nice pair of cufflinks on a French cuff shirt peeking out
from the bottom of your jacket sleeves.
Pick out cufflinks that go well with your
best watch and you’re good to go.
Tell us about your plans to go digital?
Will that make buying bespoke easier and
less time-consuming?
Going digital is certainly high on our
agenda for 2018. In fact, we are currently working on a e-commerce platform for The Custom Shop New York,
which is scheduled for a launch soon.
Our Pilot 3D body scan technology has received a roaring response
and we have decided to introduce
this technology across our stores in
the UAE. This unique 3D body scan
technology delivers accurate measurements to our e-commerce platform,
from where the client can pick and
choose his look – an offering that
can’t be found anywhere else in the
GCC at the moment.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 57
CEO APPROVES
BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT:
THE DEFINITION OF LUXURY GRAND TOURING
Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Britain,
the new third-generation Bentley Continental GT combines spirited, focussed
performance with handcrafted luxury and cutting-edge technology, to create what
Bentley boldly dubs, “the finest Grand Tourer ever produced”. And with a 0-100kmh
time of just 3.7 seconds, a top speed of 333kmh and one of the most luxurious cabins
in the sector, it’s hard to disagree.
58 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
DESIGNER LEATHER WATCH
PERFECT PARTNERSHIP
Limited-edition Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface
Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre and celebrated Argentinian bootmaker Casa Fagliano are celebrating their continued partnership into 2018 with the release of a limited-edition Reverso Tribute
Duoface, complete with a special two-tone cordovan leather strap. Issued in a limited edition run of
just 100 pieces, the watch offers two contrasting dials – both equally refined and each displaying a
different time zone. The slate grey sunray dial on the front features hand-applied hour markers that
echo its Dauphine hands. A small seconds in a round minute track brings a softening note to the pure
geometrical linearity of this watch, whose Art Deco design reflects its 1931 inspiration. A warm-toned
pink gold case makes a beautiful match for the Casa Fagliano Edition two-tone cordovan leather
strap, specially designed and hand-crafted for each piece by the famous Argentinian leather artisans.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 59
FOR THE HIGH-FLYER
BREITLING
CHRONOLINER
BO4
What’s in store
Captain’s Chronograph
Breitling has introduced the Chronoliner B04, dubbed the ‘flight captain’s
chronograph’, to the Middle East market
in an exclusive 250-piece limitededition version.
Materials
The Chronoliner B04 showcases an
18-karat gold case that is water-resistant to 100 metres. It also boasts a bidirectional rotating bezel and cambered
sapphire crystal that us glareproofed
on both sides for excellent visibility.
Calibre B04
This special timepiece runs on Breitling’s in-house Calibre B04 movement
which, according to Breitling, “offers
revolutionary user-friendliness”. The
movement is self-winding, has a high
frequency of 28,800 vibrations per
hour and a 70-hour power reserve.
Precision
The main hour hand of the model is adjusted to local time simply by pulling out
the crown and turning it either way in
one-hour increments. This is achieved
without losing any precision in terms of
the minutes and automatically adjusting
date in either direction.
60 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
THE TRIO
A. Lange & Söhne 1815
“Homage to Walter Lange”
In honour of company founder Walter Lange, German watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne has unveiled a new addition to its
excellent 1815 model family – a watch with a stoppable jumping
seconds hand that the watchmaker invented 150 years ago.
TIMELESS TIMEPIECE
BY ROYAL
APPOINTMENT
IWC Ingenieur Chronograph
“Tribute to Nico Rosberg”
IWC is celebrating its partnership with Formula One driver
Nico Rosberg, with this special edition Ingenieur Chronograph.
Limited to just 23 pieces worldwide, the IWC-manufactured
chronograph with an 18-karat red gold case features a seethrough sapphire glass back, which is printed with the “NICO”
lettering from Rosberg’s helmet.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
2018 will mark 25 years since Audemars Piguet first released its
legendary Royal Oak Offshore, and, to celebrate, the Swiss watchmaker has unveiled three new versions of its iconic sports watch: a
re-edition of the original Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph, as
well as a brand new Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph
available in either stainless steel or 18-karat pink gold (pictured).
The Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph boasts and entirely redesigned movement, developed especially for the 25th anniversary
celebrations, and features special ceramic crown and pushpieces,
instead of the usual metal and rubber. There’s also a brand new
dial with luminescent coating as well as pink gold hour markers.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Shelby Cobra
Paying homage to the American motoring icon of the Sixties,
this brilliantly engineered 44mm flyback chronograph brings
together 196 pieces to create a modern horological masterpiece. The watch comes with a half-moon sun satin-finished
blue and silver-coloured dial, a red chronograph hand with the
iconic cobra logo, a blue tachymeter scale.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 61
TECHNOLOGY | LAPTOPS
62 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
THE
SKINNY
ACER SWIFT7
W
HEN IT COMES TO LAPTOPS, there’s
thin, then there’s thinner. And
the Acer Swift 7 is about as
slimline as they come.
Coming in at just 9.98mm at it’s
thickest point, Acer claims that the
Swift 7 is the thinnest laptop in
the world.
Clearly built with portability as the
number one priority, the Swift 7 has
a 13.3” full-HD display to go with its
slender body, and it weighs in at just
1.1kg. And that’s not all – featuring an
elegant matte black and gold design,
it has the kind of sleek aesthetic that
even a certain Cupertino-based outfit
would be proud of.
Powered by a 1.3GHz Intel® Core™
i7 processor and with 8GB of memory,
the Swift 7 also has the substance to
match the style.
“CLEARLY BUILT
WITH PORTABILITY
AS THE NUMBER ONE
PRIORITY, THE SWIFT
7 HAS A 13.3” FULLHD DISPLAY TO GO
WITH ITS SLENDER
BODY, AND IT WEIGHS
IN AT JUST 1.1KG”
$999
The starting price of the new
Acer Swift 7 laptop
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 63
PLEASURE | LAMBORGHINI
“The Urus is the
culmination of intensive
development and
passionate skill to create
a new breed of bull”
64 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
THE
WORLD’S
FIRST
SUPER
SUV
AT 650BHP, A 0-100KMH TIME OF 3.6 SECONDS AND A TOP SPEED OF 305KMH,
THE NEW URUS IS UNMISTAKABLY LAMBORGHINI
E
VER SINCE LAMBORGHINI’S FIRST SUV made its de-
but in concept form some five years ago,
the car community has been on tenterhooks,
with split opinion, rumours and conjecture
abounding on what the final car would actually be like.
Thankfully, Lamborghini finally put us all
out of our misery in December with the official
launch of its first ever SUV: the Urus. While
it might be curiously named, a quick glance
at the specs leaves absolutely no doubt as to
what this car is all about.
Powered by a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 that
puts out a, quite frankly, bonkers 650bhp and
propels the car from 0-100kmh in just 3.6 seconds on its way to an eye-watering top speed
of 305kmh, Lamborghini claims to Urus is the
world’s fastest SUV. Incredibly, those stats
make the Urus even quicker than Lamborghini’s Gallardo supercar.
“The Lamborghini Urus is a visionary approach based on the infusion of Lamborghini
DNA into the most versatile vehicle, the SUV.
The Urus elevates the SUV to a level not previously possible, the Super SUV. It is a true
Lamborghini in terms of design, performance,
driving dynamics and emotion as well as drivable every day in a range of environments,”
says Stefano Domenicali, Automobili Lamborghini chairman and CEO.
“The Urus fits perfectly within the Lamborghini family as a high performance car. It
is the culmination of intensive development
and passionate skill to create a new breed
of bull: a Super SUV that transcends the
boundaries of expectations and opens the
door to new possibilities, for both our brand
and our customers.”
As well as the outrageous performance, the
Urus has the kind of aggressive styling that is
unmistakably Lamborghini, taking its cues
from the LM002 as well as the super cars that
the brand is famous for.
Inside, the Urus packs a raft of luxurious features that allow it to compete with
the other class-leading SUVs in the segment.
There are fully electric, heated and 12-wayadjustable seats, as well as a state-of-the-art
infotainment system equipped with a booming
Bang & Olusen sound system, and it comes either as a four-seater using Huracan seats as
individual chairs in the rear or with the option
of a family-friendly bench, making it a true
five-seater.
The Urus is without doubt the biggest departure from Lamborghini’s traditional supercar fare, and it is set to herald the dawn of a
new era for the company, as it is planned to
eventually use hybrid and electric power — as
will the Huracan and Aventador supercars.
Deliveries start from Spring 2018 and pretax prices start from $200,000.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 65
PLEASURE | FORD
GEARING
UP
FOR
TOMORROWLAND
FORD PLANS ON LEADING THE WAY TO SMARTER CITIES IN A SERIES OF NEW MOBILITY INITIATIVES THAT WILL SEE
IT MOVE AWAY FROM BEING A CAR MAKER AND INSTEAD TO BEING A TRANSPORT COMPANY. BUT, WITH FALLING SALES
AND VOLATILE SHARES, DOES IT HAVE ENOUGH LEFT IN THE TANK TO COMPLETE THIS JOURNEY? BY LUBNA HAMDAN
A
S MANY AS 80 PERCENT OF EXECUTIVES IN THE
auto industry expect the trend
of connectivity to be disruptive, while
83 percent predict major disruptions
to their business models in the next
five years, according to consulting firm
KPMG. But Ford Motor Company,
the American giant that raked in over
$150bn in annual revenue last year, is
planning on staying one step ahead of
the change, with a raft of innovative
products and services. Yet with its January to October sales down five percent
year-on-year, and its share price on a
volatile course in the past three years –
improving 5.8 percent year-on-year to
October, albeit after witnessing severe
66 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
drops of up to 30 percent since July 2014
– the question that begs to be asked is:
has it already fallen behind?
Judging by the aggressive plans put
in place over the past 18 months by chief
executive Jim Hackett, it does not seem
to be the case. The CEO, who joined in
March last year, has led the firm in diversifying its revenue sources on everything from electric and autonomous
cars to smart mobility services, stating
boldly that the 114-year-old firm does
not want to “cede the future to anybody
else”. The plans are all part of Ford’s
City of Tomorrow vision, which comes
as no surprise given Hackett is the former chairman at Ford Smart Mobility
– a subsidiary of the firm created to accelerate its investments in emerging mobility services.
Hackett announced last month that
by 2019, all of Ford’s new US vehicles
will include connectivity features. And
by 2020, 90 percent of its vehicles sold
globally will feature the technology. The
firm also announced early this year it
will deliver 13 new electric vehicles in
the next five years, including the F-150
Hybrid, the Mustang Hybrid, a fully
electric small SUV, a transit custom
plug-in hybrid, an autonomous vehicle
hybrid and more. In August this year,
it tried an autonomous pizza delivery
service in Michigan to test customers’
reaction to self-driving car services. A
month later, it famously dressed a driver
in a ‘car seat’ suit during a trial test of
a lighting system it developed with Virginia Tech, which would allow autonomous cars to communicate their intent
to pedestrians, human drivers and bicyclists. It also collaborated with electric automaker Tesla in a joint venture
called Ionity that sees it partnering with
BMW, Daimler AG and the Volkswagen
Group, with Audi and Porsche, to develop a network of 400 HPC charging
stations for electric vehicles that will be
rolled out across Europe by 2020, with
20 opening by the end of 2017 and another 100 opening next year.
AN ELECTRIC UAE?
How does the Middle East, which constitutes a not insubstantial 6.5 percent
share across Ford’s operational markets,
play out in the automaker’s revolutionary plans? Raj Rao, chief executive of
Ford Smart Mobility, says things are
developing quickly in the Middle East,
with an ever-changing infrastructure
rate and ambitious economies wanting
to be at the forefront of technologies.
“They are doing a lot to make their
cities intelligent. There are many smart
city initiatives and a lot of infrastructure
has already been built to make cities operate more efficiently,” he says.
But the region might not be ready
for Ford’s electric charging stations yet,
according to Steve Armstrong, group
vice president and president of Europe,
Middle East and Africa. Armstrong says
the firm has no plans to roll out the stations in the Middle East yet, but he insists the firm is determined to electrify
its vehicle fleets in the market. “We are
looking at how quickly we can roll that
out, which we hope to do by 2020. We
have hybrid vehicles that are available
and which we will continue to roll out...
So we do see opportunity in the region
to electrify our vehicles.”
If they were to roll out the stations,
statistics show Dubai might be the best
American giant (From left) Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett and Ford EMEA president Steve Armstrong
place to start, as it continues to lead the
region in terms of innovation. It ranked
28 on the Innovation Cities Index in
2016-2017, with a rank of 74 on the quality of living and 51 on infrastructure.
In April last year it also launched the
Autonomous Transportation Strategy,
which aims to turn 25 percent of total
transportation autonomous by 2030 in
order to help reduce costs and pollution.
It is expected to generate around $5bn
in annual economic returns through increased efficiency, the UAE government
website says.
“We are really excited about the opportunity in Dubai with the 2030 vision.
We think that fits very well with our
view of moving into a more mobilitybased business, and not just a vehiclebased business,” says Armstrong of
these plans. “We’ve been working with
authorities in Dubai and other cities in
the region to figure out what future services could help with the mobility challenges [in the Middle East].”
Saudi Arabia would likely be next on
the list. The kingdom said this year that
it will invest $500m into modernising its
infrastructure across 285 municipalities.
It also announced smart city projects for
10 of its cities, with the number expected to grow to 17, eventually catering to
75 percent of its population. Two of its
major developments include Al Faisaliyah, a city almost the size of Moscow, to
be built west of Makkah by 2050, while
the other is Entertainment City, a 334
square kilometre project that includes
a safari area and Six Flags theme park.
DON’T CALL IT UBER
One of Ford’s most exciting ventures is
Chariot, an Uber-like commuter service
that operates shuttles instead of passenger vehicles. Armstrong is not happy
with the Uber comparison, however, and
insists Chariot is a micro-transit system
that aims at easing congestion in cities.
“You need to differentiate that
Chariot is not like Uber. It’s a different service to when one person needs
one vehicle to move around. It takes a
lot of congestion off the roads so when
we calculate it, for every Chariot vehicle
on the road, you could probably remove
about 20 passenger cars from the congested city centres. It is a big benefit
to cities in terms of moving people, as
opposed to Uber, where you have every
Uber adding more vehicles in the cities,”
he explains.
Ford is currently working with authorities in London to allow Chariot,
which has already launched in several
US cities, to run on fixed routes, changing only the pickup and drop-off points
depending on commuters’ destinations,
thereby managing the traffic flow. “We
see that there are a lot of differences
between how something like Uber works
to how something a little bit more structured like Chariot works. And it’s been
very successful in the cities where it is
currently launching,” he says.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 67
LIFESTYLE | MANDARIN ORIENTAL KUALA LUMPUR
“The master bedroom benefits from
a stunning adjoining marble master
bathroom, with expansive infinityedge bath that overlooks Kuala
Lumpur’s twinkling city lights”
SUITE
DREAMS
MANDARIN ORIENTAL, KUALA LUMPUR
UNVEILS STUNNING NEW PRESIDENTIAL SUITE
68 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
B
USINESS TRIPS TO KUALA LUMPUR JUST got a whole lot more
exciting. The Malaysian capital’s branch of the
Mandarin Oriental has just unveiled its brand new
Presidential Suite. Set over some 440 sq m on the
hotel’s penthouse floor, the expansive three-bedroom
Business and pleasure
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur offers
impressive views, fabulous facilities and a
convenient central location
suite boasts sweeping views from every room of either
KLCC Park or the city’s iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
Open the door to the Presidential Suite and you
find yourself in a welcoming entry foyer, which leads to
the suite’s office and leisure lounge – a generous space
that would wow any potential business connection during what would have to be the ultimate client meeting.
The lavishly decorated living room is generously clad
with plush custom-made furnishings, hand-loomed
carpets and a show-stopping handmade crystal chandelier that hangs from its double-height ceiling. There
is also, of course, another 75” 4K Smart TV equipped
with Bang & Olufsen hi-fidelity sound system to provide
cinematic-quality audio-visual offerings.
For more formal occasions, the suite’s grand dining
salon, which offers spectacular views of the Twin Towers,
is the ideal setting for up to 12 lucky guests. Using its fully-equipped show kitchen, the Mandarin Oriental’s master chefs can whip up dishes to your personal tastes, and
pair them with fine vintages fresh from the suite’s temperature- and humidity-controlled private wine cooler.
The master bedroom benefits from a stunning adjoining marble master bathroom, with an expansive
infinity-edge bath that overlooks Kuala Lumpur’s twinkling city lights, his and hers vanity units and showers.
The suite even has its own fitness and wellness zone,
which includes Technogym personal cardio equipment
and free weights, as well as a private spa with a Gharieni
treatment bed for in-room treatments.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 69
LIFESTYLE | LANGHAM NEW YORK
“The renaming of our awardwinning hotel in New York City
will strengthen the brand’s
presence in both the United States
and in cosmopolitan cities”
NEW
YORK
BOLTHOLE
WITH A FRESH PRESIDENTIAL SUITE, A NEW FULL-SERVICE SPA AND EVEN A REVAMPED
NAME, THE HOTEL NOW KNOWN AS THE LANGHAM, NEW YORK IS SET FOR A STELLAR 2018
70 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
F
ORMERLY KNOWN AS LANGHAM PLACE, NEW YORK, the newly
named The Langham, New York has had quite a
year in 2017. To go with its new designation, the hotel
has also been given a brand new Presidential Suite as
well as a new full-service spa.
Contemporary style that inspires
The Langham New York at Fifth Avenue
offers guests a luxurious environment
to live, work, and relax
According to Simon Manning, chief sales and marketing officer, Langham Hospitality Group, the renaming
of the hotel will have a big benefit to the brand.
“The re-naming of our award-winning hotel in New
York City will strengthen the brand’s presence in both the
United States and in cosmopolitan cities such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Melbourne,” he says. “As
we plan to grow from the current portfolio of 16 hotels to
30 within five years, we look forward to developing a remarkable collection of luxury properties that will add immeasurable value and special memories for our guests.”
This new identity comes on the heels of a banner year
for The Langham, New York, as it brought the completion of a year-long renovation process, resulting in the
brand new Presidential Suite on the 27th floor. Featuring luxurious interiors by famous French design house
and retailers Roche Bobois, the new Presidential Suite is
set over 177 sq m, has two bedrooms and gives its guests
the unique opportunity to have a Michelin-starred restaurant brought right into the room. In partnership with
The Langham’s award-winning restaurant, Ai Fiori, part
of Chef Michael White’s Altamarea Group, guests of the
Presidential Suite by Roche Bobois will be able to enjoy
all the benefits of dining at Ai Fiori in their suite dining
room, as well as access to a private chef service from the
Ai Fiori culinary team, and a mini-bar and pantry curated by Chef Michael White himself.
The Presidential Suite by Roche Bobois, Suite 2704,
located on the highest floor in the hotel, features two full
king-sized bedrooms, two full marble-clad bathrooms
with generously proportioned soaking tubs and separate
rainfall showers, a spacious living room, dining area
that seats up to eight people, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the stunning New York skyline.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 71
NINIVE
Atmosphere Convivial and elegant, Ninive’s cuisine is served on crockery created especially for the venue by potters
NINIVE: FINE DINING
MIDDLE EAST STYLE
A
Greet and meet
Ninive at Jumeirah Emirates Towers is a cross between a
garden and a contemporary urban majlis
72 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
DINING DESTINATION INSPIRED BY THE DIVERSITY and heritage of the Arab
world, Ninive is the latest addition to Dubai’s Jumeirah Emirates
Towers hotel. Tucked away on an elevated terrace, the venue is a lush oasis of traditional architecture amongst
Dubai’s modern urban sprawl. The menu
is drawn from cuisines across the Mid-
dle East and North Africa, with Iraqi
Egyptian and even Khaleeji elements,
and rich dishes including spiced lamb
casserole and saffron-stuffed chicken,
evoking tastes of the region.
The restaurant is named after
Nineveh, Babylon’s ancient city, which
housed the hanging gardens. It was designed to resemble their model.
CEO APPROVES
KOA: STYLISH LIVING AT ITS BEST
CONCEIVED AND DESIGNED WITH DUBAI CREATIVES AND ENTREPRENEURS in mind, KOA is a new
architectural project located just outside of central Dubai, next to Al Barari. The
concept comprises both contemporary, luxury apartments and a state-of-the-art
co-working space, with a members-club style access system.
“The focus is on offering a forward-thinking generation of the UAE, livable spaces
that are culturally enriching and reflect their modern lifestyles,” says Mohammed
Bin Zaal, Emirati entrepreneur and CEO of KOA. “It’s about catering to a mindset
that reflects a new outlook for the region.”
Each issue we bring you the finest products and experiences in the world.
If there’s something we particularly like, it earns our seal of approval.
JANUARY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 73
24h
DAILY
RITUALS
The social network Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook is worth around $71.5bn
MARK
ZUCKERBERG
WHY DOES HE ALWAYS WEAR
THAT SAME GREY T-SHIRT?
HILE THERE’S NO DENYING THAT Mark
Zuckerberg’s life has changed
immeasurably since he launched
Facebook back in 2004, one thing
the billionaire entrepreneur has
kept the same is his choice of attire. From lazing around the house
to delivering a global product
lunch for his company, Zuckerberg
can invariably be found wearing his
signature grey T-shirt.
“I really want to clear my life
to make it so that I have to make
as few decisions as possible about
anything except how to best serve
this community,” Zuckerberg explained of his sartorial decision
during a public question-andanswer session. “I’m in this really
lucky position where I get to wake
up every day and help serve more
than a billion people. And I feel
like I’m not doing my job if I spend
any of my energy on things that are
silly or frivolous about my life.”
And Zuckerberg is in good
company. Legendary Apple founder Steve Jobs was famous for his
choice of black turtleneck sweater
made by Japanese designer Issey
Miyake, paired with blue Levi’s.
74 CEO MIDDLE EAST
JANUARY 2018
While Virgin boss Richard Branson
has always been a fan of the opennecked white dress shirt.
Director Christopher Nolan is
another famous proponent of the
same-clothing lifestyle, describing
choosing new clothes each day as
“a waste of energy”. Instead, he always dons a dark, narrow-lapelled
jacket over a blue dress shirt, with
black trousers over sensible shoes.
And the trend even stretches as
far as the offices of the White
House, as former US President
Barack Obama is also an advocate of removing the decision of
what clothes to wear. “You’ll see
I wear only grey or blue suits,” he
says of his dressing habits. “I’m
trying to pare down decisions.
I don’t want to make decisions
about what I’m eating or wearing,
because I have too many other
decisions to make.”
PHOTO: GETTT Y IMAGES
W
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