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CEO Middle East – May 2018

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HOW DO UAE CEOS SEE THE ECONOMY? WILL BAHRAIN’S BUSINESS BOSSES INVEST IN CAPITAL THIS YEAR?
MAY 2018
PLUS
#136
BE LIKE BILL
What makes the former Microsoft CEO
get out of bed each morning?
BULGARI
TIMEPIECES MEET
FINE JEWELLERY
THE GUIDE TO GOOD BUSINESS AND BETTER LIVING
VX STUDIOS
HAMID
KERAYECHIAN
INCLUSIVE
INTERIORS
Office architects are preparing for a
new era of ‘sensitive workspaces’
LUXURY LIFESTYLE
BREITLING:
Welcome to the
Georges Kern era
UAE MINISTER OF STATE ZAKI NUSSEIBEH SHARES
MEMORIES OF ZAYED
MALABAR GOLD
SHAMLAL
AHAMED
CARNIVAL
BY TRESIND
C E L E B R AT I N G F U S I O N
BAY VIEWS
M A N D A R I N O R I E N TA L S I N G A P O R E
Netflix founder Reed Hastings talks to
CEO Middle East on what works on the platform
and what to expect next
TOURISM TITAN
HAITHAM MATAR
WANTS TO BRING
THE WORLD TO
RAS AL KHAIMAH
, 661 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
MAY
2018
WHAT’S NEXT
FOR STREAMING?
May 2018
contents
16
Business
20
08 BIG PICTURE
35 YEARS LATER, CINEMA
RETURNS TO SAUDI ARABIA
11 NEWS
REGION’S NEW $10BN STOCK
BR SHETTY’S NEW COMPANY
BLACKLANE’S GCC PUSH
1 6 R E A L E S TAT E AWA R D S
THE WINNERS OF ARABIAN
BUSINESS’ FIRST EVER
24
26
1 8 L E A D E R B OA R D
HOW UAE AND BAHRAINI CEOS
SEE THE ECONOMY
21 FIVE MINUTE INTERVIEW
40
JUMEIRAH RESTAURANT
GROUP’S BOSS ON WHAT
MAKES HER TICK
22 NINE QUESTIONS
NOVOMED’S CEO SAYS HE
DOESN’T NEED TO RETIRE
2 4 ALL INCLUSIVE DESIGN
WORKPLACE INTERIORS NEED
TO CHANGE
26 STUDIO SESSIONS
32
VX STUDIOS CHIEF ON
DEVELOPER LED DESIGN
32 GOING FOR GOLD
MALABAR GOLD’S PLANS TO
BE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST
JEWELLERY RETAILER
3 6 PUTTING RAK ON THE MAP
RAS AL KHAIMAH TOURISM
AND DEVLOPMENT
AUTHORITY’S CHIIEF ON
BUILDING THE MIRATE’S
APPEAL
40 MY TIME WITH SHEIKH
Z AY E D
SHEIKH ZAYED’S
INTERPRETER AND NOW UAE
MINISTER OF STATE SPEAKS
WITH CEO MIDDLE EAST
ABOUT THE UAE’S FOUNDER
36
4 4 THE KING OF CONTENT
44
NETFLIX’S CEO IN AN
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH
CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2017
CEO MIDDLE EAST 3
May 2018
contents
Pleasure
51 QE2 REOPENS
WHICH OF THE
SURFACE DEVICES
SHOULD YOU BUY?
52 MICROSOFT’S BEST PC?
INDIA INSPIRED AQUAZURRA
MOYNAT’S LUXURY LUGGAGE
59
54 STYLE
BOMBAY SHIRT COMPANY’S
BESPOKE SERVICES
FINE ORIENTAL RAMADAN
STYLE
5 9 F R AG R A N C E O F T H E M O N T H
HUGO BOSS’ NEW LIMITED
EDITION THE SCENT HITS
A HIGH NOTE
6 1 A LWAYS O N T I M E
HUBLOT INVITES PELE
TO DUBAI
BVLGARI BRIDGES
WATCHMAKING WITH
JEWELLERY
BVLGARI AT BASELWORLD
52
61
64 A NEW ERA
BREITLING CEO GEORGES
KERN SPEAKS WITH CEO
MIDDLE EAST ON WHERE
HE WANTS TO TAKE THE
BRAND
6 8 F I V E S TA R S TAY
THE HILTON RESORT AND
SPA IN RAS AL KHAIMAH
OFFERS THE IDEAL FAMILY
VACATION
7 0 D E S T I N AT I O N R E V I E W
THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL
SINGAPORE OFFERS THE
BEST VIEW OF THE VIBRANT
MARINA BAY
64
7 2 C E L E B R AT I O N B R U N C H
CARNIVAL BY TRESIND
AMAZES AGAIN
73 BUSINESS LUNCH
DIFC’S ROBERTO’S HAS
PLENTY OF AWARDS TO
LIVE UP TO, AND IT DOESN’T
DISAPPOINT
4 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
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MUST READS
THIS ISSUE
Inspring interiors.
Foosball tables and hammocks are
set to give way to more inspiring office
interiors.
PAGE 24
Bigger than Tiffany’s.
Malabar Gold is the UAE-Indian jewellery retailer on a quest to be the world’s
biggest.
PAGE 32
The GCC’s next big destination?
Ras al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority says Ras al Khaimah is
poised to attract 3 million tourists by
2025
PAGE 36
FROM THE EDITOR
ON WHY PASSION IS
OVERRATED IN BUSINESS
O
NE OF OF THE JOYS OF BEING IN JOURNALISM
IS SPEAKING WITH ENTREPRENEURS, EXPERTS,
AND LEADERS IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
AND DISCUSSING HOW THEY FOUND SUCCESS
IN THEIR RESPECTIVE FIELDS.
Time and again, however, it can also be
dispiriting to hear them use tired old adages to describe the key determinants to
their success: “Innovation is in our DNA”,
they say, adding “challenges are opportunities” that require “out of the box thinking”. Which brings us to the oft-heard
belief in “passion”. Some otherwise inspiring entrepreneurs and industry leaders cite it as a defining characteristic. But
billionaire serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban calls it, “One of the great lies of life
everyone tells you.”
Passion is markedly absent from the factors of production that economists use to
describe what translates into economic
activity: land, labour and capital. Debate
rages on whether to include entrepreneurship, with advocates – often American, such
as JB Clark who was among the pioneers
of the notion – saying that those who take
on all the risk of a business do so based on
the intellectual capital they possess. That
6 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
intellectual capital is the combination of a history of acquiring skills, mitigating risks and
identifying market demand where opportunities reside. It could be argued that intellectual
capital couldn’t be accumulated and applied
to a business were the entrepreneur not excited
by something in the first place. True, but it still
isn’t the entire answer to the puzzle – just part
of it. If it were, then we might as well add dumb
luck to the list of factors of production. Or the
ability to “embrace failure”.
Instead, Cuban says where you put your time
is where your best skills are. “Passion isn’t what
you need to focus on,” he says. “If you put in
enough time you get really good. And nobody
quits anything they’re good at, because it’s fun
to be good, to be the best [at something].”
And it makes sense. Building a business is
an achievement, as is sealing a deal, creating
a product or meeting a deadline. If what you
do makes a difference, you’ll get invited to
get-togethers after work or be asked to join
in on an important meeting. If you play your
cards right, you could be promoted to a role
where you find the word “chief” on your business card. Where does passion fall on the hierarchy of needs?
Maybe the right word is “enthusiasm”.
My time with Zayed.
Sheikh Zayed’s former interpreter and
now Minister of State shares memories
of his time with the founder of the UAE.
PAGE 40
Netflix’s world. Founder Reed Hastings
tells us that the company is all about
getting the best shows in the world on
its platform.
PAGE 44
Breitling’s Georges Kern era.
Watchmaking’s most renowned executive wants the industry’s richest aviation tradition to scale new heights.
PAGE 64
Is this the best brunch in Dubai?
Tresind by Carnival is constantly reimagining not just its own menu, but also
South Asian cuisine.
PAGE 72
QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?
Like the magazine? Hate it?
Either way, let me know:
SHAYAN SHAKEEL
Editor
shayan.shakeel@itp.com
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MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 7
(Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
BIG PICTURE
8 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
PHOTO: PHOTO BY PAUL CROCK / GETTY IMAGES
A SAUDI ARRIVES TO ATTEND A CINEMA TEST SCREENING IN RIYADH ON APRIL 18, 2018. - Blockbuster action flick Black Panther played at a cinema test screening in Saudi Arabia on April 18,
the first in a series of trial runs before movie theatres open to the wider public in May. Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year ban on cinemas last year as part of a far-reaching liberalisation drive, with US giant AMC
Entertainment granted the first licence to operate movie theatres.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 9
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BUSINESS
FINANCE
AVIATION
MANAGEMENT
TECHNOLOGY
CORPORATE
24
Number of equities in the
Arab World with a market
cap value above $10 billion
Rapid riser NMC Health is worth only $200 million less than Emaar Properties, developer of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai
ARAB WORLD’S
TOP-PERFORMING
STOCK JOINS THE
$10 BILLION CLUB
NMC HEALTH PLC’ S STOCK
HAS GROWN OVER 1,650 PERCENT SINCE IT BEGAN TRADING
SIX YEARS AGO
I
t has risen a whopping 1,650
percent since it started trading
six years ago, more than any other
company based in the Arab world.
Abu Dhabi-based NMC Health
Plc closed at a record on Friday in
London, boosting its market value to
$10.8 billion.
That’s about $200 million less
than Emaar Properties, the developer
of the world’s tallest tower in Dubai.
NMC Health is now one of 24
equities in the region with a market
cap above $10 billion.
The medical company started
trading as part of the FTSE 100 Index
from September last year, a steep
climb for a stock that was listed in
2012.
The healthcare provider sold
shares in an initial public offering at
210 pence each compared with 3,688
pence in London on April 20.
It still has a long way to go before
unseating the unrivalled king of
Middle Eastern stocks: Saudi Basic
Industries Corporation which is listed
on the Tadawul Exchange in Riyadh.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 11
NEWS
CORPORATE
BR SHETTY’S FINABLR PREPS
FOR POSSIBLE
LSE
IPO
FINANCIAL BRANDS NOW SIT UNDER
NEW HOLDING GROUP FINABLR
MONEY TRANSFER FIRMS UAE EXCHANGE, TRAVELEX AND OTHERS UNDER UAE BILLIONAIRE Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty’s newly formed holding
company Finablr are preparing for a London initial public
offering (IPO).
The company announced yesterday that the financial brands
will come together under a new UK-based group, Finablr.
“We’re still working on an IPO but there is no commitment at the moment in terms of when that will happen,”
said Binay Shetty, executive director at Finablr told Arabian Business. “At that moment, it’s too early, but we are
working on that track.”
In 2016, BR Shetty told Arabian Business an IPO was
12 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
confirmed for United Global - the holding company of currency houses - in the third quarter of 2017, with the intent
of selling 30 percent of its shares on the London Stock
Exchange (LSE).
He said LSE had been selected due to its high quality
investment regulations and solid market capitalisation.
Shetty’s UAE-based NMC Healthcare has been listed on
LSE since 2012, growing a whopping 1,650 percent since it
started trading, with a current
In line with Finablr’s launch, non-UAE operations
of UAE Exchange will be rebranded as Unimoni, which
stands for universal money.
NEWS
AVIATION
SAUDI SHARES MOST
EXPENSIVE
SINCE
2015
FOREIGN INVESTORS HAVE BEEN NET BUYERS OF SAUDI STOCKS
EVERY WEEK THIS YEAR
SAUDI ARABIAN STOCKS ARE TRADING AT THE MOST EXPENSIVE LEVEL SINCE 2015
relative to emerging markets as foreign investors continue buying into a potential status upgrade by MSCI Inc.
as oil surges.
The Tadawul All Share Index is trading at 15 times estimated earnings per share for the coming year, versus 12 times
for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. The spread between
the measures is the widest since August 2015.
As of April 19, foreign investors were net buyers of Saudi
stocks for the 16th straight week. They were net purchasers of 1.4 billion riyals ($370 million), more than any other
week since at least October 2015, when Bloomberg started
compiling the data.
The Saudi main stock index has gained about 15 percent
this year. Investors are betting that MSCI will upgrade the
kingdom to emerging market status in June, with implementation starting next year, after a similar decision by FTSE
Russell last month.
Anticipation of the upgrade is rising as Brent crude trades
at the highest level since 2014, which is beneficial for corporate earnings in the country that’s the biggest exporter of
the commodity globally. An initial public offering of oil giant
Saudi Aramco in Riyadh could further boost interest in the
local stock exchange.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 13
NEWS
CORPORATE
EX-HSBC BANKER TO HEAD
ABU PHILIPPE
DHABI
OIL
TRADING
UNIT
KHOURY WAS ONE OF THE HSBC EXECUTIVES WORKING ON THE POTENTIAL
INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING OF SAUDI ARAMCO
ABU DHABI NATIONAL OIL CO. HAS HIRED PHILIPPE KHOURY, FORMERLY AN ENERGY
BANKER AT HSBC HOLDINGS, to head up its new unit for trading
crude oil and refined products.
Khoury was one of the HSBC executives working on the potential initial public offering of Saudi Aramco. Prior to joining
the bank, he also worked for the French oil major Total SA in
Russia, Africa and ran its trading business in the Americas.
State-owned Adnoc is bolstering its capacity to buy and
sell crude and fuels as it expands oil-production and refining
capacity and looks to buy crude-processing plants abroad, according to a statement.
“As Adnoc grows and expands its upstream and down-
14 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
stream businesses,” Adnoc Chief Executive Officer Sultan
Al Jaber said in the statement, trading “will play an even
more critical role.” The new unit will help to “maximise
value from our domestic and, over time, international
downstream operations.”
Adnoc has so far sold most of its refined products and crude
on “free-on-board” basis, which means the buyer takes delivery at a port within the emirate, Khoury said. The company is
setting up the trading unit to maximise profit and “gradually
reclaim ownership” of those sales, while also preparing for an
expansion of refining and marketing capacity at home and
abroad, he said.
NEWS
TRANSPORT
GLOBAL CHAUFFEUR SERVICE
EYES
GCC
EXPANSION
BERLIN-BASED BLACKLANE PLANS TO OPEN A REGIONAL OFFICE IN DUBAI
AND OPERATIONS IN EVERY MAJOR GCC CITY BY THE END OF 2018
GLOBAL CHAUFFEUR SERVICE BLACKLANE PLANS TO OPERATE IN EVERY MAJOR CITY in the
GCC by the end of 2018, following a funding round in January
led by the UAE-based Alfahim conglomerate, according to
CEO and co-founder Dr. Jens Wohltorf.
During an interview with Arabian Business on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Dr. Wohltorf
revealed that the Berlin-based company has significant
expansion plans in the Gulf region, which will include the
opening of a regional office in Dubai later in 2018.
“In a few months, we’ll set up an entity here [Dubai] that
will deal with supply, such as expanding into new markets
and new cities in the GCC region, and also on the other
hand, they need to create awareness of the brand,” he said.
Despite already operating throughout the region in
countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Dr.
Wohltorf said that he still sees ample room for growth, particularly in the GCC but also across the wider Middle East.
“There are many more areas to come. Egypt is still ‘white
space’ which I don’t want to see in the region, as an example,” he said. “The idea is that in the next year we want to
be in every major city in the GCC.
In other markets, such as Saudi Arabia, Dr. Wohltorf said
he hopes to expand the company’s partnerships to reach
previously unserviced cities.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 15
BUSINESS | REAL ESTATE AWARDS 2018
AND THE
WINNERS
ARE…
THE FIRST ARABIAN BUSINESS REAL
ESTATE AWARDS HONOURED THE
CONTRIBUTION OF DEVELOPERS,
MASTERPLANNERS, AGENTS,
ARCHITECTS AND BROKERS TO THE
REGION’S LANDSCAPE
16 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
REAL ESTATE LEGEND
HUSSAIN SAJWANI
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST
EQUITATIVA GROUP
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE
GULF SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY
OFF-PLAN PROJECT
ROYAL PEARLS BY ORIENTAL PEARLS
SOFTWARE MANAGEMENT COMPANY
YARDI SYSTEMS
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION (COMPANY)
DUBAI PROPERTIES
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION (PERSON)
MOAFAQ AL GADDAH
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN FIRM
VX STUDIO
BEST DESIGN
J ONE
INNOVATION COMPANY
ELLINGTON GROUP
UAE REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE OF THE YEAR
ALLSOPP & ALLSOPP
FASTEST GROWING COMPANY
BINGHATTI
BEST RESIDENTIAL PROJECT
SERENIA RESIDENCES, THE PALM
DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR
AZIZI DEVELOPMENTS
BEST INDUSTRIAL PROJECT
AL SAJA’A INDUSTRIAL OASIS
INNOVATION PROJECT
MAG CREEK WELLBEING RESORT
BEST BRANDED PROJECT
JEWELZ BY DANUBE
VISIONARY
FAISAL FAQEEH
MASTER DEVELOPER
ARADA
PIONEERS OF REAL ESTATE
WASL PROPERTIES
DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR – NORTHERN EMIRATES
RAK PROPERTIES
BEST WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT
SHARJAH WATERFRONT CITY
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 17
OBG BUSINESS BAROMETER:
UAE CEO SURVEY
The introduction of a flat 5% value-added tax on
January 1, 2018 is part of ongoing efforts to boost
government revenue and increase the overall
transparency of the market. Although still in its early
days, the move comes against a backdrop of positive
sentiment among business leaders, as shown in
the second iteration of Oxford Business Group’s
Business Barometer: UAE CEO Survey. Of the nearly
150 executives surveyed, more than three-quarters
had positive or very positive expectations of local
business conditions, while 90% said the level of
transparency for conducting business was high or
very high relative to the broader region.
IN WHICH MARKET DO YOU SEE THE GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR
INCREASED TRADE AND IN VESTMENT flOWS IN THE UAE?
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF LOCAL BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN
THE COMING 12 MONTHS?
WHAT IS YOUR LEVEL OF SATISFACTION WITH THE QUALITY OF
LOCAL SUPPLIERS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS?
18 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
Charts and commentary courtesy 2018 Oxford Business Group UAE CEO Survey and
Oxford Business Group Bahrain Business Barometer
WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF TRANSPARENCY FOR CONDUCTING
BUSINESS IN THE UAE RELATIVE TO THE REGION?
OBG BUSINESS BAROMETER:
BAHRAIN CEO SURVEY
HOW LIKELY IS IT THAT YOUR COMPANY WILL MAKE A SIGNIfiCANT CAPITAL INVESTMENT
WITHIN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF TRANSPARENCY FOR CONDUCTING BUSINESS IN
BAHRAIN RELATIVE TO THE REGION?
One of the first Gulf countries to
fully embrace the need to diversify
its economy, Bahrain continues to
benefit from the relative strength
and independence of its private
sector. Despite a moderate growth
outlook and concerns over regional
political volatility, business sentiment
from C-Suite executives surveyed in
Oxford Business Group’s Business
Barometer: Bahrain CEO Survey
remains positive. Some 63% said they
were likely or very likely to make a
significant capital investment, with the
country’s high level of transparency
and strong business environment
seen as key to continuing to attract
foreign and domestic investment.
36%
IN WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING RANGES WOULD YOUR GDP GROWTH FORECAST FOR
THENEXT 12 MONTHS FALL?
are likely or very likely to
make a significant capital
investment
87%
say transparency is high or
very high
PLEASE INDICATE THE TOP EXTERNAL EVENT THAT COULD IMPACT THE ECONOMY OF BAHRAIN IN THE SHORT TO MEDIUM TERM
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 19
TALK
Q+A
FIVE
MINUTE
INTERVIEW
EMMA BANKS, GENERAL MANAGER, JUMEIRAH RESTAURANT GROUP
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Energetic, resilient, hard working, competitive,
results focused and determined. Doing my
best at balancing being somewhat of a workaholic alongside a wife and mother! I am also a
natural worrier.
HOW WOULD OTHERS DESCRIBE YOU?
I hope the above! I think my team would see me
as demanding, clear in my expectations but supportive. I don’t suffer fools easily as well. I never
forget even the smallest detail, which can be a tad
annoying for my team! My husband and daughter
think I worry and plan too much which is true as
well. I don’t relax very easily, tried yoga and failed!
WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST CAREER ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
Running the JRG business as its GM and being
highly commended in the Leaders in Industry
F&B Lifetime achievements Awards in 2016 and
2017. Maybe not the bridesmaid next year!
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?
The people, and how no two days are the same.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS?
Not moving to the GCC earlier. It’s a great place
to live and work especially in the field of food
and beverage.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?
My family, job, animal welfare and spinning (RPM)
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL IN BUSINESS?
To continue to lead JRG and support Dubai
Holdings in its vision to grow the business and
manage and operate the best food and beverage concepts in the region.
WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DO YOU VALUE MOST IN OTHERS?
Passion, energy, authenticity, honesty, creativity,
a team player and having fun at work!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Walking on the beach and spinning. I do my best
thinking during these activities; the evolving city
of Dubai and the great F&B concepts in the city;
my family and my team.
WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS?
Is it bad to say that I don’t have any in particular?
20 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
I’ve been inspired, supported and developed by various mentors during my career who I am very grateful to for shaping me into the leader I am now.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST LUXURY?
My four rescue pets (three cats and a dog) which in Dubai cost a fortune!
IS THERE A QUOTE YOU TRY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE BY?
In business “what gets measured gets done” and in general “lets crack on”.
THE LIBRARY
BILLIONAIRE
BOOKS
Don’t judge a book by its cover
Six of the finest tomes that captured
our attention this month
PRACTICAL ADVICE FROM
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ACTIVATE YOUR
BRAIN
In his latest book, the
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used to solve large scale
projects — to help readers
realise the power for
positive change we
all have within us.
Would you like more
control over your life
and work? Scott Halford
shows readers how to
understand and activate
the full potential of the
brain, by recognising
how this incredible organ
works and understanding
what can be done to help
it perform at its best.
Bernard Roth
THE BEST PLACE
TO WORK
Scott G. Halford
DISRUPT YOURSELF
Whitney L. Johnson
Ron Friedman
Disruptive companies
and ideas upend markets
by doing something truly
different. Johnson helps
readers understand the
frameworks of disruptive
innovation that can
be applied to their
particular career path
or business, to become
successful in unexpected
ways.
Award-winning
psychologist Ron
Friedman Ph.D uses
his latest research from
the Óelds of motivation,
creativity, behavioural
economics and
neuroscience to reveal
what really makes people
successful at work.
STAND OUT
LEAN OUT
Too many people believe
that if they keep their
heads down at work,
they’ll be recognized and
rewarded on the merits
of their work. But that’s
simply not true. Clark
explains how to identify
the areas that set you
apart, and help promote
them for business
success.
There is a split between
the stated ideals of the
corporate elite and the
reality of working life
for women in the tech
industry. Shevinksy lays
out the reasons why that’s
a big problem for American
industry, and ways to Óx
the root causes of this;
corporate culture.
Dorie Clark
Elissa Shevinsky
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 21
BUSINESS | NOVOMED
9
NINE QUESTIONS
Q+A
DR MAX
SAWAF
CEO AND FOUNDER OF
NOVOMED
D
R MAX (MAZEN) SAWAF
IS A SYRIAN CARDIAC
ANAESTHESIOLOGIST,
AUTHOR, and founder and
CEO of Novomed, a medical
group headquartered in Dubai
with operations in Beverly
Hills, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
He has written five books on
cosmetic surgery, health and
anti-ageing medicine, and
regularly appears on various
TV shows to talk about health.
HOW WOULD YOU TRY TO
DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
I have always been a hyperachiever. I love working, even
though at 65 I can afford to
retire.
WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST CAREER
ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
Founding Emirates Hospital
and CosmeSurge in 2000
and building the brand to
a point where it had more
than 156 doctors and 800
employees. I sold the brand
in early 2014. Now that the
three-year
non-compete
period is over, I am busy
building Novomed, a brand
that will be known for
uncompromising quality and
honest advice.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST
ABOUT YOUR WORK?
Coaching and motivating
my staff; helping patients
learn to navigate the maze
of healthcare and choose
the right doctor; and
helping my patients and
friends embrace a healthier
lifestyle.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST REGRET?
Not moving to Dubai earlier (I
moved in 2000 after spending
17 years in the USA). Also,
believing that ‘cholesterol
free’ means healthy, when in
fact the food item could be
loaded with sugar.
“I HAVE ALWAYS
BEEN A HYPERACHIEVER. I LOVE
WORKING, EVEN
THOUGH AT 65 I
CAN AFFORD TO
RETIRE”
WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Spreading awareness of
health and wellness. We tend
to rely on technology and
medication when we could
prevent most chronic disease
with the right food, regular
exercise, enough sleep and
healthier relationships with
our partners and our coworkers. In the USA, obesity
is largely a disease of the
poor. In this region, we are
wealthy, but still poor in
terms of health awareness,
although things are starting
to change. I am also
passionate about educating
Syrian orphans.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL IN BUSINESS?
To
make
Novomed
the
destination of choice for
doctors and their families
in the region. It won’t be
the biggest, but it will have
great doctors offering honest
advice. There is an oversupply
of doctors and hospitals in
the region, but in my opinion,
not enough who offer honest
advice. This is true in the
UAE and in the USA. I would
like to create a brand that my
five children would be proud
to be associated with.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
People who keep telling me I
cannot build a better brand
than the one I sold, given
the challenging business
environment today.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST LUXURY?
My loving wife and my five
children.
IS THERE A QUOTE YOU TRY TO
LIVE YOUR LIFE BY?
There are several, but a
favourite of mine has always
been: Honest business is
good business.
“THERE IS AN OVERSUPPLY OF DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS IN THE REGION,
BUT IN MY OPINION, NOT ENOUGH WHO OFFER HONEST ADVICE. THIS IS
TRUE BOTH IN THE UAE AND IN THE USA”
22 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 23
BUSINESS | OFFICE INTERIORS
ROOM TO
BREATHE
THE INSPIRING FEMALE-FOCUSED
WORKSPACES CHALLENGING
THE MASCULINE MODEL OF
CONTEMPORARY OFFICES
BY BROOKE BOYSCHAU AND SOPHIE COOKE,
CO-FOUNDERS OF ATTELINE
F VIRGINIA WOLF WAS RIGHT ABOUT A ‘ROOM OF
ONE’S OWN’ being vital to nurturing
a woman’s creativity, then female
business owners should certainly take note.
Our own observations have cemented
the inkling that there is a traditional mindset governing how offices look, feel and
perform, with workplaces internationally
designed by men, for men. In recent years,
Silicon Valley has sold us on futuristic and
genderless ideals of the modern office, with
open layouts, dynamic kitchens, removable
walls, standing desks and privacy pods
geared towards employee happiness and
productivity. Despite the undeniable perks
of these eccentric and forward thinking
spaces, we’re here to argue that what most
employees want and need is a feel good
space conducive to focus, self expression,
privacy, collaboration, productivity, good
health and lifestyle convenience.
As female entrepreneurs with concerns for the wellbeing and productivity
I
24 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
of our team, people often ask us, “what do
you consider the perfect office for a happy
workforce?” We can both attest that the
perfect environment has to be one which
does not feel like ‘work’: It is a place so
well designed that it doesn’t actually look
complete; it gives the user an opportunity to add that final, personalised touch
to their space. An environment filled with
opportunities to become creative, and a
place where both ourselves and our team
can focus and get distracted. A place which
sounds, smells, looks and feels good.
Over the past decade, the dialogue
surrounding design and its impact on productivity and creativity in the workplace
has continued to gain momentum. From a
psychological standpoint, such discussions
make perfect sense – accomplishment and
success go hand in hand with feeling ‘great’.
Design-wise, we know from designers and
architects that there are indeed many aesthetic and practical elements that directly
impact the mood, mind-set and well-being
of an individual or team.
People want to feel comfortable at
work, not intimidated by aggressive impersonal environments. A Future Laboratory
report exploring how offices will evolve to
meet the needs of an incredibly diverse
workforce presented contemporary working life as a monoculture created by and
targeted at men between the ages of 25
and 40. The report predicts a positive shift
towards “sensitive workplaces”, that are
reflective of an individuals’ needs, using
smart technology to adapt everything from
local temperature to lighting preferences.
As both business owners and PR professionals representing a wealth of creative
clients, we have become fervent advocates
of exploring new ways to create healthy,
inspiring, and sustainable workplaces
in which employees can feel good about
where they are, and what they do. We are
also fiercely passionate about supporting
WORDS: PARAG DEULGAONKAR
“SUCCESSFUL DESIGN
FOR INCREASED
PRODUCTIVITY,
NEEDN’T HINGE ON HUGE
BUDGETS FOR INDOOR
PUTTING GREENS,
SLIPPERY SLIDES,
FOOSBALL TABLES OR
GIANT HAMMOCKS”
our fellow females in achieving the same.
We believe the limitations of the current
approach to standard office design may
essentially lie in its male driven approach:
Spaces designed for men, by men.
With this in mind, before designing our
office we tried and tested many different
arrangements – cafes, home, co-working
spaces – to see what we could take from
and what we could improve. The result was
an office designed with our client Medy
Navani, architect, interior designer and
Founder of Design Haus Medy. It is a space
with multi faced functionality at its heart;
there are areas for hosting client lunches,
lounges for networking, work benches for
collaboration and a private room for confidential meetings. Proximate wellness and
beauty facilities were also considered, including a pilates studio in the building for
easy access during and around the work
day. The mix of ambience – light and dark,
open and enclosed, formal and informal –
promotes creativity in all its forms. We also
looked out for easy access to supermarkets,
green spaces, walking tracks and metro, to
ensure individual lifestyle choices could be
incorporated into the work day,
With newcomers always around the
corner exposing the gap in the market for
well designed offices spaces, we are aiming to be a small rallying cry to ambitious
women everywhere seeking to create the
best possible environment for their team.
We are not exploring radical changes here,
just acknowledging the basic requirements
of the modern worker, and the modern
woman. That also includes flexibility in
the return to work for new mothers, with
an open door policy for all the little ones in
our team to visit.
We have channelled our frustration with all the worst aspects of office
life – it’s sedentary nature, and culture of
presentations and sterile environments
– into designing a space at Atteline that
works with our natural instincts instead
of against them. Desks are not segregated
and allow for open conversation and easy
brainstorming sessions (that don’t need to
be planned!); and everything from lighting
and temperature to the background music
can be controlled. We also have scents to
evoke a particular mood (lemongrass for
concentration, lavender for relaxation) and
there is a spectacular view with floor to
ceiling windows overlooking the transient
Dubai city landscape.
Environmental psychologists have
come to pour great amounts of focus over
how design affects mood, and as recently
concluded by Harvard Business Review, “via
a chain of psychological reactions, mood
influences worker engagement, with more
positive moods linked to higher levels of
engagement”. Therefore, we must focus
on designing for engagement, to make
those positive moods more likely. Recent
research from Gensler, a global architect
and design firm, revealed that poor workplace design was estimated to cost U.S.
businesses a whopping $330billion in lost
productivity each year. Thankfully, more
and more companies are beginning to take
notice of the real impact workplace design
has on a company’s bottom line.
For those start-up and SME owners
reading in dismay, believing they must
hit a forecasted turnover before investing in productive design, allow us to
allay your disillusionment. Successful
design for increased productivity, happiness and creativity needn’t hinge on
huge budgets for indoor putting greens,
slippery slides, foosball tables or giant hammocks reminiscent of Google’s
global offices. In fact, what we see more
of as consultants, are offices seeking
to become more mature; the trend of
having the coolest office spaceis being
trumped by the desire for more sophisticated work environments reflecting the
brand, organisational ethos and company culture, as opposed to focusing on
trendy yet potentially superfluous “bells
and whistles” that are possibly best
served as Instagram fodder.
Fluid hospitable spaces suited to
work, rest and play are key. Outdated
practises such as hot desking will give
way to a more thoughtful approach, like
promoting skill sharing by seating an
older employee next to a millennial colleague – something we strongly practise
here at Atteline. Employers need to provide environments that bring people together – that’s when the best and most
inspired ideas happen.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 25
BUSINESS | VX STUDIO
STUDIO
SESSIONS
HAMID KERAYECHIAN, VX STUDIO CEO
AND FOUNDING PARTNER, IS PUTTING
A NEW, DEVELOPER-LED SPIN ON
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN
BY EDDIE TAYLOR
26 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
X STUDIO HAS EMERGED IN RECENT YEARS AS
THE FIRST PORT-OF-CALL FOR DEVELOPERS
AND END-USERS LOOKING FOR INNOVATIVE,
design-led but commercially viable
projects, whether in the residential,
retail or hospitality sectors. The firm
came into being when its founders
realised there was a gap in the market for
developer-led design solutions, which
the CEO and founding partner, Hamid
Kerayechian, identified whilst managing
some of the most prestigious projects
in the region. In a little over three
years, VX Studio now has $5bn worth
of projects in their portfolio, delivered
by highly skilled, multi-disciplinary
teams with expertise in architecture,
development, project-management and
masterplanning.
VX Studio was the recent winner
of the Architectural Design Firm of the
Year at the first ever Arabian Business
Real Estate Awards, a testament to
the impact they’ve made on the local
landscape. Here, he tells CEO Middle
East, about his guiding principles.
V
What is your design philosophy?
We call it “Developer Led Design”.
It puts the developers’ key interests
at the heart of the design process by
maximising the sellable area and the
return on the investment. Our design
“I ALWAYS TELL
CLIENTS: DON’T
FALL IN LOVE WITH
THE EXTERIOR OF A
BUILDING AND THEN
MESS UP THE BASIC
FUNCTIONALITY OF THE
INTERIOR”
philosophy puts the client’s brief and
expectations at the heart of the design
process. VX Studio are proud of the way
in which we constantly exceed delivery
to the highest efficiencies and quality
standards.
What sets your firm apart from others in
the industry?
Our teams all come from developer
backgrounds and can hit the key design
needs of the developer through all stages
of the design process. Our knowledge
of market need in terms for unit sizes,
reduced build costs and built-up areas,
and the desire to maximise returns for
the clients is at the heart of our services.
Being ex-developers we also understand
the need for architectural drivers or the
point of difference that bring value to
the design process. If the project isn’t
commercially viable, and you can’t get the
best return on investment, that is an issue
in a very competitive market like Dubai.
How can you achieve that?
The buildings we produce, whether it’s
going to be a shopping mall, a residential
building or a serviced apartment
building, have probably the highest
efficiencies in the market. That means
we get the most sellable, releaseable
area for our clients. One thing we really
take care of is how to maximise views in
a certain development – if something
faces Burj Khlaifa, or the sea or water
has up to 50 percent more premium
than the exact same unit that doesn’t.
A rectangular floorplan always works
better, for instance; there are projects
where the external shape or structure
will drive the floorplan and we know
those aren’t the most commercially indemand projects.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 27
BUSINESS | VX STUDIO
Wellness World The AED2.2 billion MAG
Creek Wellbeing Resort spans over 898,786
square feet and covering 550 metres of the Dubai
Creek waterfront
“WE PUT THE
DEVELOPERS’ KEY
INTERESTS AT THE
HEART OF THE
DESIGN PROCESS BY
MAXIMISING THE
SELLABLE AREA AND
THE RETURN ON
THE INVESTMENT.
OUR DESIGN
PHILOSOPHY PUTS THE
CLIENT’S BRIEF AND
EXPECTATIONS AT THE
HEART OF THE DESIGN
PROCESS”
So, you always design inside-out?
Always. We always look at how people
will use the space and build outwards. I
always tell clients: don’t fall in love with the
exterior of a building and then mess up the
basic functionality of the interior – which
is what you’ll be selling to your customer.
If you had to choose one project that
best exemplifies your style, is there one?
The one I would say that will exceed
expectations when it is delivered is
MAG Creek Wellbeing Resort. It went
through a number of iterations, we won
a competition over 12 or 13 companies.
Almost everyone looks at the Creek. The
masterplanning and the connectivity
is well thought-out. It is going to be
the first wellness-certified project
in the Middle East and we’ve been
working with Delos in the US for all the
certification. Everything about it, the
interiors, the landscaping, is resortstyle. I think it will be very successful.
Can you have a unique approach while
also retaining a signature?
I don’t think we have a signature per
se, but equally, we don’t design curvy,
non-functional buildings. We think they
28 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
look beautiful, but that’s not the main
driver. The main drivers are the quality,
the liveable space and how it works
commercially for the developer.
There’s a lot of talk of oversupply or
a continued softening in the market...
what What is you prognosis for Dubai
over the next five years?
I moved here in 2008, which saw the
effects of the crash on the market here.
But I also saw how Dubai recovered from
it. And I think that Dubai is only going
13
Number of companies that VX Studios
beat to win the contract for the MAG Creek
Wellbeing Resort
to get more recognised as a city and
attract more and more investment from
around the world. I think more people
from around the world will continue to
come here for opportunities - I see it in
my own office, and imagine how many
more companies like mine ares still
recruiting people. So, I believe in Dubai.
How much of your business is in Dubai?
I’d say it’s around 50 percent in Dubai
and 50 percent outside. Of that, maybe
35 percent is in the GCC. But we’re
working in a project in Florida right
now, we’re doing something in China
and things in Azerbaijan. So we are
expanding internationally. But I’d say
there is still a strong need in Dubai
for tastefully designed, functional
buildings... you can’ just launch a
building and expect it to be occupied.
There is competition. Design and
workmanship is so important.
Award Winner VX Studios
won Architectural Design Firm
of the Year at the first ever
Arabian Business Real Estate
Awards in April
How hands-on are you as a CEO?
I am less involved these days, I have
to say. We’ve made sure to hire the
right directors to manage our various
divisions. VX isn’t our only business;
we established a very successful interior
design firm, Opaal Interiors, we have an
IT company ALT Technology, we have a
general trading business, and we recently
set up a company called NIOUM that
looks to introduce specialist companies
from Scandinavia, particularly Finland,
to the UAE. So I’m busy!
What was the genesis of NIOUM?
Through real estate. We met with a
company called HOUM, loved what they
did and thought that they would work
well in Dubai. And Finnish companies
don’t have ready access to the Middle
East region. We have others called iLoq,
the next-generation of digital locks,
we have Leanpark, automated parking.
There are a lot of ideas from that part
of the world. Our job is to help them
sell here and offer technical support.
We’re also working something called
Workbay, which we think is going to
be the next generation of co-working
spaces. We’re building them right now,
the first on Za’abeel Road, and they’ll
again be operated by a Nordic company.
The great thing is, we have a readymade
community within NIOUM – and others.
You’re building a name for your offices,
“THE BUILDINGS WE
PRODUCE, WHETHER
A SHOPPING MALL, OR
SERVICED APARTMENT,
HAVE PROBABLY THE
HIGHEST EFFICIENCIES
IN THE MARKET”
they keep winning awards...?
We do. We’ve sort of become known for
it. It’s very homely, we have a courtyard, a
green wall, PlayStations, lots of music...
it’s a hangout for everyone, employees,
clients. I hardly go out anymore! We just
won an Index Award.
Are there keys to a great office space?
A lot of open space, a lot of natural light,
access to outdoor space. And I sit out
on the floor, I don’t have my own office.
I want to be approachable, I want to
know what’s going on.
If you were going to put a sign on the wall
that best sums up your mantra, what
would it be?
I don’t know. “Make money”? But
seriously, we have to deliver an efficient,
functional
and
customer-friendly
product. Not enough companies do that,
I don’t think.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 29
SPOTLIGHT
THE RISE OF DARK AI
TAJ EL KHAYAT, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR CITRIX MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA, BELIEVES ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE (AI) COULD BE USED AS A POWERFUL TOOL BY CRIMINALS
A
S THE WORLD OF INFORMATION
security becomes more complex, every week brings new announcements and promises in the shape
of machine learning (ML) and artificial
intelligence (AI) research.
Nowhere is the confidence in such technologies stronger than in the UAE, as was
made evident when it designated Omar
Bin Sultan Al Olama, to be its first ever
Minister of State for AI.
The move comes as the nation looks
leverage AI to boost the performance of
several government sectors including
transportation, healthcare, space,
renewable energy and education.
Progress is being made in the field,
as industry professionals have begun
methodically developing more intelligent
algorithms via autonomic means. There
remains an important caveat however,
while these new techniques might be
to our advantage today, they could
very well be used as a powerful tool by
criminals tomorrow.
Thus, we are faced with a pressing
conundrum around next generation
security systems, which is how do we find
the right balance between intelligence
and predictability?
Surely, it’s only a question of time
before we will see the rise of intelligent
attacks – whether it be smart-phishing
(distributing a volume of spam, with
automated spear phishing targeting),
self-sustained hivenets or swarmbots
capable of performing attacks without
any human supervision; or polymorphic
malware that will be continually evolving
during the attack.
Social and ethical challenges faced
by white hat researchers that serve to
slow the overall progress of extreme
30 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
Digital revolution Taj El Khayat, Regional Director for
Citrix Middle East & North Africa
use cases for AI today will not apply
to tomorrow’s attackers and their
methods. Dark AI will not be developed
in a tightly controlled environment, and
development is certainly not going to be
regulated. Building the most effective
(and destructive) artificial intelligence
has higher priority than considering
moral aspects or long-term implications.
Nobody is expecting Dark AI to follow
the three laws of robotics.
You may think that the digital
underground is not capable of producing
advanced algorithms such as those
required by Dark AI. However, modern
malware and ransomware is no longer
developed by small hacker groups –
where a single coder was often tasked
with writing the complete code for
malware kill chain.
Instead today, we have thousands of
marketplaces littered across the Dark
Web where you can buy specialised
components, or shop for the latest
exploits, just as you would for books
or clothes. Typical ransomware now
consists of various third party and open
source modules that are specialized
in encryption/decryption, payments,
command and control infrastructure
and others.
Today, creating complex algorithms is
not simple and requires specific coding
skills, but it is only a matter of time and
money for that matter, before someone
builds a commodity module that will
allow other attackers to compile and use
AI-infused malware.
Large botnets, consisting of hundreds
of thousands of infected machines and
IoT devices, can provide the required
computing power to fuel this next
generation of attacks.
We should realistically expect
algorithmically-enhanced development
in all stages of typical malware attack
– whether it is recon stage, infection,
command and control, expansion or
extortion. With the threat of modularised
and intelligent malware and ransomware
attacks, it is time for enterprises to rip
apart their static security playbook and
implement an adaptive layer of combined
security tools. Companies need to disrupt
or break the cyber kill chain at as many
stages as possible.
Instead of two huge armies that clash
on a battlefield for a single large, decisive
battle, we are going to see hybrid warfare
that will consist of thousands of isolated
incidents and engagements, most of them
without any human supervision.
Orchestration, automation and the
ability to protect all resources using
adaptive security tools is going to be the
future of the digital battlefield, and in
this new age, preparation will prove to
be vital.
AL AHLI BANK OF KUWAIT
AMONGST TOP 10 SAFEST BANKS
IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Simpler Banking
BUSINESS | MALABAR GOLD
32 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
GOING FOR
GOLD
UAE-BASED INDIAN JEWELLERY RETAILER MALABAR GOLD IS NOW BIGGER
THAN TIFFANY’S. THE COMPANY’S MD OF INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS,
SHAMLAL AHAMMED, SAYS THE GOAL IS TO BE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST.
BY SHAYAN SHAKEEL
IFFANY’S WAS NEVER THE BENCHMARK, BUT
IT’S NO LONGER MUCH COMPETITION EITHER
FOR MALABAR GOLD; the latest turnover details released by both
companies show Malabar Gold, which
manages its international operations out
of Dubai, crossed Tiffany and Co, erstwhile the world’s most renowned jeweller,
in terms of sales revenue this year.
It has only taken the company 25 years
to do it. What began in 1993 as a small
shop in Kerala in the south of India,
now counts 215 outlets across in nine
countries across the world, including
nearly all of the GCC and Singapore.
T
THE INTERNATIONAL GAMBLE
Key to new successes internationally
will be tapping into new demographic of
customers. Traditionally, the company’s
strongest market’s have been India and the
South Asian diaspora across the Middle
East that has an affinity for 22ct jewellery.
India, where it has a higher proportion
of outlets, accounts for roughly a third of
the company’s revenue and will continue
being the company’s main focus area. But
by July, the company will begin expanding
across both shores of the Atlantic in the
US and the UK, as well as open new
outlets in other parts of South Asia.
“People in India buy gold jewellery as gifts
and to invest,” says Shamlal Ahammed,
managing director of international
operations –his father, MP Ahammed,
along with a group of investors, founded
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 33
BUSINESS | MALABAR GOLD
Malabar Gold and remains as chairman.
Now the company is experimenting with
other store formats that will attract
buyers from other parts of the world, “who
don’t necessarily purchase gold as an
investment product”.
In the UK for instance, where 18ct gold
is preferred “as an accessory”, Malabar
gold will invest in setting up shop in kiosks
“to attract impulse buyers” he says. “It
wouldn’t make sense to have larger more
expensive stores there.”
The company will follow a similar
strategy in the US, but for a different
reason. “You see buyers across the
spectrum in the US, but they have a
number of other players such as Zales and
Jared which are already established in the
market there. So we’re going to start by
building a presence first.”
Meanwhile in the Gulf, where Malabar
Gold has 112 stores, the company is going
to experiment with a whole other variety
of stores: retaining its high street 22ct
jewellery for the South Asian market,
jewellery stores inside malls for tourists,
and stalls and shops in more traditional
local markets, with 21ct jewellery for the
local demographic as well as other Arabs
such as from the Levant.
“We want to be the world’s number one
jeweller,” says Ahammed, “but we are also
going to remain a mid- to upper-income
jewellery retailer. Any segment higher
has its own established brands. In our
segment we can drive revenues through
minimal margins but higher turnover.
Being number one is all about how fast
you can turn around your inventory.”
LOCAL ADVANTAGE
Becoming the world’s biggest jewellery
retailer doesn’t look like it would be
much of a task for Malabar, given that
the company has opened 212 stories in
just the last 17 years. But it’s a trickier
proposition when you dive into the
details.
“Some people might be surprised to
know that the number one jewellery retailer
34 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
Major Market Malabar Gold has 112 stores
across the GCC out of 215 across the world
in the world is China’s Chow Tai Fook, not
a company in the US or anywhere else.
And that’s because they focus on just the
Chinese market,” says Ahammed. “There
isn’t enough of a vacuum for international
jewellers in China, other than the designer
fashion brands,” he says. “Any other
jewellery product is made by the Chinese
for the Chinese.”
Malabar Gold’s international operations
will go a long way in boosting the company’s
profile. However it has a major ace up its
own sleeve – the world’s second largest
country by population.
With over 1.4 billion people, India is a
$4.51BN
Malabar Gold’s turnover during April
2017 and March 2018
Gold Rush In January, the company opened
11 showrooms across six countries in 24 hours
International chief Shamlal
Ahammed began the company’s
international growth in 2008
major market Malabar wants to further
tap to propel it into pole position among
jewellery retailers in the world. “If we
focused on just India it would happen. Of
course India has mom-and-pop jewellery
stores all over the place, so while we are
buying some of these stores out, despite
a fast pace of growth, we will still look to
expand organically,” says Ahammed.
GOING PUBLIC
Malabar Gold also has another plan to
fast track its climb. By 2020, it will file an
IPO in India and is currently also looking
at exchanges in Dubai and London to dual
“AS LONG AS THERE IS
LOVE AND AFFECTION
IN THE WORLD,
PEOPLE WILL GIVE
GIFTS. AND GOLD
JEWELLERY IS THE
BEST THING THAT YOU
CAN GIFT”
list at. “Our Indian operations will grow
aggressively this year and we will definitely
go for an IPO in India by 2020. But we will
look to dual list and are considering doing
that in either Dubai or London,” he says.
Interest for the IPO shouln’t be an
issue, according to Ahammed. “We
have a different business model. The
family owns 40 percent of the company
while most of our employees have share
options. We partner locally wherever we
grow, and right now there is a waiting list
of over 1,700 investors.”
Few other businesses would have the
optimism that Ahammad shares with
us during the interview. But the reason
behind that is one he says is all due to a
quote his father once shared with him:
“There’s a 5,000 year-old tradition behind
the metal. And my father has always said,
‘As long as there is love and affection in
the world, people will give gifts. And gold
jewellery is the best thing you can gift.’
It’s the perfect combination of sentiment,
tradition and resale value.”
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 35
BUSINESS | RAK TOURISM AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
BY SHAYAN SHAKEEL
PUTTING
RAK
ON
THE
MAP
BY GROWING ITS REPERTOIRE FOR ADVENTURE TOURISM,
HAITHAM MATAR, CEO OF RAK TOURISM AND DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY, IS ON A QUEST TO BRING THE WORLD TO RAS AL KHAIMAH
36 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
efore you joined RAK TDA,
Ras Al Khaimah was a much
sleepier Emirate...
Ras Al Khaimah had a different focus
then, mostly about driving tourism
toward beaches, sun and sand, which
still is a great product offering. There
are great value for money hotels,
fantastic four-star brands as well as
five-star products and they all have
amazing beaches. The beaches of Ras Al
Khaimah are very natural, until today.
You can walk in, pick up some beautiful
shells, see stingrays, starfish, and even
find little baby sharks that are totally
harmless. So the ecosystem is perfect
and the marine life is great, but what we
have to explore more is how to position
Ras Al Khaimah as an emirate that
compliments what other emirates do,
but also attracts travellers today who
are looking for a bit of adventure as well
as culture and history.
B
How are you doing that?
Ras Al Khaimah is the richest emirate
in terms of historical sites. We have
sites that date back over 7,000 years.
Combine that with the highest mountain
in the UAE, at about 2,000 meters high,
and the beautiful desert. If you look at
the desert, the pockets of trees, it just
makes your mind go ‘Wow’. So it’s that
natural terrain that Ras Al Khaimah
has that enable us to position it as the
adventure tourism destination in the
Middle East, as well as a destination
with other assets that span it’s heritage.
What are the tourist numbers showing?
How have they grown?
When I joined, we had 500,000 mostly
domestic UAE tourists coming to Ras Al
Khaimah every year. Now we have a 6040 spread of international to domestic
tourists that will number about a million
by the end of the year. Our strategy
,which we launched in January 2016, is to
have close to three million visitors by the
end of 2025. Of course, that will require
Pristine beaches Ras Al Khaimah boasts
over 64 km of UAE shoreline
more infrastructure developments,
attractions and experiences to offer the
tourists. So we have government entities
working together with the public works
projects with the Municipality of Ras
Al Khaimah, the police, all of us hand
in hand.
a year going down a zipline. So instead
of only two, now a family of four can
ride the zipline together. Also, by the
end of the year, you can expect probably
a whole zipline path with a number
of different lengths ranging from 500
metres to 3km.
Do you have a plan to preserve the
emirate’s natural environment?
None of this will affect Ras Al
Khaimah’s natural environment. We are
working closely with the Department of
Environment to protect the flora and
fauna, including the mangroves and the
flamingoes and others. There is an order
now, for example, where jet skis, and
motor rides are not permitted anywhere
close to these mangroves.
What else can the three million tourists by
2025 expect will be waiting for them after
they have tried the ziplines?
We are just in a process of completing
our hiking and biking routes with a
professional consultancy firm from the
UK, and are in the architectural stage
of completing phase 1 of the hiking
route by the end of this year, with some
fantastic scenery for mountain bikers as
well. Also, one of the best products we
are working on, and which is very close
to my heart, will be the first of its kind in
the region. It’s the luxury camping spot
on the Jebel Jais mountain. This luxury
camp that we are now in the process of
selecting an operator for, is going to be
unique and will offer people the option
of staying overnight in the mountains
after their adventure.
The world’s longest zipline was a major
tourist attraction. Do you have plans to
build on that?
Yes, we are now expanding our zipline
product and introducing two more
ziplines which will be able to take about
400 people a day. That’s 200,000 people
“WITH ALL DUE
RESPECT TO ANY
OTHER DESTINATION.
IT TAKES A LONG TIME
TO DEVELOP TOURISM
FROM ZERO”
How geared towards luxury will Ras Al
Khaimah be in terms of hotel spaces and
developments in the emirate?
It may look like it is a lot, but luxury
is only 10 percent of our inventory,
predominantly with the announcement
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 37
BUSINESS | RAK TOURISM AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
of Ritz Carlton, the Anantara coming
on board, and the Waldorf Astoria. We
have 5,500 rooms in the pipeline but
most of those are four- and five-star
hotel categories.
Hang tight The world’s longest zipline
stretches out 2.8km from the top of the UAE’s
highest mountain, Jebel Jais
How has your marketing budget
changed since you joined in 2016?
Our marketing budget grew 85 percent
until 2017 and will grow a further 30
percent in 2018. Obviously, revenues
have grown even further, but we are
using our budgets to attract travellers
from many parts of the world where they
are interested in what we have to offer.
In Germany, for the first time, you will
see one of the trams decked out in Ras
Al Khaimah branding. Of course, it’s a
trial for us, through one of the agencies
we work including TBWA RAAD, to see
how this translates into value for us. In
Eastern Europe, such as in Poland, and
the Czech Republic where we want to
attract more travellers from, trams are
a very popular mode of transportation.
Branding the trams can give us a lot of
visibility. So we we will continue to look
at more such opportunities.
How is Ras Al Khaimah doing in terms of
attracting business tourists?
Right now, only five percent of our
visitors are business travellers compared
to 95 percent here on leisure. But we are
working on expanding our MICE facilities
and reach. The Arabian Hotel Investment
Conference is one of the biggest we have
had recently. We’ve also managed to
bring in the German Travel Association
which numbered at about 850 delegates.
We’ve had the Indian Travel Association
and Austrian Travel Association all
coming to Ras Al Khaimah with similar
numbers of delegates. And we’ve been
seeing some great product launches in
terms of automotive companies from
Alfa Romeo to Ferrari to Jaguar to Range
Rover ,and they’ve been growing our
numbers in terms of small- to medium
sized meetings.
38 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
Where do you see Ras Al Khaimah
International Airport (RAK) in your
growth plans?
RAK airport is the future, but it is
not central at all for us today. We rely
heavily on Dubai International with
90 percent of our visitors coming
from Dubai and obviously Sharjah
which is only 30-35 minutes away. Our
240%
Growth in RAK Tourism and
Development Authority’s marketing
budget since 2016
Cliff climb The 470m long Via Ferrata comprises
three start and finish climbing points, in addition to three
zip-lines measuring 50m, 60m and 300m
relationship with Emirates, Flydubai
and Air Arabia, has been extremely
beneficial. However, the charters that
we have signed to land in RAK have
helped diversify our markets and
give us a greater reach into Eastern
European countries such as Poland
and the Czech Republic. RAK Airport
is expanding and will be able to
operate in a larger way very soon that
we will need for the future, because
as you know Dubai Airport may move
closer to Abu Dhabi as well.
How do you see the rest of the GCC
countries unfolding their own tourism
plans. There are new airports and
projects, especially along the the Red
Sea coast in Saudi Arabia?
With all due respect to any other
destination,
with
my
humble
experience of bringing tourism into
Ras Al Khaimah, it takes a long time
to develop tourism from zero. I think
Saudi Arabia has great historical sites,
“I AM VERY
PASSIONATE ABOUT
WHAT I DO. AND
THAT MEANS I MAY
SOMETIMES SEEM
PUSHY”
great historical assets and culture,
which I am sure a lot of tourists would
want to see. It’s been closed off from the
world for a long time. So people would
want to see what Saudi is all about. But
I believe there is going to be a high level
of inter-regional Saudi tourism before
they start to be able to tap into tourism
from outside the region.
As the CEO of an inreasingly important
tourism authority in the region, you
straddle boardroom meetings with
crucial decision makers while also being
the first to test new adventure facilities
around the emirate. What does that say
about your management style?
Good question. You should probably ask
my team. One thing about me is that I
am very passionate about what I do. And
that means I may sometimes seem pushy
because I strive for performance and
making things happen. I’m an early riser,
and the days are just never long enough
for me. I want to see great things happen
for Ras Al Khaimah. We have achieved
so much so far, and given the timeframe
we have done it in, it’s testament to
the amount of work the team has put
together, the long hours especially. What
I do know is that it hasn’t been easy. But
then I don’t necessarily believe in good
things coming to you easily.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 39
BUSINESS | UAE MINISTER OF STATE
40 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
MY TIME WITH
SHEIKH
ZAYED
MINISTER OF STATE AND MEMBER OF THE UAE CABINET, HE ZAKI
ANWAR NUSSEIBEH BEGAN HIS CAREER IN THE UAE GOVERNMENT AT
SHEIKH ZAYED’S SIDE AS HIS TRANSLATOR, INTERPRETER AND HIS ADVISOR.
HERE, HE RECOUNTS TO CEO MIDDLE EAST, HOW HE CAME TO MEET THE
FOUNDER OF THE UAE, AND WHAT HE CAME TO LEARN FROM HIM.
FIRST SAW SHEIKH ZAYED IN LONDON IN 1966. I
WAS STILL A STUDENT AT CAMBRIDGE AND MY
FATHER WAS THE JORDANIAN AMBASSADOR IN
LONDON. IT WAS BEFORE SHEIKH ZAYED BECAME THE FOUNDER
OF THE UAE. He was invited to the embassy
for dinner. I met him as a student would
meet a foreign leader, and I had no idea
then that my career and destiny would be
working for him.
In 1967 when I graduated, we had the
Six-Day War and my parents had moved
back to Jerusalem by then. I couldn’t go
back home so I came to Abu Dhabi where
our family had a contracting business, in
order to try and seek a career in a newly
developing city. By that time, Sheikh Zayed
had become the ruler and had opened up
the country in what were the beginnings
of a very grandiose development strategy
that welcomed people from everywhere to
help in the development in the country.
I did not end up settling in any
I
company because it did not appeal to me.
By some accident, I became a journalist
and began meeting people and writing
stories for Reuters and Agence FrancePresse, which is how I met Sheikh Zayed.
Abu Dhabi was a small place and you met
everyone within weeks of arriving.
It was in 1968 that I was asked to
interview him for a British documentary
and to translate his answers. That was the
first formal meeting I had with him in the
Qasr-al-Husun Fort, the ruling house’s
seat of power for 300 years. I interviewed
him, and from that day on, I became
involved with the Abu Dhabi Government
as Sheikh Zayed’s translator, media
officer, eventually director of the press
office of information and as a cultural
advisor. So, my career which continues
until today began with that meeting with
Sheikh Zayed and the opportunity he gave
me to work with him.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 41
BUSINESS | UAE MINISTER OF STATE
Sheikh Zayed took over at a
very critical period, when the British
government withdrew the umbrella of
protection they provided the Gulf. Britain
was tied to the Emirates by a series of
treaties that started in 1820. In 1968, when
they decided that they could not continue
with that role, the Emirates had not
really developed any alternative security
structures such as an army or police forces
to enable them to ensure their stability.
The oil reserves had just been discovered
in a region that was very turbulent, full
of disputes and armed conflict. So it was
at this moment, in 1966, that he became
ruler of Abu Dhabi and took on the vision
that he had carried for some time: uniting
the seven emirates together in a new and
modern state.
In those days, no one believed his
vision was practical or could be realised.
In fact, all the press back then used
to write cynically about the “grand”
objectives of Sheikh Zayed and his idea
that a federation could be built between
emirates that were, for a number of years,
separate and that had disagreements
between themselves. Nobody believed
in it except for him, so it was his mission
to convince everyone that this could be
done. He began by meeting with Sheikh
Rashid of Dubai and the other rulers. But
he also had to convince the public and
the rest of the Arab world which was very
sceptical. The importance of words were
very clear to him when set out to convince
everyone, including the western world.
One of the reasons he succeeded was by
understanding the power of words.
In terms of education, Sheikh Zayed
was taught informally. He was instructed
in the traditional way of the Quran, the
Sharia, and the Prophet’s (pbuh) Sunnah
(method). He also had a love for poetry,
so from early on he started reading about
ancient Arabian heritage, the classical
Arab Diwan (court), and the Mu’allaqat,
which truly is a repository of everything
that the Arab heritage has to give in terms
of wisdom and nobility an honour.
42 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
New energy Sheikh Zayed aroused a lot
of interest in the world when he embarked on
his plans to craft a modern federation of seven
Emirates after he became Ruler of Abu Dhabi in
1966
He was inspired by the stories of the
Prophet (pbuh) and the Arabs and Muslims
of old. I remember travelling with him to
Grenada in Spain and he was looking at the
heritage that the Arabs and Muslims had
left behind in an environment of tolerance
and openness. He wanted to achieve great
things for his people. I never heard the
word impossible from him.
He was an avid reader and learner.
As his responsibilities grew, I would say
he was more disposed to immediate
1971
Year that the seven trucial states
united to form the United Arab
Emirates, five years after Sheikh Zayed
became Ruler of Abu Dhabi
communication, so he’d listen to others
and meet with a wide variety of people
across literature, politics and other
interests. He was keen to discuss and
share opinions with them, so he was able
to learn a lot by meeting people from
every background. He learned from life.
Life and his experiences with others
were his real sources of knowledge. He
also had an innate ability to understand
people. He would need just a few words
from them to be able to pick up what they
wanted to speak about and the direction
their thoughts were going.
When he travelled to the West in the
1950s, Sheikh Zayed came back with big
ideas. Like Peter the Great [who expanded
and modernised the Russian Empire] he
wanted to bring modernity to the region,
and invest in education. So when the
oil revenues began coming in, he put his
plans into action. He was charismatic and
Neighbours and friends
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al
Nahyan of Abu Dhabi with
Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al
Maktoum of Dubai
Remembering Zayed
HE Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh looks at
pictures from the UAE’s past
kind, and believed it was his mission to
help his people use the wealth available to
improve their conditions, raise standards
of living, and also help those around the
region. He felt this way toward any person
or family in need, as well as toward nations
and countries as well. In his first five year
plan from 1968 to 1972, when everything
that is in the Emirates today was missing,
he allocated 10 percent of budget to help
other countries around the UAE. And
until today, the UAE is the world leader in
humanitarian aid.
In the region, he was a traditional
leader who understood the tribes.
They loved him because he was of the
opinion that they retain their heritage
and traditions, but he was also a
contemporary political leader who began
a drive to build modern institutions. But
he had a difficult task.
He knew there were numerous
obstacles, like the trials that all human
beings who are leaders and who have
feelings for others must go through. He
would suffer when he heard of the suffering
of others, whether it was in Lebanon or
Palestine or anywhere in the world, and
it’s why he was always keen to help. Often,
Sheikh Zayed would go to the markets and
buy things en masse from the traders, not
because he needed anything, but would
say that the traders have families and had
come to sell goods to provide sustenance
“IN THOSE DAYS
NO ONE BELIEVED
HIS VISION WAS
PRACTICAL OR COULD
BE REALISED. NOBODY
BELIEVED IN IT
EXCEPT FOR HIM”
to their families. “What would happen if
they weren’t able to sell?” he would say.
An amazing penchant for patience did
not allow him to overreact to the obstacles
that came his way. He was powerful, but
never tried to impose his view on others
or ask any sacrifice of them. He knew it
would take time for people to understand
what he wanted to happen. He didn’t seek
any advantage or want any status in what
he was doing. Instead, he would listen. The
British diplomat Martin Buckmaster, who
once came to Al Ain, wrote in his notes
how “everyone was happy around Sheikh
Zayed despite the harsh conditions they
lived in.”
Undoubtedly all the work did take a
toll on him. Sheikh Zayed was very strong
and robust when he was young. The
historian and traveller Wilfred Thessiger
wrote about how all the bedouins looked
up to Sheikh Zayed because he could “ride
better than anyone on horse or camel
back, and was a good shot as well.” He
was physically strong, but over the years
and toward the end of his life, the meeting
with people and working from dawn to the
early hours of the morning undoubtedly
took a physical toll and meant he did
become unwell.
I miss him. But he is still very much in
our lives and I still often wake up with his
words on my mind, giving me the drive
to go, learn and research and prepare
reports. But he is also still with us; you
can see him in his children in the way
they talk and speak and act.
If there is one thing I wish I could tell
people about him is about his conviction
that we as a human race are one family.
He believed God had put us on this Earth
to work and help each other. He didn’t
believe in differences between people
because of race or creeds. He even used
to say that it was all of God’s design for
us, and that “we should only look at each
other’s deeds.” Aside from his political
and strategic abilities, that I’d say that is
the most enduring lesson he has left for
all of us.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 43
BUSINESS | NETFLIX
THE KING
OF
CONTENT
IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW,
NETFLIX CEO REED HASTINGS
TELLS US THAT THE SECRET TO HIS
COMPANY’S SUCCESS IS SIMPLY
“HAVING GREAT SHOWS”
44 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
Twenty years
later... Netflix began
as a mail order DVD
service in California in
1991. Today it’s worth
over $136 billion
IT WOULD BE FAIR TO SAY THAT NETFLIX’S
CEO, REED HASTINGS, IS A MAN OF FEW
WORDS. But the man who grew a
mail-order DVD business into one of the
only two business models in Silicon Valley
to beat (the other being Uber’s) doesn’t
need to say much. Netflix is now among
the hottest companies in the world, with
a share price that is constantly growing.
Hastings himself is a billionaire nearly
four times over, and his platform is also
a studio, funding productions, hiring actors and in many ways challenging the
traditional way content has always been
consumed: in cinemas or on TV.
Much has been made about the factors behind the company’s success. One
of them is, undoubtedly, the amount of
data at Netflix’s disposal and how granular it can get in terms of what it can glean
from users consuming content on the
platform. With that information, Netflix
can make more accurate bets on what its
customers would want to watch.
However, greenlighting shows isn’t a
matter of incredible complexity it seems;
Hastings himself doesn’t feel the need to
I
greenlight which shows come on the platform: “A lot of our executives do that,”
he told CEO Middle East in an exclusive
interview in Rome last month.
The keys to Netflix’s kingdom, it
seems, rest with its executives. And figuring out which executives man the fort
however is something Hastings made sure
to get right himself. Spelled out in the
company’s ‘Culture Deck’, a set of now
legendary guidelines created by him and
others in 1998, when the company was in
its infancy, are key attributes Netflix looks
for in its employees before it hires them.
If whom Netflix hires meet those criteria,
they are entitled to top grade pay, and as
much time off as they’d like. Provided, of
course they come back with the one demand Netflix has: exceptionall performance.
Those attributes, among others , include: integrity, a constant third to deliver better results, quick decision making and importantly, conciseness. The
result? Well, the term ‘Binging on…’ has
only one solid contender vying for you to
put its name in the blank.
“NOW NO ONE REALLY
JOINS JUST FOR ONE
SHOW. THE AUDIENCES
HAVE BEEN HEARING
ABOUT NETFLIX FOR
A WHILE PERHAPS.
AND THEN THEY WANT
TO GO SEE ONE OF THE
MORE POPULAR SHOWS.
BUT THAT’S JUST THE
TRIGGER THAT GETS
THEM OVER”
Do you consider yourself a technology
guy, an idea guy, or a content guy? What
takes up most of your time?
You know when you look at great companies they combine multiple skills, like
Apple is very good at both fashion and
technology. And what we’re trying to be
is very good at content and technology.
So of course we want the best shows like
The End of the ******* World, Thirteen
Reasons Why, but we also want incredible technology to make it smooth and
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 45
BUSINESS | NETFLIX
New content Netflix is now experimenting with unscripted content
easy to watch those shows on a television or on a phone.
What can you tell us about how data affects what you commission in terms of
the kind of content, and the tone of the
programming?
Not so much tone, but we do get feedback when something is very successful
and what we should do you more of. But
it doesn’t solve the problem. There’s still
a lot of judgment for us on what to do.
Money Heist had a phenomenal reaction
in Saudi Arabia, where the shows fans
turned up at football games dressed as
characters from the show. How can you
capitalise on the sudden viral take-off on
so many of the shows on your platform?
You know, I don’t know whether we
can capitalise on it. It’s really a natural
phenomenon coming out of the show
and the fans will have their authentic
expression in organizing things around
Money Heist and shows like that.
You announced Jinn and another
standup special would be coming to the
Middle East in 2019. What sort of content have you found works in the Middle
East that you’d want to source more of ?
Well we’re looking at many options.
So it’s really great stories that travel and
they could be of many different types.
Does that mean you are also looking to
produce content from budding filmmakers who aren’t able to get their ideas
onto TV for lack of an industry as developed as it is in say Europe?
You know for the first time filmmaker Youtube is probably the best
bet. We’re really focused on professional storytelling. People who
have done many things, who have a
great insight. And so that’s kind of
our specialty. And if we do our part
well then as they get to be successful they too can do these big Netf lix
productions.
46 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
“FOR THE FIRST TIME FILMMAKER YOUTUBE
IS PROBABLY THE BEST BET. WE’RE REALLY
FOCUSED ON PROFESSIONAL STORYTELLING. IF
WE DO OUR PART WELL THEN AS THEY GET TO
BE SUCCESSFUL THEY TOO CAN DO THESE BIG
NETFLIX PRODUCTIONS.”
It’s something that there seems to be a
market for in the region, going by the
number of Youtube subscribers. Is it
something to keep an eye on?
I think we’ll be successful with how
we’re doing it right now because we
keep investing in these local shows
and that helps us connect with people
and grow. We’ve got a new show called
The Rain out of Denmark, for instance,
that’s quite successful in the region
and it’s an example of that. What
we’ve seen is young people watching Netflix shows. Yes, they are also
watching other things that are short
form, but there’s still a taste for real
storytelling. Like Money Heist as we’ve
seen is a great example.
So it’s high-quality content that will remain the growth driver in the company’s
revenues then?
Definitely. Quality content that’s widely
distributed, that’s what helps us grow
and grow. Year after year starting with
House of Cards six years ago we focus on
great content. Now we have The Crown,
13 Reasons Why Stranger Things, Money
Heist. All of those are helping us grow.
Do you consider you might ever need
to take a different path and appeal to
broader audiences in the future in order
to continue growing?
Well we never know for sure. That’s
what makes it exciting. What we can do
is carry the best shows we possibly can
Nailed It, and other shows so we’ll continue to invest in those areas.
Across demographics
Netflix’s catalogue focuses
on movies, TV shows,
documentaries and kid’s titles
What have you found is the secret to retain users on the platform?
We’ve learned that when people use
Netflix a lot and watch a lot then we are
able to retain them as customers. If people stop watching Netflix then they may
decide to cancel. So you need to keep
having great shows, shows that everyone’s talking about.
What do you think of newer viewing
technologies such as VR?
I think VR is really a gaming format for
now, Xbox and PlayStation type usage.
We will focus on movies and TV shows,
and even just making the TV work well.
How much TV do you watch yourself ?
It varies, probably five-10 hours a week.
with movies and documentaries and
kids titles. But by focusing on making
our current members happy is how we
grow really. It’s through word of mouth.
So word of mouth is the essence of the
business model?
Yes, it is fundamental to how we grow
and also retain members.
Stranger Things was a surprise success.
How closely can you predict from the
success of one show how successful
something similar would be?
Stranger things is infinitely valuable. It
is so fantastic it’s such a great show and
it’s really unique because families can
enjoy the show all together. You know
it’s got something for the kids something for the adults. Now no one really
joins the platform for just one show, I
don’t think. The audiences have been
hearing about Netflix for a while perhaps. And then they want to go see one
of the more popular shows. But that’s
just the trigger that gets them over.
Data privacy is a big topic of late. How do
you see what’s going on and how does Netflix work with user data?
Well, we’re very much privacy-centric
and we have been for a long time. We
don’t have any advertising and we don’t
integrate data. We don’t do anything
like that. So it’s just a viewing history
that we rely on, and we keep that very
private.
You’re now starting to get into unscripted content?
We’re just really getting started. It’s
looking very promising so expect more.
We’ve had some great success with
125M
Number of users Netflix has in over 200
countries and territories across the world
except China, Crimea, North Korea and Syria
What’s your favorite show on Netflix?
Maybe Bojack Horseman. It’s Hollywood insider baseball comedy, so, it’s
very clever writing and lot of inside
jokes.
Is it true that you don’t have an office?
I don’t.
How does that work?
I’m travelling around the world so much
that even if I had an office I would never
be in it. So my office is really my laptop.
And it gives me great freedom to work
in in any of our buildings or just on the
road or at home.
Finally, Netflix in the region continues
to operate in an EMEA unit based in the
Netherlands. Do you have plans to split
that into a regional office here?
I imagine that eventually we will have a
Dubai office. Right now it works well to
have everyone together in Amsterdam
where they are all learning from each
other. It may be a few years but I imagine over time that will make sense.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 47
SPOTLIGHT
BLAZING A
TRAIL:
E-COMMERCE
RETAILER
ELABELZ
FAST GROWING E-COMMERCE
RETAILER ELABELZ IS ADDING OVER
350 PRODUCTS TO ITS CATALOGUE
EVERY DAY. CEO AND FOUNDER
NOORULDEEN AGHA SAYS HE IS
LOOKING AT THE MIDDLE EAST’S
TWO FASTEST GROWING MARKETS
TO TAP FUTURE GROWTH.
hat excites you the most about
your job?
I enjoy the essence of branding
and the journey of product design. The
excitement in this is where I get my biggest
joy. I also find exciting seeing the business
change on a daily basis. Most importantly I
enjoy the part when I’m meeting someone
that just joined the team and explaining to
them our vision and what we want to do.
Seeing that excitement in their expressions
at that moment is priceless to me.
W
What is your background?
I started as an oil and gas engineer, then
joined a branding and digital marketing
agency in Dubai called Elephant Nation.
That’s where I was inspired to start a
fashion brand, an idea that became Elabelz.
What is your management style?
Entrepreneurial and very hands-on. For a
fast-growing startup it is important to be
hands on with every little detail until you
are confident about the foundation you’ve
built. Startups are a trial and error game,
so optimisating each process in the early
48 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
Business insight Startups are a trial and error game, says Nooruldeen Agha
BRAND VIEW
stages has a big affect on the outcome of
the business.
great lengths in your startup business. At
least for five years.
How do you encourage decision-making,
particularly creative decision-making in
your organisation?
We are a flat organization and will be for
as long as we can. The biggest decision
we take requires one level of approvals, so
empowerment in the decision is extremely
high within the organisation.
What about your own work life balance?
Anyone looking to achieve big things and
achieve the dream that they have, would
never even think about work life balance.
At every stage in life, you will excel in what
you prioritise in life. The balance comes
in dreams, and the current dreams I have
won’t allow for any balance outside work.
What is the culture at Elabelz like?
I believe we have a very cool culture,
very unofficial. Most of our team is 30
or under, and I am always proudest of
the youngest. I always say, we are group
of young people that never experienced
the conventional work environment. So
without even trying, we have a very unique
working culture.
Any advice for earlier bosses?
Well, my last boss fired me, but in my case,
he fired me to go focus on my business. I
had good bosses in the short two and
a half years of work I did before I start
my own business. Either they were good
bosses or I always knew how to get my way
What do you look for when hiring?
Having the best qualification with the
wrong attitude has absolutely no value to
a company that operates like we do. Its
very hard to teach attitude.
What is an important lesson you have
learned at Elabelz?
Your team is everything. I know people
say that a lot, but honestly no idea is
worth anything without a powerful team.
Secondly, the stakes get higher everyday,
and the fight only gets bigger.
What is some advice you would give to
young entrepreneurs just starting out?
Its a fight for survival more than anything
else. Nothing will go as you expect, almost
everything will shock you.
Enjoy the fight, the reward is only fun
as the fight is tough. One more thing,
please don’t ever think of work life
balance if you want to excel or reach
What is something most people wouldn’t
know about you?
Everyone thinks I wear t-shirts as a
statement, but I actually wear t-shirts
because the fashion brand CREO,
sold on Elabelz, that I founded before
elabelz only produces t-shirts. Since
our first collection thee years ago, it’s
all I have worn.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 49
TALKING BUSINESS
“DONT BE AFRAID TO GIVE UP THE GOOD
AND GO FOR THE GREAT”
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER
“SUCCESS IS NOT FINAL.
FAILURE IS NOT FATAL.
IT IS THE COURAGE
TO CONTINUE
THAT COUNTS”
WINSTON S. CHURCHILL
“THERE ARE TWO
TYPES OF PEOPLE WHO
WILL TELL YOU THAT
YOU CANNOT MAKE A
DIFFERENCE IN THIS
WORLD: THOSE WHO
ARE AFRAID TO TRY AND
THOSE WHO ARE AFRAID
YOU WILL SUCCEED”
RAY GOFORTH
NOT TO
BECOME A MAN
OF SUCCESS.
RATHER
BECOME A MAN
OF VALUE”
ALBERT EINSTEIN
“SUCCESS
USUALLY
COMES TO
THOSE WHO
ARE TOO
BUSY TO BE
LOOKING
FOR IT”
HENRY DAVID THOREAU
“WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO GIVE YOU A FORMULA FOR SUCCESS? IT'S
QUITE SIMPLE, REALLY: DOUBLE YOUR RATE OF FAILURE. YOU ARE
THINKING OF FAILURE AS THE ENEMY OF SUCCESS. BUT IT ISN'T AT
ALL. YOU CAN BE DISCOURAGED BY FAILURE OR YOU CAN LEARN
FROM IT, SO GO AHEAD AND MAKE MISTAKES. MAKE ALL YOU CAN.
BECAUSE REMEMBER THAT'S WHERE YOU WILL FIND SUCCESS”
THOMAS J. WATSON
“THE ROAD TO SUCCESS AND THE
ROAD TO FAILURE ARE ALMOST
EXACTLY THE SAME”
COLIN R. DAVIS
“I OWE MY SUCCESS TO HAVING LISTENED RESPECTFULLY TO THE VERY
BEST ADVICE, AND THEN GOING AWAY AND DOING THE EXACT OPPOSITE”
G. K. CHESTERTON
50 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
PLEASURE
HOSPITALITY
2.7M
MAN HOURS DEDICATED TO
RENOVATING THE CRUISE-LINER INTO
A PERMANENTLY DOCKED HOTEL
Crown jewels The gems in the crown are the two Royal Suites named after the Queen’s mother and grandmother offering a private veranda, conservatory and dining room
WORLD’S MOST
FAMOUS SHIP
OPENS
DOORS
SOFT LAUNCH WILL SHOWCASE ORIGINAL
RESTAURANTS THE CHART ROOM, THE
GOLDEN LION, THE PAVILION, LIDO, THE
GRAND LOUNGE AND THE YACHT CLUB
head of its grand launch in October, the Queen Elizabeth 2 is
welcoming passengers on board to experience a selection of
beautifully restored rooms and suites as part of phase one of the opening.
The world’s most famous cruise-liner, QE2 is now docked
permanently at Mina Rashid and is managed by PCFC Hotels – part of
the Dubai government’s Ports, Customs and Free Zones Corporation.
The 13-deck hotel has been restored to her former glory –
maintaining her most loved interior design features - including her
period furniture, renowned paintings and famous memorabilia. The
original porthole windows still add a maritime feel to the attractive
modernized guest rooms and a number of her original restaurants
have retained the same names and décor as her former years.
A
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 51
MICROSOFT’S
BEST PC YET?
Next generation mobile computing Microsoft’s Surface Range all have touch screens and come equipped with Surface Pen functionality – meaning you can write on the screen
CLUB
SURFACE
MICROSOFT’S SURFACE RANGE IS DOING MORE FOR PORTABLE COMPUTERS THAN ANY DEVICE SINCE
THE MACBOOK AIR. THE SURFACE COLLECTION NOW ENCOMPASSES THE SURFACE PRO TABLETS THAT
COME WITH ATTACHABLE TYPE COVERS, WORK HORSE SURFACE BOOK WITH A GRAPHICS CARD, SURFACE
STUDIO, MICROSOFT’S ANSWER TO THE IMAC, AND THE ALL NEW SURFACE LAPTOP. ALL COME WITH
TOUCH SCREENS AND PEN USABILITY. BUT WHICH DEVICE IS THE BEST FOR BUSINESS?
52 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
CEO’S VERDICT: THE SURFACE LAPTOP
We tried every device in the Surface range before we decided there isn’t one answer for all. Those that users on the look out
for a lightweight device to watch media or jot notes on won’t even feel the Surface Pro in their bags. The Surface Book on the
other hand is a beast at handling graphics intensive tasks on the move – if you can bear with lugging around at least a couple
extra pounds. The Surface Studio is a feat of engineering, but for professionals demand the most intricate experience in a
fixed environment. Lastly, the Surface Laptop is for those that prefer a traditional laptop experience but yearn for all the bells
and whistles a new era of computing devices offer.
CEO’s Pick: Instead of offering it’s own advantage, the Surface Laptop excels in areas where the other devices are deficient,
and thus is the only device giving the Macbook a run for its money. More powerful than a similar weighted Apple equivalent,
it allows for a touch screen experience, and you can use the Surface Pen on its screen as well. But unlike the Pro, you won’t
need to stress the calves to make up for ‘lappability’ or feel the weight of it while queing at airports as you would with the
Surface Pro. It’s also the mos gorgeous device of the range, to put it mildly. If you can handle Windows 10, which is possibly
Microsoft’s best OS yet, but still not as intuitive as Apple’s OS X, this is the laptop you should get.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 53
style
BECAUSE CLOTHES MAKETH THE MAN (AND WOMAN)
BUTTON UP:
HOW TO WEAR YOUR SHIRTS IN 2018
Custom-made retail house Bombay Shirt Company is redefining bespoke shirts with young, hip and
trendy designs. The style element can make or break look, but what are the three important aspects
to keep out for this year? Fabric, fit and design. The experts behind the tailoring firm provide their insights on how to match them to your body type, occasion and most importantly in the region: weather.
54 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
Redefine bespoke
Bombay Shirt Company’s
style insights include how
to tackle the weather
style
MAN
SUMMER READY FABRIC:
Tencil kills two birds with one stone. The fabric is made of
plant fibers so is both eco-friendly and ultra-soft. For the
travelling businessman, it is also wrinkle resistant, giving
a great fall and fit. Pair a white tencil shirt with almost
any suit. Looking for more bold options? Go for twill and
fil-a-fil fabrics light fabrics in daring houndstooth, which
comes in a variety of colors to choose from at Bombay.
The fabrics work best with formalwear as it has structure
and texture to give a nice, crisp look. Another popular
summer fabric is poplin, which is light and durable,
thought it does tend to wrinkle. If worn in stripes, checks
or prints, however, it works well with camouflaging the
wrinkles.
KEEP IT FIT:
What Bombay does best is combine old school tailoring finesse with
modern technology to create shirts designed to fit precisely your
body type. Their master tailors measure up clients while keeping
their preference of slim or regular fit in mind. So the first aspect of a
good fitted shirt? The shoulders; as it emphasises the body structure
the most. But collars are also of key importance. A thin hipster or
Bandhgala collar are for those with shorter necks, while a broader
Polo or Club collar suits those with longer necks. For a slim face, opt
for a wider option such as a Spread collar; a good choice when paired
with a Windsor knot in the tie.
To detract from a rounder face, try a Prince Charlie collar. It makes
the face appear slimmer and sharper. Pay attention to the bottom of
shirts, too. To hide unwanted bulge, opt for a round bottom cut, which
looks good with the shirt left untucked. A tail, on the other hand, helps
keep the shirt tucked for longer hours.
DESIGN:
Designs such as tropical prints are perfect for a casual evening.
Pair them with chinos or linen pants or shorts. If your goal is to
achieve a slimmer look, look for a thin pin striped shirt with solid
color pants. Japanese cotton with earthy tones and linens in bright
hues are also summer favorites. Denim shirts with a contrasting
collar and cuff with an elbow patch adds a unique design element.
For collar designs, consider The Prince Charlie, Polo and Spread
collars for a formal event. An unconventional Ozwald Boateng is
great for a classy evening dinner whereas the Evil Pandit rocks a
casual look.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 55
style
MAN
PAY TRIBUTE TO TRADITION THIS
RAMADAN WITH FINE ORIENTAL STYLE
Welcome the Holy Month with Mouawad’s luxury accents for the Arabian gentleman
Embrace heritage and tradition with oriental style designed by luxury Swiss-Emirati jewellery and
watch house Mouawad. Pair a Kandura with traditional misbahas, or prayer beads, with masterfully
crafted cufflinks and rings, often set with diamonds and coloured gemstones, to complement a
gentlemanly distinction.
Leverage decades of Mouawad’s watchmaking history with its signature Grande Ellipse timepiece
boasting contemporary styles and sheer functionality. Merging clean, sophisticated lines with athletic
looks, it features fine, durable materials. Grande Ellipse models have been particularly favoured by
renowned global figures.
As a subtle tribute to tradition, Mouawad artisans also craft elegant prayer beads from 18-karat gold
and adorn them with diamonds and coloured gemstones, emanating poise and nobility. Match a pair
of intricately-designed cufflinks and statement rings for special gatherings and occasions.
Mouawad is led by fourth-generation co-guardians Fred, Alain, and Pascal Mouawad, as the family
business continues to manufacture, design and sells its own exclusive jewellery and timepiece collections ranging from boutique to bespoke lines. The 128-year-old brand holds the Guinness World
Records for the most valuable jewellery box in the world at $3.5 million. It also received the world
record for the most expensive diamond necklace at $55 million and handbag at $3.8 million several
years back.
56 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
Divine elegance
Emirati-inspired misbahas, or prayer
beads, handcrafted with infinite
attention to detail
style
MAN
Refined heritage
Traditional refined misbahas,
or prayer beads, for a touch of
heritage
Cuff couture
18k white, gold and rose cuff links
inlayed with signature black onyx
and diamonds
Wrist worthy
A timeless blend of Swiss horology
and graceful Arabian designy
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 57
A
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28 R N O
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FRAGRANCE
THE SCENT C
OF THE
MONTH
ock an eyebrow at Hugo Boss why
not, and while there’s much debate
about it’s luxury status, there isn’t
any about its enduring legacy as a classic
masculine fragrance.
Make an impact this month with
a powerful fragrance that
deserves attention
58 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2016
The Scent for men (the limited
edition comes in a black bottle
and box) is perfectly suited for
the summer. Hugo Boss calls it “a
darker and more powerful version
of the original” and we’re loathe to
disagree. Ginger, lavender, patchouli
mint and leather might seem familiar
to wearers of the original but its the
notes of maninka fruit which keep
the scent fresh. It’s meant to evoke
“personal magnetism” according to
makers of the scent, a new addition
to the other three that have defined
‘Boss Men’ for decades.
SPECIAL
FEATURE
ONE STEP AHEAD
FROM DIGITAL MARKETING TO BLOCKCHAIN, MEMMOS MANAGING DIRECTOR MATTHIAS MENDE IS SEEING LIMITLESS OPPORTUNITIES IN TECH
S
INCE HIS LAUNCH OF DUBAI-BASED
the essence of the brand is and who the
end user is, then choose an influencer
that matches both, so they are
eventually able to achieve the ultimate
goal of being brand ambassadors.
marketing firm MEMMOS
in 2011, managing director
Matthias “Sheikh” Mende has harnessed
the power and reach of social media to
help brands in the UAE connect with
their customers – new and old.
Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE and Mercedes
Benz are just two of the companies to
have benefitted. Mende hasn’t stopped
there. As strategic partner at blockchain
consultancy Block Gemini, he is now
eager to grab more of the digital pie.
He tells CEO Middle East how he always
wants to be one step ahead.
Online marketing is a crowded space,
so how do you stand out?
We are transparent and straightforward.
We thoroughly analyse the brands we
work with and convey the advantages
and drawbacks before expressing our
vision on how to grow them.
But competition in the region allows
us to show our attention to detail, which
plays a big role in helping our clients
become leaders in their industries. We
listen to our users, anticipate their needs
and take immediate action.
What were some of your most successful
campaigns?
We worked with the Demind Investment
Group, which boasts brands such as
Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE and Bistrot
Bagatelle, for which we were successful
in reinventing the culture of modern
partying and dining.
Another is Thai Airways UAE, for
which we used distinctive features of
Thai culture and etiquette to present a
Given that the market is often perceived
as fickle, what are some of the challenges
you come across?
The biggest challenge is to stand
out among competing campaigns,
especially as the digital market is
booming in the UAE. But because
it is highly competitive, clients often
have to invest much larger amounts to
achieve good returns on investment
compared to other countries.
Building Blockchain MEMMOS see cryptocurrencies in
the same light as the stock market, says Matthias Mende
vivid depiction of experiences in
the country.
How has the rise of social influencers
impacted your approach? Are they a key
component or passing phase?
They have definitely impacted our
approach to social media. While
we successfully helped brands via
influencers, we have learned that not
everyone who has a large following will
actually add value to a brand or increase
its market presence. Some social
influencers do have key components, but
that depends on how they present and
deliver brand messages.
You need to have a good eye and
measure what a market wants to see.
The quantity of appearances doesn’t
guarantee an increase in a brand’s
presence. It’s important to know what
Given you are now a partner at
blockchain consultancy Block
Gemini, what are your forecasts for
cryptocurrencies for the remainder
of 2018 after a tricky Q1?
We see cryptocurrencies in the same
light as the stock market. It is not about
short term predictions and projects but
the long run and a secure outcome.
The fact of the matter is, crypto is
here to stay, and blockchain is here
to innovate industries and ultimately
change the world.
Once blockchain solutions get
implemented in huge enterprises
and industries, then surely those
will improve because processes will
be exponentially accelerated and
productivity will increase. My tip is, if
you see any company which implements
blockchain solutions, then you should
see their stock prices shooting up
within months.
MARCH 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 59
CEO APPROVES
LEMON PEPPER RESTAURANT AT M HOTEL DOWNTOWN DUBAI
MID-MARKET CHIC IS A NEW HOSPITALITY CONCEPT IN DUBAI, something M Hotel Downtown
Dubai is on a tireless quest to conquer. Surrounded by all things ultra luxury,
the hotel’s chief restaurant, Lemon Pepper, might lack the zest of others in its
vicinity but makes up for it with simple, quiet, class. The menu is diverse and
adequate, ambience offers plenty of light with floor to ceiling windows and the
staff are attuned to the motivations of a business audience. Lemon Pepper is a
Downtown Dubai surprise in more ways than one.
Each issue we bring you the finest products and experiences in the world.
60 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
HUBLOT
FIRST, UNIQUE, DIFFERENT
Last month, with 60 days to go before the FIFA World Cup begins, Hublot joined
with its UAE partner Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons to bring together friends of the
brand and regional players for a Match of Friendship.
True to its motto “First, Unique, Different”, Hublot invited Brand
Ambassador Pelé to coach his first football team in Dubai, for this game
held at the spectacular Dubai Opera Hanging Garden. Friend of the Brand,
Marcello Lippi, managed the opposing team.
The match time was kept by the newly launched Big Bang Referee 2018
FIFA World Cup Russia smart watch. There are some sporting moments
in history that live on forever and Hublot knows as well asn anyone how to
create these moments.
“We are happy to kick off here in Dubai, the countdown to this summer’s
tournament. We share with Hublot and our customers a passion for both
watches and football, and this is a great way to unite those two worlds,”
said Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Vice Chairman, Seddiqi Holding.
“We are as thrilled as our customers to have lived this unique experience
which was infused with FIFA World Cup fever,” added David Tedeschi,
Regional Director Hublot Middle East & Africa.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 61
VIEW FROM THE TOP
BULGARI BUILDS
BRIDGES BETWEEN
FINE JEWELLERY
AND WATCHMAKING
WORLDS
Guido Terreni, Global Head of the Watch Business at Bulgari, has spent 20 years working
in the shadow of the company’s much larger
jewellery business. Rob Corder spoke to Terreni ahead to find out how 2018’s watches
will take that mission forward.
You’ve been with Bulgari Horlogerie
for almost two decades. How has the
company’s approach to watchmaking changed over that time?
We are living in a very dynamic era and
we have the chance to live huge changes,
both externally and internally. During this
century, we witnessed a macroeconomic
shift of purchasing power from the West to
the East. China, from basically not being
on the radar 15 years ago, is now the first
customer nationality of the watch industry, and the highest in its average ticket.
Furthermore, the Chinese evolved the sophistication of their taste in a very short
time. It is difficult to cope with such important changes because you need to protect
the identity of the brand and paradoxically
be even more true to yourself, if you don’t
want to get lost in translation. Internally we
built a very compelling watch assortment
strongly anchored into the brand values.
We developed an in-house manufacture
at the highest level of competence, able,
among other achievements, to create the
world records in the world of ultra-thin
watches.
What have been the key landmarks
over the years that have defined the
direction of Bulgari?
62 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
Three clear strategic moves. First, we
focused our offer around fewer symbols
deeply rooted in the brand DNA: Serpenti
(launched in 2010), Octo (2012) and Lvcea (2014). Secondly, we tripled our average price point to bring the brand in the
core of the watchmaking arena, developing our gold product assortment and
increasing the technical content of our
watches. Last, but definitively not least,
we created an integrated manufacture
able to master the watchmaking savoirfaire at the highest levels in cases, dials
and movements, from our base calibre
born in 2013, the Finissimo movements
with its three world records in 2014, 2016
and 2017.
What advantages does your heritage
and strength in fine jewellery bring
to the watch business?
We look at a watch in a different way than
the Swiss. Aesthetics drive all our choices
and the technical side is at the service
of this culture. On ladies, we do not conceive a watch by simply downsizing a
man’s watch, but we create a design from
scratch, which is meant to adorn a lady’s
wrist. The Serpenti is the most evident and
successful exercise. On the gent’s side,
we get to levels of detail that are unprecedented. I would take the Octo Finissimo
bracelet as an example. We patented a
unique way of including the deployment
buckle into the 2.5mm thick bracelet to
have an invisible and slim fit on the wrist. A
very simple idea that nobody ever thought
about, which allows the closure of the
bracelet to be thinner than the watch head
itself. We went to this level of exigence
because we didn’t like the fact that the
bracelet would have been thicker than the
watch-head itself.
How much significance does the Bulgari watch business have within the
overall Bulgari maison?
We are the second business of the company, and in my opinion, notwithstanding
the growth we are experiencing versus the
industry, still the one more distant from its
maximum potential.
What are Bulgari’s strategic objectives for 2018?
We continue to develop our symbols
that are very new. Aside from Bulgari
Bulgari born in the mid-1970s, and Serpenti in the late 1940s, Octo and Lvcea
are respectively only six and four years
old only. We compete with watches that
have over 100 years of history, so we
have just started!
BULGARI
THE TRIO
BULGARI AT BASELWORLD
Divas’ Dream
A high jewellery collection described as the epitome of refined
elegance, combining artistic crafts with horological complications; Serpenti’s snake theme, symbolising eternal renewal; and
the Octo men’s line plays with a range of materials in order to
confirm its stature as a supremely contemporary watch.
Serpenti
Adamavi additions
Adding to its successful Adamavi collection, Carl F. Bucherer
has announced nine new modelsin three different sizes. The
collection’s name is derived from the Latin word adamare,
which means “to come to love something” or “to take pleasure
in something.” A perfect name for a collection that combines
timeless and pure elegance with reliable mechanics.
Watchmaking skills, technical innovations, and continuity have
kept the 130-year-old family business among the leading lights
of the industry. And with the timeless design of these pieces,
the Adamavi collection exhibits this philosophy of striving to
preserve things of a proven value. And the best way to ensure
that is to create a simple, timeless and elegant design, which is
once again witnessed here.
Bulgari says the snake has shed its skin in a sleek watch and bracelet
made from black or white. Alongside gold and leather versions of the
Serpenti, the ceramic models are an interesting contrast. The watches
are worn on Serpenti Spiga coils that wrap twice around the wrist.
Cartier and Mr Porter
Octo
Bulgari’s Octo has been setting world records in recent years for
its ultra-slim form, but this year the Roma collection looks far
more commercial thanks to a range of new colours and styles.
The ecomms fashion platform is continuing its move into
fine watches by partnering with Cartier, to launch a curated
selection of seven timepieces across the brand’s Santos de
Cartier timepiece collection, including one exclusive strap
only available at Mr Porter. Available now from mrporter.com,
the partnership brings together two global brands that share
a vision of contemporary luxury, elegance and style, excellent
service, and digital innovation.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 63
PLEASURE | BREITLING
A NEW ERA
FOR DECADES, BREITLING HAS BEEN
WATCHMAKING’S RICHEST AVIATION TRADITION.
NOW, CEO GEORGES KERN WANTS THE BRAND TO
EXPLORE NEW FRONTIERS
64 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
T WAS THE BIGGEST NEWS IN THE WORLD HOROLOGY
LAST YEAR; after over a decade and a half
turning IWC Schaffhausen into an
industry powerhouse, and serving as it’s youngest
CEO, Georges Kern would join Breitling.
It’s been nine months for Kern in his new
role as CEO, and shareholder, at the Swiss
watchmaker known for it’s masculine aviation
tradition. CEO Middle East was invited to
the company’s Zurich Roadshow as well as
the edition in Dubai where he, along with new
creative director Guy Bove, outlined how the 134
year old brand will scale new heights, and in the
process, transform, possibly entirely.
Some of those transformations have already
made themselves evident: Breitling has dropped
the wings that came with its logo heralding its move
into a direction that will see it cater to professionals
and enthusiasts across “Air, Land and Sea”. Kern
has also introduced a new squad concept to help
bring the brand to target audiences within those
I
“IT IS BASICALLY WHAT THE
BRAND STOOD FOR OVER A
HUNDRED YEARS YET FOR
SOME REASON THE BRAND
STARTED TO PRODUCE ONLY
PILOT’S WATCHES”
arenas. And what might be most interesting is that
Breitling will also actively target an audience that
includes “strong, confident women.”
Can you tell us about the new boutique in Dubai
Mall, your second at the same venue, and why
Breitling is also opening an office in the city?
We need to be much closer to the clients than
we are today. You cannot run this region, the
complexity of it, the diversity of it, out of
Switzerland, it’s impossible. We have been doing
very well, that is right, we have our partners, and
they are very motivated, but I think especially
now with this transformation process, we need to
be here in this region. We need people speaking
the language, and we need a team of marketers
and digitally minded people who can help in the
implementation of our new communication, and
our new concepts and thinking.
You are also adjusting the Breitling positioning
from being a brand that catered purely to
aviation, now you are getting land, sea and air
together on this one brand?
That’s true, but it’s not an innovation. It is
basically what the brand stood for over a hundred
years, yet for some reason the brand started to
produce only pilot’s watches. This is why we
were having these travel exhibitions, because
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 65
PLEASURE | BREITLING
“THERE ARE MANY
MORE THINGS TO SAY
BEYOND AVIATION, BUT
OF COURSE, AVIATION
WILL REMAIN THE MAIN
PILLAR OF OUR BRAND”
when you look into the history you see
all the elegant watches Breitling did in
the past, with the Premier and the Top
Time range, and the diving watches.
The Super Ocean Heritage which is one
of our most successful lines is a diving
watch. So there are many more things
to say beyond aviation, but of course,
aviation will remain the main pillar of
our brand.
Now we have heard about Scott
Carpenter, the first man to wear a 24
hour dial, a Breitling, in space, but can
you run us through a few others who
have famously owned Breitling in the
past?
Yes, the brand was very glamorous
in the 80s and 90s, very strong in
France. Don’t ask me why, I don’t
know, I observed it when I started my
career with Tag Heuer, we were very
jealous about Breitling. Many actors
like Yves Montand, singers like Serge
Gainsbourg, jazz legend Miles Davis
were wearing it. Breitling was also
part of the James Bond movies. So
the brand had this glamour, and I
think we need to come back to this,
and also work was here and there if
needed with some celebrities.
You’re renowned for employing
celebrity endorsements. Are you going
to use them again to boost Breitling?.
I think the most important thing in
the new advertising campaign is to
be authentic. Who ever is featured in
the campaign in whatever field, and
we won’t simple be limiting ourselves
66 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
to acting – it could be water sports,
automotive sports, music, or arts – that
person has to be authentic. In some
cases you will recognise the face because
its a celebrity, but in most of the cases
you will not know the face but can rest
assured that that the specific person is
number one in their field of expertise.
So much so that the people who are
from that community will say “Wow”.
You mentioned earlier that Breitling
will have a greater Asia focus. How
crucial is Dubai to that?
Dubai is a very important market for
many reasons. It’s a mature market.
It’s a market which is divided in
three categories: locals, expats, and
tourists. This is great because you
constantly have a new customer
base, especially with the expats and
the tourists coming from China and
elsewhere. But also, the locals are very
mature and very educated. Of course
they have phenomenal boutiques at
their disposal, because they are sitting
in an environment with the best malls
in the world. They like to buy the latest
New Classic Breitling’s first range under
Georges Kern is the Navitimer 8 collection featuring
the inhouse B01 chronograph movement, 43 mm in
diameter, and pictured here in in 18 k red gold with a
bronze dial and a brown alligator leather strap
Campaign speak Georges Kern is calling
Breitling’s new direction “legendary future”
Celebrity endorsements Breitling’s new
‘squads’ will include actors Brad Pitt and Kate Upton
products, so its a very very strong
market, its a strongly growing market.
And its a kind of light house market,
we see immediately the impact of our
products and the success. So we love
it here.
Field experts Others in Breitling’s squad
include British environmentalist David de Rothschild
and Australian surfer Stephanie Gilmore
Finally, besides watches what other
luxury items di you spend your time
and money on?
Clothes, I like fashion. I love shoes, I
think I have more shoes than my wife;
I like vintage cars, that’s it and I think
that’s sufficient to spend money on.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 67
FIVE STAR
STAY
Home stay The Hilton Resort and Spa is perfect families looking to make a break from the buzz
IDYLLIC
ESCAPE
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THE IDEAL FAMILY GETAWAY THE HILTON RESORT
AND SPA WILL LEAVE YOU WISHING YOU HAD BOOKED FOR LONGER
BY SHAYAN SHAKEEL
espite its proximity to Dubai–
only an hour long hop away–
Hilton Resort and Spa is best
described as an escape more
than a retreat, and one families will have
a hard time wanting to check out of.
Opened to the public in 2009, the
Resort hides Ras al Khaimah’s longest
private hotel beach. A kilometre and a half
of coastline curves around the clear blue
Arabian Gulf, creating a cove lined with
private villas and fenced with deck chairs
on the beach. Combined with manicured
lawns and palm tree shaded walkways
the entire resort gives off an upscale
neighbourhood vibe that would make any
family relish home away from home.
If you’d rather lounge in a pool than
at the beach, the resort has more square
meters devoted to its pools than any
other we could name off the top of our
heads, some even just for adults, while
the kids take turns jumping off the water
slides into their own. There’s even a bar
where you can get served while still in,
D
Family friendly— Modern and family friendly, the hotel’s
sprawling pools and beach mean there are plenty of places to
lie down and relax
68 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
just in case the day demands a cool one.
There’s plenty more to do at the
Resort. Watersports are a major draw
and jet ski rentals as well as parasailing
and other activities are easily arranged
right on the beach. They’re right next to
the football and volleyball fields where
you’ll find it easy enough to make room
for two, four or even more.
If you fancy a day at the spa, the
resort has an army of professional staff
able to cater to a range of treatments–
use of the jacuzzi, sauna and steam
rooms are on the house.
The hotel’s dining options don’t
disappoint. Those in for half-board
enjoy a wide range of options for
breakfast and dinner at Maarid, while
we’d also recommend the churrasco at
pura vida, ideal for carnivores.
CEO tip: Opt to stay in the villas.
The beach front and pool views are
unbeatable, as is the privacy. And you
can always call for a quick buggy ride to
anywhere on the premises.
TUESDAY 9TH OCTOBER
DUBAI, UAE
THE 12TH ANNUAL
AVIATION BUSINESS AWARDS
RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN THE AVIATION
save the date
FOR MORE INFORMATION
VISIT: WWW.AVIATIONBUSINESSME.COM/AWARDS
GOLD SPONSOR
SPONSORSHIP ENQUIRIES
Alyssa Bernkrant
Sales Manager
Telephone: +971 4 444 3377
Email: alyssa.bernkrant@itp.com
CATEGORY SPONSORS
NOMINATION ENQUIRIES
EVENT ENQUIRIES
Alexander Sophoclis Pieri
Sophie McHugh
Editor, Aviation Business
Telephone: +971 4 444 3305
Email: alexander.pieri@itp.com
Event Manager
Direct: +971 4 444 3223
Email: sophie.mchugh@itp.com
TABLE BOOKINGS
Teri Dunstan
Table Sales Executive
Direct: +971 4 444 3227
Email: teri.dunstan@itp.com
LIFESTYLE | MANDARIN ORIENTAL SINGAPORE
“Despite the wealth of facilities on
offer, it’s hard not be drawn back
to the the comfort of the room, to
gaze out over the marvel that is
Singapore’s Marina Bay”
LUXURY
ON
THE
BAY
AS LUXURIOUS A FIVE-STAR HOTEL AS YOU’RE LIKELY TO FIND ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD THE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL SINGAPORE, MAKES THE MOST OF ITS PRIME MARINA BAY LOCATION
70 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
SINGAPORE
A
BY PETER IANTORNO
Contemporary style that inspires
The Mandarin Oriental Singapore is the
ideal luxurious environment to work,
dine and relax in the city
S THE ADAGE GOES, IT’S BETTER TO LIVE ACROSS FROM A LANDMARK
THAN BESIDE IT, IF YOU WANT THE VIEW. This certainly applies
to the Mandarin Oriental Singapore. Boasts prime
location right on the Marina Bay Promenade, its rooms
offer unbeatable views of the city’s landmarks.
It’s a massive selling point for any hotel, and the
hotel’s rooms immediately draw attention to the floorto-ceiling windows, which not only afford an expansive
view, but also allows light to flood in, perfect if you’re in
for bright, open and airy.
It’s only when the heavy velvet curtains are drawn
that the exquisite detailing of the room itself becomes
apparent. The neutral colour palette of cream, grey and
beige on the walls, carpet and furnishings is calming
feel, while splashes of red and green in the artwork, and
crisp white bed linen bring the room to life.
As you’d expect from the Mandarin Oriental,
only the highest standard materials would suffice.
The carpets with oriental motif are soft and lush; the
bathrooms are granite-clad complete with woodappointed vanity area.
In the vicinity of the hotel lies the city’s financial hub,
a stone’s throw from the Suntec Singapore International
Convention & Exhibition Centre. It’s ideal for business
travellers, and for moments where time for leisure can
be made, the hotel is also mere minutes away from the
Singapore Flyer, Esplanade Theatre and Marina Square
Mall, which is packed with luxury boutiques.
As well as an impressive 527 rooms and suites,
five top-class restaurants, two lounges and extensive
meeting and banqueting facilities, the hotel boasts
a serene spa that serves as a much-needed escape
for travllers weary of meetings and conferences in a
city thriving with activity. Yet despite the wealth of
facilities on offer throughout the property, including a
terrace ideal for al fresco relaxation, it’s hard not be
drawn back to the the comfort of the room, to recline
in the armchair and gaze out over the marvel that is
Singapore’s Marina Bay.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 71
CELEBRATION
BRUNCH
Fresh and contemporary Every season Carnival by Tresind’s chefs reinvent the menu
CARNIVAL
BY
TRESIND
DIFC
THE DELIGHTFUL DIFC BRUNCH SPOT OUT TO REINVENT INDIAN AND SOUTH
ASIAN CUISINE IS THE IDEAL PLACE TO CELEBRATE A WIN
H
ave the last six months of your life culminated in a signed deal? That
obtuse client finally rolled over and
agreed to your terms? It seems a celebration is in order.
Brunch is certainly the Dubai way to
celebrate, but if you’re up for more than
the usual celebratory fare, Carnival by
Tresind is out to prove not all brunches
were created equal.
Amid chic, contemporary interiors,
staff at the restaurant’s outlet in DIFC–
72 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
the second after Tresind at Nassima
Royal in Dubai–will lay out and prepare
a range of bite and bowl sized creations;
two hours into brunch, after rounds of
Hawaiian Beef kebab, Dosa Crepe’s,
and Paneer Kadai, is when you’ll realise
you’ve only just breached the the starters! There’s a whole assortment of main
courses to follow, each one prepared to
outdo the other.
We spoke with the restaurant’s
chefs, Himanshu Saini and Vinu
Raveendran after the extravaganza
that was our afternoon, and they told
us how they come up with ‘seasons’ for
the menu: every few months with a new
tweak here and a revamp there they redefine old Indian and South Asian classics. Pani Puri pizza? Mushroom biryani? Butter chicken soup? There isn’t
anything on the menu that isn’t ready to
tantalize the taste buds and excite the
senses all while making you take notes
at the very many ways old fan favorites
can be turned into fresh fusion hits.
CEO Tip: Make sure to try Carnival
by Tresind’s latest season. Inspired by
all things from the age of empires and
colonies it’s sure to bring a whole new
take on much more than the curry.
BUSINESS
LUNCH
Light and right Roberto’s business lunch is a gourmet dining experience that will leave you with a spring in your step after
AWARD WINNING EXCELLENCE:
ROBERTO’S
DIFC’S AWARD WINNING ITALIAN RESTAURANT HAS MUCH TO LIVE UP TO.
AND IT CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
ocated within Dubai’s DIFC, Roberto’s is
surrounded by offices and art galleries
and is thronged by the area’s well-heeled movers and shakers. But it doesn’t just belong in the
area, it sets the bar.
L
You wouldn’t even know this
restaurant was Italian were it not
for the name and the menu. A nogimmicks only elegance ambience
accompanies traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine, featuring “the freshest, authentic ingre-
dients” which do truly make for a
gourmet dining experience.
Off the three course business
lunch we would certainly recommend the Buffalo Mozzarella
Caprese to start off with. It’s not
tough to get right, but you don’t expect a restaurant of this calibre to
get it wrong, and an early win bodes
well for the rest of the courses.
On the choice of ‘secondis’ Roberto’s offers even more variety: we
went with the gratinated homemade
spinach ricotta canelloni and the
dash of bechamel sauce that came
with it hit the spot in just the right
way. Not too heavy, and with portions sizes that are adequate, the
business lunch left us with a comfortable. If you’d rather go carnivore for the day, the slow cooked
beef short ribs with celeriac purée
were a close second on our list of
enticing edibles.
It’s no wonder that Roberto’s is
found close to the top of the list of
Dubai’s best fine dining establishments. The restaurant has won at
least a few awards for its cuisine
and interiors every year since 2012
and it’s business lunch is but a
small testament to why.
MAY 2018
CEO MIDDLE EAST 73
24h
DAILY
RITUALS
Knowledge is power. Gates does an hour of cardio each morning, while watching instructional videos on science
BILL
GATES
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT EXERCISING
THE BODY FOR A MAN WHO WAS
LONG THE RICHEST IN THE WORLD;
IT’S ALSO ABOUT WORKING OUT
THE MIND
BILL GATES IS STILL ONE OF THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD with a net
worth estimated to be upwards of
$92 billion. And while the man
that gave the world Micosoft and
Windows, (along with co-founder Paul Allen) now spends most
of his time with charity projects
through the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation he still retains a
few habits that he says have helped
him be successful.
Most days for Gates begin with
exercise: an hour of cardio on his
treadmill overlooking Lake Washington. But the billionaire doesn’t
just train his body each morning;
he also improves his mind. While
running, Gates watches instructional videos on science, mathematics, history, fine arts and music.
At night, Gates is an avid
bedtime reader. He makes a point
of reading nightly, pouring over
74 CEO MIDDLE EAST
MAY 2018
everything from biographies
(he particularly enjoys Warren
Buffett’s) and history textbooks
(such as the study of the development of vaccines). “I read an hour
almost every night,” says Gates,
“it’s part of falling asleep. But like
anyone who loves books, if you get
into a good book, it’s hard to go
to sleep.” The 61-year-old finds
seven hours to be the best
amount of sleep for creativity.
“Even though it’s fun to stay up
all night, if I have to be creative I need seven hours. I can
give a speech without much
sleep, I can do parts of my job
without sleep, but in thinking
creatively, I’m not much good
without seven hours”.
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
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