GULF GULF CEO 2015 CEO 2015 Astad – Ali Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer Cisco Consulting Services 8 – Caspar Herzberg, Global Vice President 32 Gulf Petrochem – Manan and Prerit Goel, Group Directors 24 Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons: DIVERSIFYING TO SUCCEED – Yousef Khoory, General Manager Farazad Investments – Korosh Farazad, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 5 50 Eternity Medicine – Markus Giebel, Chief Executive Officer 61

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GULF CEO 2015 CONTENT Farazad: GCC investors in market for trophy assets..................... 5 Eternity Medicine revolutionises healthcare.................................. 6 Astad: Constructing a Class of its own........................................... 8 FiLLi Café: A Simmering Success!................................................ 10 Al Zahra: A unique brand amongst private sector Healthcare providers in UAE.................................. 12 Hard Precast capitalises on UAE’s boom..................................... 13 Traffik360 clears the road for BTL................................................ 14 Xerox:The true mark of a successful MPS provider..................... 16 Lulu Group: Setting new benchmarks........................................... 18 GIBL takes a different tack oninvestment banking...................... 20 Arkhurst and Abdellah: En-route to success................................ 21 Accela: Making the next leap in Smart Government.................... 22 Gulf Petrochem: “A good leader can’t get too far ahead of his followers.”............................................... 24 Mundipharma: Improving lives ..................................................... 26 Agthia: Nourishing People’s Lives ............................................... 27 Crowne Plaza Dubai: Riding Dubai’s hotel boom wave .............. 28 Freiburg Medical Laboratory: Inspiring Innovation ..................... 29 KG International puts Dubai on the Global Bearing map ............ 30 Cisco Building an IoE Business from the Gulf ............................. 32 The brains behind the Sand Pit Run ............................................. 34 Avantgarde: Empowering women................................................ 35 EDITOR IN-CHIEF: Olli Maila,, 050-3098553 COUNTRY MANAGER, UAE: Humair Siddiqi, ART DIRECTOR/LAYOUT: Lina Hurmerinta ART DIRECTOR ASSISTANT: Pieta Piiroinen JOURNALISTS: Sabin Muzaffar, Criselda Diala-McBride PHOTOGRAPHERS: Mansoor Ahmad, Noora Saif and Hiten Nainaney PUBLISHER: Calcus Publishing Group FZ-LLC 23rd Floor, Boulevard Plaza Tower Two, Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai P.O Box 124342, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 4096795 Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons: Diversifying to succeed.... 36 Devi Jewels shines with its bespoke approach ......... 38 Riverbed: The Enabler for Hybrid Enterprises’ Optimum Application Performance ........... 40 Links Insurance Brokers thinks big....................... 42 “ONLYGLASS“ offers a fresh take on advertising............ 43 Andrew Horne, GM, Xerox Emirates. The Networked Society: Transforming the ICT landscape .................................................. 44 Office Direct: Directing Efficiency!................................................ 46 Wadi Adventure: Redefining a Healthy Lifestyle .......................... 47 Marinetek: Floating Jetties ........................................................... 48 Cavotec: Inspired Engineering Across the Middle East.............. 49 Gold.AE: Appetite for Gold remains strong .................................. 50 VingCard Elsafe: The worldwide leader in guestroom security and energy management solutions for the hospitality industry .................... 52 Accurate, Updated & Consistent, Local listings and smart city map with .................................... 54 Bank of Baroda: Banking Beyond Boundaries............................. 56 EDITORIAL Editor Rohit Saran Supplements Editor Suchitra Steven Samuel ADVERTISING Director Advertising Haroon Qureshi Senior Advertising Manager (ROP) Mamta Pillai Dubai Head Office: P.O. Box 11243 Tel: +971 4 3383535 Fax: +971 4 3383345/46 E-mail: Oman-Muscat: United Media Services SAOC P.O. Box 3305 Ruwi Postal Code 112 Tel: +968 24700896 Fax: +968 24706512 E-mail: India: Mediascope Publicitas, 51 Doli, Chamber Colaba, Mumbai 400005 Tel: +91 22 613 77400, Fax: +91 22 22875718 E-mail: Abu Dhabi: P.O. Box 3082 Tel: +971 2 6337666 Fax: +971 2 6351122 E-mail: Pakistan: Millennium Media, Karachi Tel: +92-21-35480795 Fax: +92-21-35870242 Email: Bahrain: Universal Enterprises, P.O. Box 1062 Manama Tel: +973-17290303 Fax: +973-1729381 England: 47, Great Cumberland Place, LondonW1H7 LH Tel: +44 20 7723 5083 Fax: +44 20 7706 4157 3

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GULF CEO 2015 Farazad: GCC INVESTORS IN MARKET FOR TROPHY ASSETS country, which is an Islamic state that has regulated investment governance.” Korosh Farazad, Chairman and CEO of Farazad Investments Inc., says the oil price slump has set the stage for bargain hunting. T umbling oil prices may have dented Gulf investors’ surplus reserves, but their appetite for high-yield overseasbased assets remains robust, says Korosh Farazad, Chairman and CEO of Boutique Investment Bank Farazad Investments Inc. (FII). “Middle East investors, particularly those from the Gulf countries such as UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, are attracted to trophy assets that could yield a minimum of 8% return on their investments,” he says. “These assets are typically located in Europe, Turkey and North America, where a transparent legal system, relatively stable political and security environment, and strong macroeconomic fundamentals have proven to be appealing to overseas investors.” Over the past years, GCC investors have been actively collecting marquee assets such as the GBP 385-million Bank of America European headquarters in Canary Wharf in London, United Kingdom acquired by the Kuwaiti Government; and the $700 million The Gate project in Texas, US by Dubai-based Invest Group Overseas, among others. Most recently, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) has expressed interest in buying a stake in Aeroporti di Roma. “Based on our experience, Gulf investors are patient to nurture the value of the asset over a period of time. They commit to a long-term relationship on their acquisitions in a bid to generate higher revenues,” Farazad adds. Outside of Europe and North America's, FII has seen vast interest in Malaysia real estate. “We’re not participants of this traction, but we are seeing that primarily UAE, Qatar and Kuwait are looking at opportunities in this Southeast Asian REAL ESTATE, ENERGY SECTORS BUCK THE TREND Among the opportunities opening up for Middle East investors, Farazad says investments in the real estate and energy sectors top their list. “For Gulf investors, real estate is the key sector to guarantee high yield returns. In 2014 it was reported more than GBP 55 billion was invested into commercial properties across the UK. This inward investment was sourced from sovereign wealth funds alongside pension funds and insurers,” he says. “In addition, we have seen a lot of interest for energy projects such as renewable sources (solar, wind farms) in the UK and across Europe.” The recent plunge in oil prices, however, offers new opportunities for investors keen to diversify their portfolio, says the FII Chairman. “Devalued oil can be an attraction for Gulf investors to seek other openings in the oil market. There are heightened opportunities within the oil industry to purchase distressed assets at a time of such drastic devaluation,” he says. Currently, FII, which has presence in the US, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Australia, assists clients globally, who have a strong risk appetite to buy assets with optimistic EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation) margin. “The jurisdiction is also an important component to be considered,” Farazad adds. “Certain policies have to be in place such as corporate law, dispute resolutions, regulatory framework and stable financial systems, to provide investors assurance that their assets are protected.” ◆ Korosh Farazad, Chairman and CEO of Farazad Investments Inc. 5

GULF CEO 2015 Eternity Medicine REVOLUTIONISES HEALTHCARE Chief Executive Officer Markus Giebel believes that the future of medicine involves personalised, predictive and preventive treatment. H ealthcare as we know it adopts a sporadic, reactive approach that focuses on treating rather than preventing ailments – a practice that Markus Giebel, CEO of Eternity Medicine Institute, casually labels as ‘sick care’. “People often go to a doctor only when they’re sick, but we believe that the healthcare system of the future should be preventive and predictive. We are changing healthcare from a reactive to a proactive mode,” he said. “How is it possible that my car warns me about my low air pressure in my front left tyre, but nobody warns me about my risk of a heart attack? Why are we able to predict and warn people in the case of many natural disasters, but when one of our friends passes away because of cancer or a sudden stroke we just feel sorry about this ‘inevitable tragic event’? Shouldn’t we rather question whether this tragic event could have been prevented with the proper preventive, predictive health screening approach?” As the UAE’s first dedicated preventive age management healthcare clinic, Eternity Medicine is positioning itself to be at the forefront of this shift in patient care focus. Established in the United States, the company opened its first Middle East polyclinic in Dubai in 2012, initially tapping the region’s affluent population. Today, its patient base is more diversified, comprising of corporate accounts, physician referrals and thousands of clients interested in health screening. Giebel, who was previously the CEO of Deyaar, a publicly traded real estate company, said the market potential is huge, with healthcare screening poised to become a $1-trillion industry as the practice continues to gain traction. “We started Eternity Medicine because we saw a market in the making and it’s a sector 6 where everybody wants to be. Who wouldn’t want to live longer and feel/look better? Our primary goal is to safeguard your life, increase your vitality and provide you with the P&L (Profit and Loss) statement of your health.” THE P&L OF HEALTH Eternity Medicine’s approach to managing their patient’s health can be described as integrative. It engages its patients as informed and empowered partners by providing them with comprehensive yet easy-to-understand report on the state of their health. “We manage our patients’ health the same way we manage a company. We identify the good points and risk factors in a patient’s health and our physicians give them a health forecast, specifying the goal, methods and timeframe needed to achieve this objective,” he said. The health forecast is evident-based (as per the screening’s results) and personalised depending on the patient’s needs, circumstances and unique conditions. Giebel added that they seek to make healthcare management a positive experience for their patients, while emphasising the life-changing significance of prevention, early intervention and health maintenance. The 47-year-old CEO often cites the ‘car analogy’ to demonstrate the importance of regular medical screening and health maintenance. “Twenty years ago, people drove their car until it broke down. By that stage, it becomes a very unpleasant experience with the car stalling in the middle of nowhere and you end up requiring a towing service. “These days, that scenario rarely happens because 1) cars have on-board diagnostics or technology that allows it to self-diagnose and report on the vehicle’s condition; and 2) we bring our car in for service every six months. This combination has given cars a longer life cycle and better performance,” he explained. While admitting that a human body is more complex than an automotive, Giebel said the principle of combining technology with regular health check-ups would play a key role in the evolution of healthcare within and outside the Middle East. INNOVATION AT THE CORE OF HEALTHCARE Every patient at Eternity Medicine gets a dedicated app, which has access to the company’s proprietary Eternity Precision Software (EPS), a powerful platform capable of automating patient database, including test results, prescriptions and doctor recommendations; as well as tailor-making programmes, among others. The Eternity Medicine app is also available on the Android app store and soon on the Apple Store. Developing the app and the EPS, according to Giebel, is another way of making health maintenance a more interactive and interesting experience for patients. The database on the app is updated real-time and can be accessed offline without Internet connection, anywhere in the globe. The app has a built-in fitness tracker that automatically tracks steps, distance, calories burned, sleep patterns and heart rate. It works as an ideal programme in wearable devices such as those manufactured by Fitbit. CORPORATE PROGRAMMES Eternity already manages the health of many

GULF CEO 2015 Markus Giebel Chief Executive Officer. P & L your health now with this unique Eternity application. corporate clients. Where the full executive programme delivers a 24-page health P&L and takes 4 .5 hours, staff screening is available for the whole organisation and can be conducted in 20 minutes per employee. The Eternity mobile nurse unit sets up a health screening operation within a company’s conference room and can screen hundreds of employees. Results are automatically produced through the Eternity Health APP and delivered within 24 hours. Giebel mentioned that “the best part of it is that in many cases, the insurance pays for the tests and the screening comes at no cost to the corporation”. Further anonymous corporate health charts can be developed to measure the health of any corporation. GROWTH PLAN Giebel said Eternity Medicine will continue to attract some of the world’s best physicians through a rotational strategy that allows them to work for two months at a time in Dubai and return to their home base (for example, the US). Visiting doctors, who are acclaimed in their respective fields, will also train the facility’s in-house physicians, promoting knowledge transfer in the Middle East medical sector. Aside from its clinic in Dubai, Eternity Medicine is also widening its GCC footprint with the opening of its outlet in Riyadh, with plans to launch a second facility in the same Saudi Arabian city and another in Jeddah. Giebel confirmed that they are also in talks to open a branch in Turkey and are close to inaugurating a facility in Abu Dhabi. This expansion strategy has been lined up for 2015–2016. To grow the business further, Giebel said he aims to franchise the company’s exclusive software, giving physicians, hospitals and medical facilities worldwide access to the technology that they hope will revolutionise global healthcare. ◆ 7

GULF CEO 2015 Astad: CONSTRUCTING A CLASS OF ITS OWN ASTAD Project Management is a Qatari-based consultancy established in 2008. The company’s mission is “to provide project management for complex infrastructure and buildings through quality practices, timely delivery, precise scoping and competitive pricing,” and aligns its objectives with the country’s national development plan as well as the 2030 Qatar National Plan. CEO of ASTAD, Ali Al-Khalifa reveals, walking down memory lane and talks about ASTAD’s journey to success. T ell us about ASTAD, when was it established? ASTAD was officially launched in 2008, but the idea was already in existence since 2002. It all started with a need to transfer our immense bulk of knowledge into the construction industry. The company started with its critical role in building the Education City. Cornell University was ASTAD’s first high-profile project, which saw a synergy of experience and knowledge from teams belonging to both Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Foundation. ASTAD came about as an understanding and acknowledgment of the dire need for project management solutions’ company that could meet international high standards of the construction sector with thorough understanding of the local business environment. We have over 160 national projects and more than 600 engineers with 800 plus sub-contractors. To date, we are the biggest project management consortiums in this part of the world. What is the secret to ASTAD’s success? ASTAD has built a name synonymous with success, which is why we consistently strive to create outstanding capabilities of sustainable consultancy and matchless project management in fields of engineering as well as construction. This can be attributed to several reasons. ASTAD’s expertise lies in its deep understanding 8 of the Qatari culture, whereby we can streamline all projects – aligning key elements such as structuring, scope of work, etc., for the success of any development. We ensure quality of project by first ascertaining project’s stakeholders; keeping every aspect aligned. We are a 100% Qatari owned company, which is primarily why we know the culture, the country’s business environment, and preferences of the people as well as state regulation. On top of that we have professional expertise to successfully implement projects stemming from our 20 years of experience. We have 49 nationalities working for us and are often called the United Nations of Qatar. Our values are instilled in our people who have been with us right from the start, so they are well versed in the art of project management. What role has the company played in Qatar’s economic development and how do you see the Qatari market today? Developing and deepening expertise as well as capabilities on a local level plays an essential part as far as Qatar’s construction sector is concerned. Not only does it enable ASTAD to capture and localise developmental opportunities, it ensures that services and solutions are cost effective when compared with international consultancy agencies. Indeed, the Qatari market is consistently booming and it is on the path to prosperity. I do see this upward trend to continue for the next 20 to 30 years. As far as ASTAD is concerned, we are currently working on Qatar’s most iconic projects. How important is the impact of events like Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 and Expo 2020 in the UAE? The FIFA World cup is a big, global event and it will indeed have a great impact, especially on our industry and the construction market. We are studying and learning from examples set by Germany, South Africa and Brazil. We actually flew to the latter country and met the organisers after the FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 concluded. Our aim was to learn more from them and gain first hand knowledge. The Dubai Expo 2020 will also have a great impact on Qatar. I don’t think there will be a shortage of supplies when it comes to these two big events, and it is sure to bring more stability to the construction sector. What is your vision for the company? ASTAD offers intelligent capabilities, bespoke offerings that illustrate a full spectrum of professional services for clients, affirming its unique position in the market. We continuously aim to align our company goals with that of Qatar’s visionary leaders. It is with these objectives the company moves ahead successfully through the power of knowledge and diversity. ◆

GULF CEO 2015 “We continuously aim to align our company goals with that of Qatar’s visionary leaders.” Ali Al-Khalifa, CEO of ASTAD. 9

GULF CEO 2015 FiLLi Café: Rafih FiLLi, Founder of FiLLi Café. A SIMMERING SUCCESS! D ubai is a land of opportunities with numerous rags to riches stories reminiscent of the American dream. ‘FiLLi’ is one such story where a visionary man of humble origins transformed his big dreams into reality. It all began when a young Indian entrepreneur started a small roadside café FiLLi near the breathtaking Mamzar Corniche. Cooking up a delectably divine concoction that was potently flavorsome and overwhelmingly aromatic, Rafih FiLLi offered the simplest of beverages which had the lure to entice people from all over the emirate. It was a simple cup of energising tea. “My father had a cafeteria, which started back in 1991 in Mamzar area. Living in the same area due to convenience, my first job after coming to Dubai was in the merchandising sector. Along with that, I used to help my father’s business by going to the market and purchasing foodstuff for the cafeteria. It gave me an idea of starting something unique and I discussed about taking over the shop with my father who had many questions mainly because it was something very ambitious for a 21-year-old, but I convinced him and started my venture in 2004, as soon as he handed over the keys. I started with selling tea and put the nickname 10 ‘FiLLi’ that had been given to me during my school days on the signboard. And the rest as they say is history,” says the founder of FiLLi Café, Rafih FiLLi. Vision knows no boundaries and the only route is that of success. Rafih FiLLi knew the importance of a good marketing strategy. “I started promoting my shop and gave my customers samples of my tea. I knew it was a great product and would catch on if positioned correctly in the market. My target audience was the Emirati community – who were initially apprehensive of the new sweetly titillating taste. But I kept on offering samples and Alhamdulillah, FiLLi became a brand through positive word of mouth. Word even reached members of the royal family, who praised the great taste of my tea,” he says. “FiLLi has 19 snazzy looking cafés across Dubai and more are in the pipeline.” Another ingredient for success was FiLLi Café’s strategic venue. Near the beach, people came to relax and, of course, have a cup of tea to revitalise. “FiLLi is what it is because of our tea. FiLLi is a name synonymous with the Zaffrani (saffron) tea. I started this range of tea three months after starting my business and began to promote this product. It was a big hit with my customers, who immediately took a great liking for this blend. People thronged the area day and night just for a sip of the simmering tea. We are now selling more than 25,000 to 30,000 cups per day across all stores,” comments the dynamic founder. FiLLi Café has made it big by changing the way tea is served across the UAE and beyond. Rafih FiLLi plans to expand his business across all emirates and by penetrating the Middle East as well as other emerging markets. “We plan to open up to 100 stores in the next five years and have also introduced a franchising model where my vision is to specifically give the younger generation an opportunity to fulfill their dreams as I have!” concludes the visionary. The founder has had numerous inquiries from all over the world, including the US, UK and India. FiLLi has 19 snazzy looking cafés across Dubai and more are in the pipeline. With a plan to open outlets across the GCC in the forthcoming year, FiLLi is in a league of its own with none to compete and the only way for Rafih – the proud owner of FiLLi Café – is to move up and forward! ◆

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GULF CEO 2015 AL ZAHRA A unique brand amongst private sector Healthcare providers in UAE A s Managing Director of the Al Zahra Healthcare Group, describe the success story of the Group? The organisation started as Gulf Medical Projects Company (G.M.P.C.) which was established in 1979 in Sharjah by a government decree under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah. Throughout its existence, it has been directed and guided by the Dr. Shaikh Faisal bin Khalid Al Qasimi. The first hospital in the group, Al Zahra (Pvt) Hospital in Sharjah started to function in 1981 as the first private hospital in UAE Since its inception, it employed doctors with higher medical qualifications and experience in reputed Western hospitals. Building on the success and reputation of Al Zahra Hospital in Sharjah, Al Zahra (Pvt) Medical Centre was established in 1993 as a multispeciality centre offering the same standard of services as Al Zahra Hospital. Based on the concept of providing total healthcare under one roof and to meet the medical needs of fast growing population on Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Zahra (Pvt) Hospital was established in 2013 in Barsha 1 area. It is a modern well-equipped hospital, backed by 34 years of healthcare expertise, professionalism and innovation, and a team of well-qualified and experienced doctors. The mission of Al Zahra Group is to provide patient-centred healthcare through superior services to ensure patient well-being and satisfaction. Al Zahra Group has always contributed its efforts to meet its social responsibilities. From a corporate perspective, what new projects do you have in the pipeline? In order to extend our services to patients, we plan to open satellite clinics across the emirates to be in their vicinity. We also wish to establish tertiary care centres of excellence in the fields of oncology, bariatric and cosmetic surgery, women’s wellness etc., in addition to the neurosurgery and gamma knife centre projects announced during our participation in Arab Health 2015. 12 How would you best describe Al Zahra Hospital and how are you relaying this message to the public and corporate world? Expertise and quality care delivered in a prompt and courteous manner is what distinguishes Al Zahra. Ensuring the satisfaction and safety of our patients and meeting the needs of the community are our top most priorities. We believe that there is no better medium of publicity for Al Zahra than words of appreciation from satisfied patients relayed through their family members and friends. How would you assess the current state of private healthcare market in the UAE and what is the outlook for the year ahead? At about 70%, the public sector remains the major source of healthcare funding in GCC countries. In the public sector in the UAE, the Ministry of Health (MOH), DHA in Dubai and HAAD in Abu Dhabi primarily offer health care services. Private sector spending on healthcare is growing steadily. Health authorities in the UAE want private health care sector to increase their participation in meeting healthcare needs of its people through plans of PrivatePublic Partnership. Mandatory Health Insurance, as is announced to be implemented in Dubai will also have a salutary effect on private healthcare sector. The UAE is becoming a popular tourist destination, hence there is ample scope to develop health tourism. However, private healthcare sector is also facing some challenges. Difficulty in recruiting well qualified and experienced doctors, acute shortage of nurses and paramedical staff, tendency of patients to seek treatment abroad even when equally good medical treatment is available locally, and lack of universal health insurance across the UAE are some of the major drawbacks. What are your hopes for the UAE looking to the future specially in the healthcare industry and what role can you play in ensuring its success? I would like to congratulate the people of Dubai and the UAE for their outstanding efforts which culminated in success in regards to Expo 2020. Taking inspiration from H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to be always number one, Al Zahra Group aspires to be number one in the private healthcare field. To keep pace with UAE’s continued progress on all fronts, investments in the private health care sector focusing on secondary and tertiary healthcare for near future plans should be enhanced by doubling the number of hospital beds and by implementing health insurance programs to cover all locals and expatriates in the UAE by the end of 2015. Al Zahra Group is fully committed to bear its responsibility to meet future challenges. ◆ Al Zahra Hospitals and Medical Centre, Managing Director - Sheikh Majid Bin Faisal Al Qassimi.

GULF HARD PRECAST CEO 2015 capitalises on UAE’s boom Investing during the low season allowed Hard Precast Building Systems to take advantage of opportunities in the construction sector, says Managing Director Bashar Abou-Mayaleh. B ashar Abou-Mayaleh, Managing Director of Hard Precast Building Systems (HPBS) LLC, is not one to do any task half-heartedly. Passion, he said, has fuelled his 17-year career at Dubaibased conglomerate Al Shafar Group, where he initiated feasibility studies and oversaw the creation – from the ground up – of two construction-related companies. An industrial engineer by profession, Abou-Mayaleh today is at the helm of HPBS in Dubai Investments Park and Hard Block Factory (HBF) in Jebel Ali, managing their day-to-day operations and over 1,000-strong workforce. While he often speaks in jest about knowing every nut and bolt that went into the construction of both facilities, his statement holds a deeper truth considering his hands-on approach to management. “I believe strongly in the social role of a business and the sense of responsibility that goes with the position in an organisation. Yes, I do have a commitment to the owners and investors to run a viable and profitable business, but I also have a responsibility to create a conducive work environment for our employees because one man alone cannot build a successful company,” he said. This philosophy is embedded in the HPBS company culture, which AbouMayaleh said has helped promote a strong sense of loyalty among its staff. Investing during the low season, according to Abou-Mayaleh, has been crucial to HPBS’s success story. In 2012 and 2013, for example, when the UAE construction industry was nearly at a standstill and precast concrete prices almost collapsed, HPBS poured money into upgrading its production facilities, acquiring new technologies and machines, and purchasing additional vehicles. He admitted that such strategy put a heavy strain on short-term cash flow, but the efforts paid off in 2014, when Dubai won the right to host Expo 2020 and opened the floodgates for major developments. “When the construction revival happened, we were already well-positioned to take on the influx of projects that were being awarded. One of them is the CityWalk project, a massive retail and residential development in Jumeirah,” he said. COMMITMENT TO PROFESSIONALISM An unwavering commitment to professionalism, quality and safety standards is the basis for any organisation’s success, Abou-Mayaleh believes. “Planning is also crucial. You have to be able to control the flow of operational activity, making sure that every component of the organisation runs like clockwork so you can avoid delays,” he said. Lastly, implementing the best practices in management and corporate governance is essential in grooming a company ready to take on future challenges, the MD added. ◆ Bashar Abou-Mayaleh, Managing Director of Hard Precast Building Systems (HPBS) LLC. INVESTING IN THE FUTURE HPBS sits on a 1-million-squaremetre (sqm) plot and its state-of-theart facility is currently running at full capacity, with a daily output of 1,800 sqm hollow core slabs, 4,000 sqm of walls, 250 cubic metres of structural systems and 500 sqm of glass-reinforced concrete (GRC) panels. In addition, it boasts a design and redesign department equipped with the latest structural and drafting technologies; a substantial fleet of modern heavy vehicles; as well as a team of highly trained erectors with a proven track record of quickly installing precast elements. 13

GULF CEO 2015 Traffik360 CLEARS THE ROAD FOR BTL Below-the-line advertising has been the preferred method of companies looking to directly engage and communicate with consumers, says Marcel Khairallah, CEO and Founder of Traffik360. M aking a brand’s voice heard amid a sea of sales pitches is the main objective of any advertiser. However, the task has proven more and more challenging as today’s advertising space becomes increasingly crowded. Marcel Khairallah, CEO and Founder of Traffik360, a full-fledged below-the-line (BTL) agency, said organisations across the Middle East recognise the potential of BTL to rise above the media clutter and effectively reach target consumers. Compared with the above-the-line (ATL) method, which uses conventional mass media (i.e. television, radio, print and online) to bring a brand message across a wider audience, BTL cuts to the chase by encouraging one-on-one interaction between a brand and its consumers. An alternative to 100-foot billboards, flashy television campaigns and glossy magazine ads, BTL is involved with – but not limited to – anything from direct mail campaign and promotional items to product samplings, point-of-sale materials and displays. CRISIS-PROOF Also known as Gifts with Purchase (GWP), BTL is still favoured by organisations in the Middle East because of its direct and costeffective approach to brand marketing. “The consumers’ perception of a brand is instantaneous when it comes to BTL advertising, unlike ATL. With billboards, print ads or TV/radio campaigns, it is relatively difficult to measure the brand’s impact on consumers,” he said. BTL’s regional importance was further 14 highlighted at the height of the global financial crisis and continues to be felt today, according to the Traffik360 founder. “It was during the crisis when we actually made the highest year-on-year turnover. With companies becoming more conscious about where their advertising budget goes, we have observed that budgets are increasingly being shifted from ATL to BTL and digital initiatives. “This reflects companies’ belief that by differentiating themselves through a niche approach, they are able to have greater consumer engagement.” An industry forecast suggests that the Middle East and Africa advertising industry is ripe for the picking, with expenditure seeing an uptrend following the 20082010 slowdown. According to independent market research eMarketer, the region’s advertising spending is expected to climb to $25.35 billion by 2018, up by over 58% from $16 billion in 2011. ATTRACTING BRAND BIGWIGS Operating out of Dubai Media City since 2002, Traffik360 has seen its client base expand to include global blue-chip brands such as Unilever, Diageo, L’Oreal and Red Bull. Gaining the confidence of such elite multinational companies is an achievement in itself, considering the cut-throat competition in the regional advertising industry. But Khairallah emphasised that success for Traffik360 did not happen overnight and it involved strict adherence to international quality management systems, as required by their global customers. “We live in a globalised world, where everybody can get almost anything, anywhere. So we are not competing with other companies on a product basis,” he explained. “But getting the right product at the right price, from reliable and sustainable sources that comply with global regulatory standards, is quite challenging. This is what sets us apart.” As a result, Traffik360 is certified by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service Management System (Lloyds Register Quality Assurance Limited), the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and Sedex, a Londonbased not-for-profit organisation dedicated to driving improvements in ethical and responsible business practices in the global supply chains. It is also a member of the IGC Global Promotions, a global contract partner for multinational companies involved in the buying of promotional items and business gifts. IGC, which is headquartered in The Netherlands, has a network of partners that spans 52 countries worldwide, and Traffik360 is benefitting from this continuous sharing of experiences and expertise among members. DIVERSIFIED SERVICES After making a name for itself in the region and developing a strong, long-term partnership with global clients, Traffik360 started diversifying its portfolio of services to meet the industry’s other requirements.

GULF CEO 2015 “We develop and execute the activation campaign for existing and new clients.” Marcel Khairallah, CEO and Founder of Traffik360. From designing and supplying promotional merchandise, the company ventured into events and brand activation or experiential marketing, which is an activity that generates interest by allowing consumers to use a product or experience a service. “We develop and execute the activation campaign for existing and new clients. This is also about one-on-one engagement with consumers, which is related to our core service,” Khairallah said. With regard to events, depending on the scope of the project, Traffik360’s services may include designing and executing the actual event or simply supplying the required equipment like stage, sound and lights, exhibition displays or performers. “A new addition to our business is also designing and producing point-ofsale materials (POSMs) such as retail environment displays, exhibition and activation stands, as well as freestanding units, similar to those seen in supermarkets and other retail outlets,” he confirmed. SPREADING ITS WINGS Over the past 13 years, Traffik360 has undergone an organic growth. Khairallah, who was already an experienced advertiser in his native Lebanon before moving to Dubai, started the company with only one staff. Since then, the team has expanded from two to 17. Outside of Dubai, the company has a presence in Beirut (Lebanon), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and Egypt. Its expansion programme shows no signs of letting up, with plans to eventually set up shop in Nigeria and Qatar. Khairallah’s entrepreneurial journey has also been recognised by various institutions, most recently by Arabian Business, which honoured him with the title SME Leader of Year for 2014. “Because we serve the needs of our multinational clients, who have operations not only in the UAE, but across the Europe, Middle East and Africa [EMEA] region, we go where they take us. We’ve also seen the growth potential of these markets and how we can contribute to developing their respective advertising landscapes,” he said. ◆ 15

GULF CEO 2015 THE TRUE MARK of a successful MPS provider T he Managed Print Services is often defined by its service provider. A true measure of an effective managed print services provider is one who can seamlessly manage your print infrastructure while you concentrate on your real business. Xerox is counted among service providers of such calibre that offer a thorough, up-front assessment to analyse your current printing infrastructure and later aid in optimising your total print output environment. Xerox’ MPS tools offer a roadmap to reduce the number and types of printing devices and supplies while meeting the needs of your business. This proactivity helps in identifying and solving potential printing problems and replenishes supplies before employees are affected. These MPS tools even help reduce environmental footprint. Service providers like Xerox also help telecommuters and mobile workers gain easy and secure printing access using MPS tools, and also help in leveraging the IT department’s role by providing network management and IT Andrew Horne, GM, Xerox Emirates. 16 integration, from platform support to cloudbased solutions. A factor that is often overlooked and sometimes undermined is the role of MPS in improving work productivity by turning slow, paper-based processes (like routing and approvals) into automated, digital ones, thereby saving the time and energy of the employees. This is where a good service provider such as Xerox steps in and initiates an approach that can help their customers realize significant cost efficiencies while also improving their time to revenue and increasing their client’s overall satisfaction. XEROX MPS TOOLS AND THEIR APPROACH Through managed print services, you can outsource print management and cut costs by as much as 30%. At Xerox, we have a very successful approach to helping clients realise significant cost efficiencies while also improving their time to revenue and increasing their client’s satisfaction.  This approach is built on three stages.  The first stage is called Assess and Optimise. This is where the Xerox experts use best-in-class tools and processes to create a baseline of current spend and design a solution that reduces clients’ costs by up to 30% and supports their sustainability goals. Xerox will also look across office and production environments to create a holistic view of document needs. Xerox’s award-winning tools, like Asset DB and CompleteView™ Pro provide the accurate information needed to take action. The second stage is called Secure and Integrate. Now that the printing environment is optimised, Xerox’ MPS tools will ensure that everything is connected to the client’s IT environment in a secure and compliant way. The third stage is called Automate and Simplify. With the right technology in place and securely integrated into the IT environment, the client’s productivity is improved and paper-based processes are automated and print is eliminated before it even happens. Leveraging Content Management Software and solutions, the insight of service providers like Xerox will also help clients develop smart workflows to capture, route, store, and retrieve documents. This is the Xerox approach, underpinned by the tool set, and it has worked with thousands of enterprises, irrespective of their business or size, around the world. WHAT’S ‘NEXT’? A successful MPS provider like Xerox does not stop at improving the productivity and revenue of its customers. They work in tandem with what is applicable and relevant in the current climate. Among them is Xerox Digital Alternatives which is a flexible and powerful solution supporting today’s increasingly mobile knowledge workers. Such solutions can help users complete document-based work processes across PCs and iPads, without the need for paper while enabling these users to read, save, share and annotate within a single application. In a way, successful MPS providers like Xerox constantly innovate so that their customers gain consistent, anytime access to their critical business documents and a toolset optimised for “paper-based” ways of working. ◆

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GULF CEO 2015 LuLu Group : SETTING NEW BENCHMARKS The Group was established in 1975 in the UAE capital, which at the time was little more than a large fishing community. In the 40 years since then, the Company has grown steadily in tandem with the growth of the UAE. “We as a group strongly believe in innovation.” T oday, LuLu has 114 hypermarkets, supermarkets, department stores and shopping malls across the Gulf, Yemen and Egypt. Today, Deloitte ranks the Lulu Group as on the top 10 fastest growing retailers in the world and this year the brand was ranked by UK-based global retail intelligence firm Planet Retail as the number one hypermarket chain in the Middle East, and the sixth in the huge Middle East and Africa region.  Ashraf Ali M.A, Executive Director of the group said, “In addition to the flagship retail chain LuLu, the Group also has interests in manufacturing and food processing, import and export of food items, cold stores and warehousing, as well as logistics, travel and trade. The business is supported by a network of offices in 43 countries throughout the Middle East, Far East, China, India, Africa and Europe through which the Group sources products and commodities to not only supply its own chain of stores but also other regional players.”  LuLu Group which was one of the very few companies in the Gulf, that not only sustained its business during the global recession but also expanded its business manifold without any signs of slowdown or lay offs. The group, which recorded an annual turnover of $ 5.8 billion in 2014, is eyeing for a 20% growth this year.  Led by the dynamic Managing Director Yusuffali M.A, the LuLu Group is now going full steam ahead with a major investment drive in India, Far East and MENA region. LuLu Mall, Kochi is already billed as the most popular and happening malls in India.  LuLu, which is aiming to be major player in the hospitality sector, has already 18 Ashraf Ali M.A, Executive Director LuLu Group International. launched 2 Marriott Hotels in India and is building the most ambitious Grand Hyatt Hotel and International Convention Centre in Kochi, India.  “Going forward, we are aiming to further consolidate our leadership position in the Gulf region with at least 20 hypermarkets and shopping malls in the next 2 years. Our new vision is to be closer to the shoppers, so that residents in the interior areas and new suburbs also get to enjoy world class shopping nearer to them,” added Ashraf Ali.  The group, which was recently ranked by Deloitte as one of the top 200 Global Retailers, is expected to debut in Far East with hypermarket in Malaysia and Indonesia this year.  Elaborating the new initiatives Ashraf Ali said “We as a group strongly believe in innovation and that is one reason we have always invested heavily in IT and infrastructure, keeping abreast with the very latest in the world. Currently, we are in the process of launching our full-scale online business and this shoppers will soon have the very best of both offline and online offering from LuLu.”  Commenting on the recent announcement of LuLu as one of the top 5 authentic brands in the UAE, he said, “Obviously, being a local company and to be featured in this prestigious list, we are delighted. This is testament to our legacy of delivering on our brand promise. We have been aggressive marketers and that’s is the way forward for us, and we will be using all possible channels of medium in our pursuit of being the most popular retail brand of the region”. ◆ HIGHLIGHTS: Annual turnover: $ 5.8 billion Total retail space: 32 million sq. ft. Total footfall per day: 730,000 Total workforce: 34,500 Total nos. of Lulu stores: 114 Countries of operations: 31

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GULF CEO 2015 Reza Dari, CEO. GIBL takes a different tack on INVESTMENT BANKING Global Investment Bank Limited (GIBL) is carving out a niche in the financial industry because of its ability to transform perceived challenges into real opportunities, says CEO Reza Dari. M ost people may find it difficult to see a silver lining to the global financial crisis, but Reza Dari, Chief Executive Officer of Global Investment Bank Limited, says he has always viewed it in a positive light. “The crisis paved the way for the evolution of the banking industry towards higher transparency and ethical best practices,” he comments. “It also created an opportunity for new market entrants to provide fresh views, ideas, and strategies that bring into focus a more human-centric approach to investment banking.” Incorporated in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in 2010, GIBL – in a short space of time – has managed to make a mark in the regional and global financial scene. Its innovative strategies and thought leadership for greater client centricity has also been recognised by industry observers such as the UK-based Corporate LiveWire, which named it the “Investment Bank of the Year” in 2014. THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX Dari says the key advantage of being a dynamic boutique investment banking firm, especially in a high-potential target market such as the Middle East and Africa (MEA), 20 is the willingness to transcend boundaries through creative strategies and alternative solutions. “There are over 100,000 high-networth individuals (HNWIs) in the GCC and approximately 7,000 ultra-HNWIs in MEA with a combined net worth of over $1 trillion. These figures highlight a great opportunity for regional wealth managers. However, given the projected growth in the collective net worth of regional family businesses we see an even greater opportunity in wealth creation,” he says. Advocating for evolvement of the regional family office sector, the firm plans to launch in Q1 2016 the Guardian Multi-Family Office Platform in partnership with leading global financial institutions, to provide wealth management and family support-related services under a single structure, a first cometo-market offering in the GCC. “With a minimum subscription of $5 million, the Guardian aims at breaking through a major industry barrier, which currently stands at $100 million of investable assets. Operational efficiency through economies of scale will encourage new market entrants into the family office domain, which has been long reserved exclusively for the ultra-rich,” Dari explains. Another product to whet investors’ appetite this year is the International Film Fund (IFF), which will focus on equity financing of premium high-budget feature films in strategic partnership with Hollywood producers, artists, and industry experts. The fund seeks to apprehend value in longterm revenues generated from the ancillary markets (i.e. DVD/Blu Ray distribution, syndication, etc.), in addition to the US and international box office sales. US$2BN AUM IN FIVE YEARS Through the planned launch of various niche asset management products over the next five years, GIBL is targeting US$2 billion of assets under management (AUM), according to Dari. “We are convinced that the historic cookiecutter approach to banking and wealth management is becoming obsolete. Our success is ultimately defined by the real social and economic value we add through active participation,” he says. GIBL is a company limited by shares incorporated in the Dubai International Financial Centre and is regulated by the DFSA. GIBL only provides services to professional clients as defined under the DFSA COB Module. ◆

GULF CEO 2015 En-route to SUCCESS Director and Solicitor Jennifer Arkhurst of Arkhurst & Abdellah talks to Gulf CEO 2015 about the Middle Eastern business landscape and her firm’s role in assisting SMEs. A rkhurst and Abdellah is a niche consultancy practice, providing corporate and commercial services and tailor-made solutions for companies, big and small. With strict adherence to ethical codes, fee transparency and their ability to offer commercially viable advice to businesses, the firm’s core focus is on the SME sector. “Arkhurst and Abdellah was incorporated three years ago, shortly after I stepped out of the corporate world as an in-house lawyer. We are a family-run business, our goal is to make a difference by transposing good business practices learnt in large corporations into the SME market,” reveals Jennifer Arkhurst, Director and Solicitor of Arkhurst & Abdellah. Talking about the business landscape in the UAE, Arkhurst reveals, “The SME sector makes up to 70 to 80 percent of the UAE business community, this community requires largescale assistance to grow. While doing our groundwork, we discovered this particular community is neglected in my sector, we focused on it right from the start.” A formidable entity boasting seasoned corporate and commercial lawyers, some of Arkhurst & Abdellah’s core areas of expertise includes corporate work and governance, commercial advice, commercial agreements, legal and business risk management, legal and regulatory compliance as well as mediating contractual disputes. Shedding light on market trends in the Middle East and the UAE business landscape, Arkhurst comments, “I see the Middle East as a more difficult, expensive and riskier for doing business, the chances of failure are pretty high. Nevertheless, in my sector, I have seen many lawyers come into this region and open up branches of their overseas firms. Business is indeed growing and I see this trend continuing into the foreseeable future. Coming to the SME market, access to finance is a major issue and a concern, with basic options such as issuing equity capital to investors not being so easy to achieve. Nevertheless, with the government’s assistance and initiatives designed to help SMEs, several businesses are able to sustain themselves. We, in particular, are happy to be here and look forward to continuing to contribute to a thriving business community.” Arkhurst &Abdellah came into the market “I would like to say ‘thank you’ to the leaders of the UAE, without their support and vision, none of this would have been possible.” and expansion to other emerging markets such as the Far East and Africa is very much on the table. It is only a matter of time before Arkhurst & Abdellah becomes one of the most revered entities in the regional legal marketplace. ◆ Jennifer Arkhurst, Director and Solicitor. to bridge a very obvious gap in the legal sector as far as SMEs and startups are concerned. “There were, indeed, many obstacles to overcome, but we persevered and with our resilience, effectively communicated our uniqueness. To date, we are one of the very few firms that offers fixed fees for our services – which is very unique in this market. We also offer long-term solutions and help to promote a legal riskfree business culture. We participate in coaching aspiring entrepreneurs at an early stage through the Khalifa Fund and the Young Arab Leaders (YAL),” concludes Jennifer. With high hopes and a solid future ahead, the firm is posed to achieve tremendous success. Legal publications 21

GULF CEO 2015 ACCELA Making the next leap in Smart Government Khaled W. Jaouni - Managing Director Accela Middle East and Africa – talks to us on how Accela is leveraging technology to connect citizens and governments. W hen did you get involved with the smart government technology sector? Over the last 4 years, I have been a part of the international expansion of a Californiabased government software company. Accela has been one of the most exciting ventures I have been involved with in my 20-year career in private equity and business management. Of all the sectors I have worked in, which included everything from healthcare to manufacturing, the Public Sector has been the most rewarding on a personal level. How has it been rewarding for you? The work we do with government has a tangible and visible effect in improving the quality of people’s everyday lives. It was an eye opener for me to learn how much interaction actually takes place between citizens/residents and their governments on a day-to-day basis. Using technology to save people time and effort in all these interactions while keeping them informed has tremendous value and I am proud to be a part of it. Tell us more about Accela Accela is a leading smart government software company headquartered in San Ramon, California with offices in San Francisco, New York, Melbourne and Dubai. The company serves the public sector exclusively offering government departments a full suite of out-of-the-box turnkey technology solutions to bridge the gap between government agencies and their citizens. Accela has a lot of experience in this niche area and boasts a formidable portfolio of more than 1,000 government agencies worldwide. So what smart government solutions do you offer? The cornerstone of our offering is the 22 Accela Civic Platform – the first-of-its-kind – is a true platform solution built exclusively for government to streamline workflow, improve transparency and increase engagement. This platform allows governments to rapidly build and deploy applications and solutions to improve the core services of cities and national governments in the areas of land management, business licensing, permit management, public health, “The Accela Civic Platform is the first true platform solution built exclusively for government” consumer protection, asset management, and professional licensing and citizen relationship management. The platform includes all technologies needed to effectively run back office operations, field mobile inspection, online portals, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and smartphone apps under a single integrated framework. What do you believe differentiates Accela from other technology vendors in this space? Our key differentiators are innovation and domain expertise. Innovation is the driver in everything we do at Accela. For example, we were the first company to launch a full suite of mobile apps for government when apps were still in their early days. We invest heavily in R&D and have an aggressive acquisition strategy to continually keep our customers on the forefront of cutting edge technology. Another key differentiator is domain knowledge. There are very few companies in the world that exclusively focus on government or have the insight into citizento-government and government-togovernment interactions that we do. Being in this industry for so many years - and serving hundreds of cities, state and national governments - uniquely positions Accela to not only understand what citizens want, but we also know what governments need and how to make it happen quickly and costeffectively. Given the breadth of the governments you serve worldwide, does anything stand out in government agencies in the Middle East region? Definitely. While we are engaged with a number of governments around the region, I’ll take the example of the UAE specifically as we have done extensive work here with the governments of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. There is no doubt that UAE government departments are among the most focused and determined that we have seen in improving services to their citizens and residents. Government agencies we work with in the UAE exhibit an entrepreneurial outlook and attitude that is rather unique. They have participated in our annual global user conference in the US and continue to impress their peers from other governments with their innovation and approach. I believe the UAE is rapidly becoming a thought leader in this space. Has Accela needed to customise its solutions for this region? Not at all. The Accela platform is multilingual and fully supports the Arabic language. If anything, we have added features to our core product for requirements we see

GULF CEO 2015 more prevalent in the Middle East region. Our vision is to be the leading platform combines the power and tenacity of the An example of that is government-toprovider for government agencies of all sizes. Gyr falcon with the Peregrine’s speed and government interaction. We have an easy Accela has acquired six companies in the last intelligence. Falconry has strong roots in the plug-and-play feature that allows workflow year alone. This rapid growth is helping us to national heritage of the UAE and has been a across multiple government departments speed innovation, offer more robust solutions part of my life for many years. I have met some without the need for a full integration. This is on the platform and offer our technology to of the most interesting people through this especially useful for No Objection Certificates more government agencies around the world. sport ranging from Gulf royals to and other types of approvals across multiple Going forward we will continue to integrate Mongolian nomads.  ◆ entities. existing and new solutions on the platform.  Given Accela’s extensive knowledge in Finally, please tell us about the bird government, do you have best practices that perched on your arm. can be leveraged in this region? This is We do have suite of best practice templates “Romeo”, for most processes for local government. he is GyrHowever, we never attempt to impose Peregrine these on our customer but rather use them hybrid as a starting point to shorten the solution falcon. It implementation time. However, I do believe benchmarks can be a very useful tool. We help our customers set objectives around services rather than process. For example, achieving a benchmark of allowing an investor to renew their business licence in less than 2 minutes using a mobile app. Other benchmarks can be around ease of business; for example, issuing a citizen with a permit that requires 6 government agency approvals through a single point of contact such as a one-stop-shop. How do you see the smart government technology space evolving? Technology has changed rapidly and continues to do so. Mobility, open data, and cloud technology are revolutionising government agencies large and small. I see open data as the next big trend going forward. Governments have a lot of useful information that once shared with the public can have some transformative effects if used creatively. For example, some of Accela’s US customers have allowed access to real-time data for restaurant inspections that are consumed by business review sites such as This means that the consumer not only gets to read a review on the quality of the food at a restaurant they plan to visit but can also see the hygiene rating by the city or municipality. What are your expansion and growth plans over the next few years? Khaled W. Jaouni, Managing Director Accela Middle East and Africa. 23

GULF CEO 2015 “A good leader can’t get too far ahead of his followers.” - FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT Manan and Prerit Goel talk about inspirational leadership, vision and unity that Gulf Petrochem stands for…. G ulf Petrochem is a professionally managed, family-owned global conglomerate headquartered in the UAE and was established by Ashok and Sudhir Goyel. The company began its journey from Hamriyah, Sharjah in 1993 starting off with a small refining unit in the same emirate. Within a few years Gulf Petrochem earned an eminent name for itself in the energy sector across the Middle East and beyond. The group has firmly established itself into six strategic business units (SBUs) petroleum products trading and refining, lubes and grease, modified bituminous products manufacturing, oil storage terminals, bunkering, shipping and logistics. All the units support each other and make Gulf Petrochem a well-integrated conglomerate and now a $ 2.5 billion company. Under the leadership and backing of Ashok and Sudhir Goyel and the executive management, Group Directors Manan and Prerit Goel represent the second generation of the family and are carrying their vision and legacy forward. Both current group directors have been involved with Gulf Petrochem for more than five years and handled different parts of the business. Manan, who leads the group’s 24 refinery division, has been intrinsically involved in setting up the group’s bitumen processing plant in the UAE, acquisition of Shell Bitumen Plant in India and setting up a refining unit in Tanzania. He has been integral in realising the executive management’s long term strategic view on Bitumen business across the Middle East and Indian sub-continent. Prerit has driven the group’s new business initiatives and has been instrumental in setting up the global trading offices, most notably in Singapore and London. He also played a pivotal role in the development of the group’s flagship terminal in Fujairah, UAE, which is the second largest bunkering port in the world. “Our company started off with a small refining unit, which later was supported by oil storage terminals in Hamriyah, Sharjah and Fujairah. The company has performed tremendously well since then and we now cater to customers globally through our offices in the UAE, Tanzania, Singapore, United Kingdom and India as well as a representative office in China, Columbia,” says Manan Goel. Talking about low oil prices and risk management, Prerit Goel comments: “There is a team of risk management professionals here at Gulf Petrochem, who along with traders and management, conduct weekly meetings discussing risk management, macroeconomics and our open positions in the market. In this process, we try and ascertain how macroeconomics may affect our open positions. When you look at the bigger scheme of things, it is not just one person who take the shots but a collective team view in such scenarios. There’s always an optimum hedge level maintained to minimise risk.” The company deals in an array of businesses related to the energy sector. In 2012, it started manufacturing bitumen and bituminous products in the UAE and India, and a grease manufacturing plant was inaugurated in the same year. In addition to this and to accommodate growth, the company also opened a storage terminal facility in Fujairah with a capacity of 412,000 cbm. “We are looking to expand our brand visibility and have made several acquisitions in India in the light of the vision. The proof being our recent acquisition of Royal Dutch Shell’s state-of-the-art bitumen plant in Savli, Gujarat as well as Sah Petroleum Ltd - a public listed lubricant and grease manufacturing company. Sah Petroleum is listed on two biggest stock exchanges (BSE as well as NSE) of India and have more than

GULF CEO 2015 MANAN AND PRERIT GOEL. doubled its market capitalisation since the acquisition. This is a testament of our capabilities to turnaround companies post acquisitions,” opines Manan. Talking about the business landscape across the Middle East, and particularly the UAE, Prerit says: “The Middle East is a very interesting market. Although conventionally it used to be a net exporter of oil, crude and refined petroleum products, now we often see imports of arbitrage cargos coming from the West and India. These days trading business has become complex and interesting at the same time due to massive volatility in the oil prices and changes in consumption patterns. There is a lot of demand with the influx of people into the country paving way for establishing more industries. We feel that the UAE government and its visionary leaders are very pro-business and are keen to encourage foreign investment into the country. This is one of the many reasons why we see new businesses growing exponentially. The regional and national oil companies have already established their base, whilst other large multinational oil companies are currently vying to build their presence here.” Agreeing with him, Manan adds: “I would also say that the government has provided a great infrastructure for businesses, big and small. You can see expansion of new developments across the country and it all adds up to a very positive business landscape.” One of the many elements to Gulf Petrochem’s colossal success has been its people. Prerit Goel comments, “I truly believe that the strength of our company lies in the fact that we hire the right people in the right place. In addition to this, understanding the Middle Eastern landscape and culture has been critical for our business’ success. It has been crucial from an investment point of “We are looking to expand our brand visibility and have made several acquisitions in India in the light of the vision.” view since you cannot function as a business unless you have an all-encompassing view and understanding of the area you are working in.” Gulf Petrochem Group’s growth has shown no signs of slowing down and neither has the group’s reputation, which has resulted in a number of award wins for the firm. The group received the Oil and Gas Project of the Year award during the MEED Quality Awards for Projects in 2013 for its Fujairah Oil Terminal. Another of the group’s greatest achievements was receiving the ‘Hamriyah Top 3’ award for top companies in the Industries category in 2012, bestowed to the group by the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority. It has been quite a journey for Gulf Petrochem, which is witnessing a passing on of the baton from the first generation of businessmen to the next. Both Prerit and Manan continue their path to success with a unifying approach and implementing the teachings and learnings given to them by Ashok and Sudhir Goel. Another characteristic feature of both the young leaders is the unity and values of the family as well as respect for each other and it is evident from the way they complement each other’s personalities and the way they are doing business and leading a $2.5 billion group. The biggest challenge for these future leaders is not only to create a legacy that speaks volumes of the family’s growth vision but also to lead the group to the next level. ◆ 25

GULF CEO 2015 Mundipharma: IMPROVING LIVES Staying true to its motto, Mundipharma ‘brings more to life’ by introducing innovative medicines to patients worldwide, says Dr. Ashraf Allam, Regional Vice-President Middle East and Africa. I nnovation has played a major role in what Mundipharma, a global pharmaceuticals company, does best – improving the quality of life of patients across the AsiaPacific, Australia, the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Europe and Latin America. “We are committed to bringing novel treatment options and solutions to patients with debilitating diseases. These cover moderate to severe pain, oncology, cancer therapies, respiratory disease, rare genetic disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and antiseptics,” said Dr. Ashraf Allam, Regional Vice-President MEA of Mundipharma. The company’s approach to innovation has led to a number of pioneering products, such as the world’s first extended-release morphine tablets and the first seven-day analgesic patch that have transformed the way healthcare providers treat pain. Mundipharma also markets the Betadine line of antiseptics, which have demonstrated strong efficacy in fighting viruses, including the deadly Ebola that has claimed millions of lives in Africa. In February this year, Mundipharma took an active stance in containing this outbreak by donating supplies for at least two million hand washes in Ebola treatment centres in West Africa. FOCUS ON MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA Allam, who is also Chairman of the Middle East and Africa Executive Committee of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), said nimbleness and entrepreneurial spirit have remained at the core of Mundipharma, which set up its MEA presence in Dubai in 2013. He describes the MEA region as one of the last low-hanging fruits in the pharmaceutical industry – bearing huge potential that has attracted several players, both regional and international. “Today, the MEA region is one of the fastest growing areas for Mundipharma’s global operations. Because of this, the region is perceived as an icon of success,” he said. His observation comes as governments across the wider Middle East and North Africa region place huge importance on the healthcare industry, with overall spending estimated to reach $125 billion in 2015, 64% of which will come from the public sector. “In my capacity as Chairman of the PhRMA for MEA, I have also been working closely with the Middle East and Africa governments to discuss ways on raising the region’s competitiveness, including regulatory improvements and the enforcement of intellectual property rights,” he added. EXPANSION IN THE CARDS Two years ago, Mundipharma was barely known in the region’s competitive pharmaceutical landscape. Now, the company is gaining traction. “I think many people see Mundipharma as a fast-growing company with a massive runway in front of it, whereas several other multinational giants’ opportunity set has shrunk as patents expire and their room to grow becomes limited,” Allam explained. As a result, Mundipharma is setting its sights on expanding into new geographies, launching new innovative products and strengthening its position with its existing portfolio of medicines. It is also looking into inlicensing products from other companies that currently do not have presence in the region. “Our vision is to build Mundipharma as one of the top 10 companies in the MEA region,” the regional VP said. ◆ Dr. Ashraf Allam, Regional Vice-President, Middle East and Africa, Mundipharma Chairman, Executive Committee, Middle East and Africa Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). 26

GULF NOURISHING CEO 2015 People’s Lives Iqbal Hamzah, Chief Executive Officer. E very day, most of the UAE’s population eat or drink a product made by Agthia, a leading UAEbased food and beverage company. This is a testament to the quality of the company’s offerings, as well as its brand, sales and production management expertise, which together provide a solid foundation for Agthia’s growth. “We are committed to serving consumers with wholesomeness by feeding and nourishing active lives at every single stage of the food chain,” says Chief Executive Officer Iqbal Hamzah. “This is reflected by consumer trust in our products, which is driving the new additions to our product portfolio as well as our expansion into new geographies.” Established in 2004, Agthia manages a world-class portfolio of integrated businesses providing high-quality trusted food and beverage products for customers across the UAE, GCC, Turkey and the wider Middle East. The company is listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange with 51% of its shares held by Senaat, an Abu Dhabi government-owned entity. Agthia has operations in the UAE, Turkey and Egypt, and employs more than 2,200 employees. Agthia pioneered the flour milling and animal feed industry in the Gulf region. Agri Business, one of Agthia’s two units, originated with the establishment of Grand Mills in 1978 by His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding president. Now, the Grand Mills flour and Agrivita animal feed brands are the leading players in the UAE market, manufacturing and distributing premium quality speciality flours, improvers, and mixes as well as a wide range of animal feed products. Agthia strives to provide consumers with a wide array of food and beverage choices to encourage healthy living. Al Ain bottled water, the flagship brand and the category leader in the UAE, has a strong heritage and tradition in the UAE and anchors Agthia’s Consumer Business unit. Agthia’s water portfolio also includes flavoured water, a five-gallon water brand known as Ice Crystal, and Alpin natural spring water from its operations in Turkey. “Agthia has operations in the UAE, Turkey and Egypt and employs more than 2,200 employees.” The beverage portfolio consists of Capri Sun, a leading juice drink for children worldwide, Al Ain fresh juice, and the Monster Energy range of drinks. Agthia’s processed fruits and vegetables products include two brands: Al Ain, with a range of quality tomato paste, frozen vegetables, and olive oil products, and pure natural tomato paste, and hot chilli products manufactured and distributed by Agthia’s operations in Egypt. The Fresh Dairy Products category is centred on a high quality product portfolio under the globally renowned Yoplait brand, produced in the UAE. The latest addition to Agthia’s portfolio is frozen baked products. From its state-of-theart factory in the UAE, Agthia is beginning to manufacture and distribute a portfolio of high quality frozen baked products including baguettes, croissants, and rolls aimed at airlines and food service channels. In February 2015, it signed a partnership agreement with Monty’s Bakehouse, one of the world’s leading suppliers of bakery items and snacks to the global airline industry. The partnership will enable the production of Monty’s Bakehouse products by Agthia in the UAE. With a commitment to the highest international standards of production and food safety through out the value chain, from source to consumer, the company’s results speak volumes of its success. Agthia’s profits increased 22 per cent to AED 193 million in 2014, while sales rose 9 percent to AED 1.66 billion, compared to the same period in 2013. “We are a market leader in all our core categories, and this leadership position is continually being reinforced. We continue to advance on our strategy of driving profitable growth across our core businesses, improving profitability, diversifying and launching new products, expanding distribution reach, and strengthening brand support. We also continue to enhance our manufacturing capabilities and remain focused on attaining efficiencies by driving down costs and increasing productivity,” says Hamzah. ◆ 27

GULF CEO 2015 Riding Dubai’s hotel BOOM WAVE High-quality customer service has helped Crowne Plaza Dubai stay ahead of the curve, says Georges Farhat, General Manager. W hen it comes to a hotel’s success, it is all about people, people and people, according to Georges Farhat, General Manager of Crowne Plaza Dubai. And coupled with its strategic location along Dubai’s main thoroughfare, Sheikh Zayed Road, the hotel was able to become witness to one of the most dramatic transformations of any city in the world. More than 20 years since Crowne Plaza Dubai, an InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) property, first opened its doors, guests continue to walk through the doors in droves. This is an impressive feat considering that Sheikh Zayed Road and its neighbouring areas now offer a smorgasbord of hospitality choices. General Manager Georges Farhat said as hotels of various shapes and sizes enter the emirate’s hospitality scene, sceptics had been quick to point out that competition will impact Crowne Plaza Dubai’s business. However, he is proud to prove critics wrong. “Dubai has indeed become a competitive place. But our hotel offers a compelling value proposition: our people. It is all about customer service. Guests appreciate that we have people who not only understand and anticipate their needs, but also genuinely want 28 Georges Farhat, General Manager.. to deliver the promise of hospitality,” he said. The trust that guests have bestowed upon the hotel, Farhat added, is also an important component of its staying power. “It is the tradition in this region; once people trust you, they trust you forever. If they don’t trust you, no matter what you do, you are out of their list. Deliver the promise and show we care, those are the values we live.” RISING THROUGH THE RANKS Farhat himself is a rare find in a city like Dubai. The cosmopolitan emirate is known for attracting large numbers of transient expatriates, who often hop from one job to the next with the goal of building a healthy nest egg for their retirement. Staying true to the old adage “a rolling stone gathers no moss”, Farhat passionately and patiently built a 21-year career at Crowne Plaza Dubai. He started as a management trainee, shortly after the hotel opened in 1994, and worked his way up through the organisation to become general manager in 2014. Dedication and hard work, he said, were the key ingredients in his recipe for success. “I always strive to do my best. The hospitality industry is my calling and I believe that if you like what you are doing, you will excel. But it also helps to be valued in your place of work; and for me, the support I continue to receive from the management, my colleagues and guests is enough motivation.” HOSPITALITY IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA A lot has transpired in Dubai over the years, but Farhat said Crowne Plaza Dubai remains relevant because it has adapted to the needs of an evolving customer base. For example, it is mindful how social media is shaping consumer mindset. As a result, the hotel has made it a policy to acknowledge comments posted online, even the negative ones. Farhat sees this is a excellent platform to connect with customers and understand their requirements. With 13 F&B outlets, the hotel is an entertainment and dining district in itself. A dedicated website,, captures the outlets’ vibrancy and showcases their mouth-watering fare, ranging from Arabic and Italian to Japanese and Brazilian. Farhat said more F&B outlets will open in the foreseeable future as Crowne Plaza Dubai continues to tempt the guests’ palate. ◆

GULF Freiburg Medical Laboratory CEO 2015 INSPIRING INNOVATION Associate Prof. Dr. med. Michaela Jaksch talks about Middle East’s healthcare sector and Freiburg Medical Laboratory’s groundbreaking diagnostics that sets it apart from the rest. T ell us about Freiburg Medical Laboratory, when was it established? Freiburg Medical Laboratory (FML), centrally located opposite the Burjuman Centre in Dubai, was started in 2002 by the University Hospital Freiburg together with local partners. Freiburg is - as with Munich one of the oldest and most reputed Medical Universities in Germany with a strong focus on international collaboration. Tell us about something yourself and role at FML? I am the Medical and Managing Director at FML in Dubai since 2004. My education, academic and professional background started at the Munich University, studying medicine. I did my doctoral thesis in Immunology and consequently specialised in Laboratory Medicine. Beside this, I also headed a research group in Genetics focusing on inherited metabolic disorders in infancy with an output of more than 50 peer-reviewed original articles in high impact medical journals. This research was awarded several times (publications see www.pubmed). I graduated to Fachaerztin and held the first position for a Professorship after the ‘habilitation’ (PD Dr. med. habil.) in Neurobiochemistry. I left Munich as a consultant in Laboratory Medicine. What are FML’s core offerings? At FML, we offer a broad range of routine and special investigations to the entire UAE onsite. Together with our strong partner Synlab Germany, we are on top of recent advances and technologies. We are able to work up the most challenging and specific test requests. Comment on the healthcare sector and how it has grown over the years, especially in this region. The healthcare sector and the diagnostic medical laboratories showed a tremendous growth in the past 10 years. The growth of independent diagnostic medical laboratories in numbers reaches probably 20-50%/year, when considering the past five years. These growth rates are, of course, limited. What is the Laboratory’s competitive edge? Our competitive edge is highest quality with the patient being the centre of our focus. We therefore concentrate on high education and profound teamwork, on the environment, on ethics, reliability, stability, and trust. In this context, we obtained the first international accreditation in summer 2008 according to the highest standards for medical laboratories, the ISO 15189:2007, assessed by the neutral German Accreditation Body DAKKS. A re-accreditation was achieved in 2013 (ISO 15189:2013). As you can expect, a commitment to high standards and highly educated personnel is costly, especially if you do not compromise on it. There are certain sectors in the ‘market’ that are driven by prices - which should not be a key player in our field. The importance of correct medical laboratory diagnostics is significant, more than 60% of clinical diagnosis rely on accurate diagnostics in the laboratory. We are ready to take the biggest challenge, which is to maintain the high quality. What do you think entails growth? As a Bavarian with a relatively conservative mind, I have a concern that uncontrolled growth rates can affect quality and social environment. So, I prefer to keep a reasonable growth with the possibility of the entire team to grow with it, thereby keeping a good balance of growth with optimal customer and patient service. How do you envision FML 10 years from now? If I am still alive in 10 years (despite the SZR) - Insha’Allah- and things are moving in the right direction, my vision is to provide customers and patients of Dubai and the entire UAE an even more innovative, more stable, more reliable and even more specialised German Centre of Excellence. There are always ways to improve. ◆ info@fml-dubai com Associate Prof. Dr. med. Michaela Jaksch. 29

GULF CEO 2015 KG International Head Office and Main Distribution Centre, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai. KG INTERNATIONAL puts Dubai on the Global Bearing map KG Group is a world-renowned manufacturer and distributor of bearing components. Established in 1968, the company moved to Dubai in 1988. Striving towards becoming the best performing Bearings Company in the world, KG group is a thriving business due to its transparent code of ethics. T he tiny acorn that germinated from an idea, a dream, a potential foreseen, is today a mighty oak in the shape of KG International of Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai. Sprawling over 55 countries in 5 continents, with a team size of over 100, a portfolio of over 4,000 varieties, a relationship with principals that goes back over 20 years; KGI believes in forging relationships that last. It is today one of the foremost and most respected bearing businesses in the world. The mantra till date remains commitment, quality and ethical business dealing. 30 It has taken passion, determination, steely resolve and belief to create this reality in less than 30 years in a country which was not known for engineering excellence but more for its sun, sand and shopping. The Chairman and Founder Kedarnath Gupta founded the business in India way back in 1968, and being the visionary he is, saw the potential that the Dubai offered and decided to move his business hub here in 1988. The path was fraught with difficulties as it was not easy to lure customers to Dubai for engineering products; clients preferred to visit either Hong Kong or Singapore, which was a huge export market for this industry. KGI managed to create a model - an ‘engineering supermarket’ - based on the different requirements, which attracted people especially from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Or as Gupta likes to say, “I believe our customers felt the warmth KGI exudes in comparison to companies from the Far East – perhaps it’s a cultural difference.” The company has gone from strength to

GULF CEO 2015 Kedar Gupta, Founder And Chairman and Rohit Gupta, CEO. strength since Rohit Gupta, the CEO, joined in 1995 immediately after being awarded his business programme degree from the University of Omaha. In 1999, KG International’s competence and aptitude was rewarded with an ISO 9002 certification for excellence in quality systems. It received the ISO 9001:2008 certification in the year 2006. Strategic partnerships with ISO-certified producers, manufacturing a wide range of product categories have also given the company the flexibility to cater to those customers who need customised products for specific needs. Diversity in business also leads to more opportunities and achievements. Nurturing partnerships with leading brands as well as expanding business by leveraging and building KG’s own brands has been a critical strategy for success. The company is not only a leading global entity with its own brand presence, it has partnered with colossal Japanese powerhouse NACHI Fujikoshi Corporation which, is one of the most prestigious engineering companies in Japan and its strength lies in producing Cutting Tools, Machine Tools, Hydraulic Equipment including Automatic Hydraulics; in addition to manufacturing bearings. KG Group’s partnership with NACHI has also led to the setting up of a groundbreaking unit NACHI KG Technology India Private limited for NACHI Automotive Bearing. The unit mainly caters to the Japanese Automotive OEM’s based in India. Exclusively representing NACHI in the Middle East, Africa as well as the subcontinent, KG group has also partnered with another Japanese company NTN that is among the top five producers of bearings in the world. “It is a matter of immense pride that today KG is among the top bearings companies across the region and even beyond. The company is indeed rolling ahead and gearing for newer challenges along the way,” says Rohit Gupta. Adding, he said: “We have also expanded our facilities in Europe as well as Asia; keeping in line with our guiding principal - The Movement.” Today, the company has grown to a sizably impressive annual turnover from its sprawling, 300,000 sq. ft. purpose built facility located in Jebel Ali – the Middle Eastern hub of business connecting the East with the West. The company reinvents itself, modifies its product portfolio and forges new relationships in its continual endeavour to meet the clients’ ever-changing, ever-expanding exacting needs. It has now drawn up the roadmap for future development – Vision 2020; a developmental programme that envisages a three-time growth over the sales of today and making the company a name to reckon with. The aim is to spread the footprint in countries where KGI is either dormant or passive and approach newer markets. Europe is a bastion KGI strives to conquer by offering newer product range. The latest addition to the KGI product offering is a representation from the Italian gear manufacturer – Reggiana Riduttori. This takes the company a step further in its pursuit of excellence. An endeavour that envisages KGI’s presence in every sector, leveraging its brand, building relations; growing exponentially not only in size but, in the eyes of its customers, through thoughts, ideas, behaviour and achievements. Treating each success as a milestone, KG International rolls ahead, heralding a new beginning with a freshly driven force to face every challenge and to embrace every newer opportunity that comes its way. At KGI, we believe in giving back what we are fortunate to receive – goodwill and fortune. CSR activities are an inherent part of the KGI - DNA. Be it sponsoring scholarships in the UK, attempt to scale Mt. Everest by a Portuguese aspirant, aiding special needs children on our home turf or donating special diagnostic equipment to hospitals, KGI shuns from nothing. KG International’s pursuit of excellence is an ongoing process that KG Group’s secret to success was and continues to be hard work, transparency and of course quality; but what sets it apart is its value-added proposition. In the words of the CEO, “In today’s world, irrespective of what you are selling and regardless of what the cost is – it is all about adding value, that is what sets you apart, for price and quality are usually a given. So we strive to ascertain what more in terms of value can we offer and then make sure that we consistently add to that value. That is what keeps our customers coming back to us.” ◆ 31

GULF CEO 2015 CISCO Building an IoE Business from the Gulf Caspar Herzberg, Cisco Consulting Services’ Global Vice-President, in Dubai, UAE. Fluent in many languages including Arabic, he has worked extensively in this region. Based on his experience, he relates the wealth of opportunities awaiting Mideast innovators in the connected world. I n less than a decade, the use of the word “smart” has evolved considerably, first being applied to phones, then general devices and, more recently, to watches and cars. The technology industry refers to this new paradigm as the Internet of Things (IoT), but Cisco, a major leader in this area, has spent the past few years urging governments and enterprises to consider a wider concept. IoT is just part of the story, the keystone in a bridge connecting people with technology and data, in what Cisco calls the Mother of All Market Transitions: the Internet of Everything (IoE). Caspar Herzberg, Vice President of Cisco Consulting Services, explains, IoE differs from IoT, in that, because real people are part of the model, more data is created. The subsequent benefits for business are widereaching. “In Dubai, we did a study for the Executive Office on how much value [the emirate] could generate out of applying IoE for a limited number of use cases,” says Herzberg. “For example, smart transportation, city management or healthcare digitisation. The value was around AED$1 billion just from these segments, over the next five years.” The UAE’s smart city ambitions are reflected across the Gulf region and the wider Middle East, where governments have initiated a number of projects to ease citizens’ interactions with public services. This heightened engagement in IoE led Cisco to hold its two-day Cisco Connect 32 forum in Dubai in February. An unprecedented 1,451 delegates turned out to hear what the technology leader had to say on a number of topics, all of which feed into the IoE: data centre and cloud, security, enterprise networks, mobility and collaboration. GADGETS, GIZMOS AND CONNECTIONS As connections worldwide mushroom, along with the number of device categories eligible for connection, Cisco has also played a prominent role in keeping the industry up to date on the jaw-dropping statistics associated with IoT and IoE. “I think we now expect 50 billion devices to be connected by 2020,” says Herzberg. “A couple of years ago, we thought it was going to be 10 billion.” The IoE, he explains, “forms the basis for unprecedented analyses” because of the dizzying volumes of data created. Connected devices may be growing in number, but so are connected people. As device makers compete for consumers and China’s emergent vendors make cheaper devices, market rivalry is pushing down prices for the end user. “Generally, most technological products such as computers and smartphone devices have reduced in cost in the past four years by about 10%,” says Herzberg. “Right now we have about 1.5 billion smartphones, each of which has more computing power than the cockpit of a Tornado fighter jet. But 3 billion people will have this power by 2020.” As more people get connected to the IoE, Cisco is concerned that some may be left behind. The company firmly believes in connectivity for all, and is heartened at the strides being made to this end by Gulf governments. “One of the things to watch for as the IoE unfolds is to make sure that the digital divide between the people that have a smartphone and [those that don’t] gets bridged,” says Herzberg. “I think one of the things that Gulf leaders are doing extremely well – in my view, better than in other places, including the West – is understanding how all these new technologies, and the ability to be constantly online, can positively propel the population forward.” REVENUES AND MARKETS As this propulsion gathers momentum, Cisco continues to monitor, probe and analyse the trends that IoE and IoT propagate. Herzberg describes the global value being unlocked by digital services as “staggering” and expects more and more revenue streams to become available to organisations. “We believe there is a market of $19 trillion globally between enterprise and the public sector,” he says. “About 61 use cases form the basis of this figure. For example, in banking, there is something called the

GULF CEO 2015 ‘remote mortgage advisor’ that allows banks to provide mortgage advice remotely to its customers.” As regional smart-city projects continue to spring up, Herzberg urges governments to retain a service-centric approach to their initiatives. “We focus on what is really needed in terms of services to make a smart city smart, as opposed to just starting with an infrastructure and an Internet, and that’s it. The services that help you attract tenants and businesses [are those such as] how you regulate your logistics flow and how you manage traffic avoidance. In Dubai, you don’t have to go to a police station to pay your fine, for example, you can do it with your computer. That’s actually very normal here in Dubai, but not so in a lot of other places [elsewhere in the world].” Another aspect of building smart infrastructure is a healthy respect for the dangers posed by escalating cyber-crime and hacktivism in the Middle East. “There are numerous instances of hackers being able to gain access because a network is no longer a contained space, but a space with so many access points,” Herzberg warns. “There are people who are able to enter your network, if it’s not secured, via your printer, security camera, door lock or any device that is connected. That means that not only do you need to secure and fortify your devices, you also need to constantly be within your network looking for these threats, and that is what Cisco is focusing on.” Caspar has also worked across many markets from Asia to Europe to the Americas. As a result, he brings to the present a rich perspective, comparing challenges and opportunities in this region. In addition to being a strategic location for running a global business, when it comes to smart city innovation, he believes the Gulf and Middle East governments lead the world in pioneering infrastructure concepts. “Very often, especially in the technology space, innovation happens in the West and then it comes here,” he says. “But smart city innovation started here, in the Middle East in countries such as UAE the (Dubai) and Saudi Arabia. We have been lucky to partner with real estate developers and governments here and export our knowledge, from the consulting and technology point of view, to create the digital world of tomorrow.” ◆ “We believe there is a market of $19 trillion globally between enterprise and the public sector.” Caspar Herzberg, Cisco Consulting Services’ Global Vice-President. 33

GULF CEO 2015 Firas Masri, CEO, is the co-founder of The Sand Pit in the UAE. His passion for fitness and adventure saw him realise his dream of promoting well-being through the creation of The Sand Pit. The brains behind THE SAND PIT RUN An exclusive interview with Firas Masri, CEO of The Sand Pit. W hat exactly is the Sand Pit Run? The Sand Pit is a 10km long course that has 15 obstacles scattered throughout. The obstacles and ultimately the entire course is designed to encourage teamwork as opposed to competition. Apart from the obstacles, one of the ways we do this is remove the time element so that people focus on finishing the challenge as opposed to how fast they do it or who they beat. How did you come up with the idea for The Sand Pit Run? My partner and I were always into health and fitness activities. One of the things we realised is that these kind of events tend to be really exclusive to super fitness freaks and are quite competitive and even militaristic in nature. We believed that these activities should be made so that they are accessible to everyone and be fun too. By doing it this 34 way, we are promoting the values of being healthy and active in an environment where people are encouraged to collaborate and engage with one another. There was a massive response to the Run. Were you surprised by the turnout? I was indeed surprised by how many people turned up but what got to me was the amount of positive feedback we received. One of the things we try to do is have a really engaging marketing campaign before, during and after the event. It was a big risk, however, it has worked out in the most positive of ways. The feedback has been absolutely fantastic! Of course, we received some constructive criticisms as well. Instead of ignoring or even hiding it, we are actually publically communicating our action plan to address these points. We believe this approach will yield even more positive feedback from our fans as we continue to engage with them. Who designed the course? Where did you draw inspiration from? My partner and I designed the course. We drew inspiration from several sources and our previous experience with runs. We took these lessons, learned and designed the course to be in line with our values, and, of course, unique to The Sand Pit. Like the Arabian Oryx on our logo, they work together as one large moving unit to survive the desert. The Sand Pit is designed for people who are there to be with each other, to overcome the challenge while being part of a team. When will you be organising the Sand Pit Run again? The event was on Friday the 17th, I took the day off on Saturday and started the preparations for our next event on Sunday. Our next run will be on November 6 at Al Barari. ◆

GULF CEO 2015 Elena Maralskaya, Managing Director of Avantgarde. Empowering WOMEN An exclusive interview with the Managing Director of Avantgarde, Elena Maralskaya. T ell us about the company, when was it established in the UAE? Avantgarde is an international creative agency with a focus on building engaging brand experiences that turn consumers into fans. It was founded in 1985 in Munich/Germany. Today, it operates 15 offices in 11 countries all over the world. The Dubai branch was opened in 2006. We have a formidable portfolio of clients including DP World, Ferrari, Audi, Porche, Mubadala, Emaar, Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi Media and many more. What are your core areas of expertise? We combine every aspect of creative, physical, and digital resources into engaging brand experiences – regardless of individual channels and disciplines. We develop interactive scenarios and draw the audience into the world of the brand. Avantgarde is all about cultivating an innovative approach by becoming strategic partners of high profile corporate as well as government clients. Our brand experience is all about seamlessly integrated, long term campaign planning for our long list of clients. And we do this by utilizing all relevant channels particularly in the Middle East such as product launches, staff conferences, award ceremonies, digital communication campaigns, business conferences etc. What sets your company apart from the rest? We are neither an advertising agency nor an events agency. Our people are architects, creatives, event managers, strategists, designers, digital technologists, retail experts and much more, who all work hard to create an outstanding brand experience across all touch-points and marketing disciplines. Our international network gives us access to a large set of experiences and skills. How has new media and digital technologies enabled experiential marketing? Digital technologies have changed marketing and people’s relationship with brands forever. Brands have to play a more active role beyond their products and services. Consumers want to have a strong connection and interact with a brand. Companies are getting increasingly aware that their success depends a lot more on great customer experiences than just advertising and selling a product. What strategy do you adopt to incite excitement into brand experience? We consider each briefing a challenge to create great acts of customer engagement. Our interdisciplinary and international approach enables us to combine the best and latest from different disciplines such as mobile technologies, architecture and event management into holistic experiences that people are happy to share with each other. What do you think entails engagement, and thereby creating fans? Instead of just telling their story, brands need to create truly engaging experiences that involve consumers and have them shape and retell the story themselves. Those experiences must use the right touch points, be highly relevant to the target audience, and optimised for the individual situation. What are your views on the Dubai 2020 Expo? First of all, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the UAE and specifically Dubai for achieving the Expo 2020 win. The Expo is poised to further propel this nation into economic prosperity and we are extremely excited to take part in this historic event. As we move towards 2020, I see the vision of the UAE leaders being positively and progressively translated into every segment of the business world. The world will witness the magnitude of this vision clearly illustrated in the Expo 2020. Moreover, I would also go on to add that the theme of the Expo 2020 of Connecting Minds, Creating Future’ does not only reflect the essence of this beautiful city of Dubai but is in complete sync with the ideals of Avantgarde. Completely in line with the Expo, we truly believe in creating opportunities and partnerships through an interconnected world based on constant engagement, interaction and communication. How does your day to day schedule look like as a managing director? As far as I am concerned, living in the fastpaced world of today in one of the most unique cities has given me opportunities to explore many possibilities. Here at Avantgarde Dubai, we believe in diversity and our team of people coming from different cultures and countries clearly signifies that. A typical day at work could start as early as seven in the morning with busy schedules and meetings all day long. The world of communication has seamlessly integrated itself where professionals and especially working women can find the right work rhythm. But in the end, I unwind over the weekend by meditating and doing yoga, thus maintaining work-life balance. ◆ 35

GULF CEO 2015 Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons: DIVERSIFYING TO SUCCEED M ohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons is a name synonymous with quality, diversity and elegance. The company’s story dates back to the 20th century when a dynamic visionary Mohammed Rasool Khoory decided to explore new opportunities. With an already thriving food business started by his father, the founder of Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons opted to enter a new line of exquisite watches and breathtaking jewellery. “My father was the oldest son and being a visionary gentleman, he wanted to diversify business. This is mainly why he wanted to explore new opportunities and it was because of his farsightedness that the company became associated with ROLEX – an international name of prestige and quality. We have been attached with the ROLEX brand for over 50 years now and the legacy has been handed down to us. Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons is purely a family business and is now being operated by our third generation,” says General Manager Yousef Khoory. Talking about the family-owned company, the General Manager comments: “Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons is chaired by my older brother Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Rasool Al Khoory, who also represents the board of directors. The company has undergone several phases 36 of business and it is a matter of immense pride to say that we are progressing rapidly and in line with the vision of this great city of Abu Dhabi.” The company that began with a couple of showrooms in Abu Dhabi and another in Al Ain, now currently boasts 18 branches. The secret to success, Yousef attributes to a number of reasons. “We truly have to give “Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons is purely a family business and is now being operated by our third generation.” credit to our visionary leader Shaikh Zayed Al Nahyan bin Sultan who has given every citizen of the country an opportunity to grow and progress. I can claim without a moment of doubt that we are economically robust and live in a safe environment due to the wisdom of our government as well as very wise investment. The Abu Dhabi government has ambitious plans of expansions and we have also aligned ourselves with this vision in order to grow side by side. I am proud to say that even during the time of recession, we were making profits by 25 to 30 per cent each year from 2007 to 2014.” In keeping with the family tradition and following his father’s footsteps, Yousef has big plans for diversification. With years of experience working alongside his father as well as working from the company from ground and up; learning every trick of the trade; the dynamic managing director unveiled plans of moving into the F&B hospitality sector. “We are indeed going back to our roots – the food legacy of my grandfather with a modern twist. Initially the business was all about supplying foodstuff to private and government entities, but now we have planned to move into the F&B hospitality industry. This is entirely a new route for Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons. We have made agreements with two major entities. One is a big Italian brand called Maranello offering delicious cuisine and possessing pizza patented raw materials. The second is a Turkish brand. We came across this particular opportunity by sheer coincidence. It was by chance that we discovered that one of our school friend’s family owned a 60-year old F&B hospitality business. So we put our heads together and decided to bring the

GULF CEO 2015 Yousef Khoory, General Manager, Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons. restaurant here in the UAE. There is a huge investment involved behind the restaurant 'Petek' and will be opened in about three months time. I can clearly see it becoming the biggest Turkish restaurant across the UAE. In addition to this, we have also officially launched our Sadeen brand of perfumes, which is making rounds across the capital of Abu Dhabi.” Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons has become a name to be reckoned and its success lies not only in quality but also in a coherently unifying approach of the family. By entering the new realm of F&B hospitality, the company has diversified in leaps and bounds; holding strong the promise of continually flourishing in times ahead. ◆ 37

GULF CEO 2015 Devi Jewels SHINES WITH ITS BESPOKE APPROACH To flourish in Dubai’s cutthroat diamond industry, Nirav Sanghvi, Managing Director of Devi Jewels LLC, says integrity, accountability and transparency are crucial. F or Nirav Sanghvi, Managing Director of Devi Jewels LLC, a piece of jewellery is a work of art. It is like sculpting, but using precious stones and metals as medium to create an object of beauty that evokes a statement unique to the wearer. “We put more emphasis on the designs of the jewellery we exhibit. That’s how we differentiate ourselves,” he said. While Devi Jewels also sells jewellery made by some of the industry’s most renowned brands, it is its collection of handcrafted jewellery by international emerging and established designers that has allowed it to become a cut above the rest.  “We have partnered with designers from the United States, France, The Netherlands, India and New Zealand – to name a few – to come up with bespoke pieces that our clients want. Our main focus has been to introduce new designers, who otherwise won’t have access to a market such as the UAE, while at the same time offering clients here access to such talents,” Sanghvi explained.   His company’s approach to doing business is paying off. After launching in 2008 and opening its flagship concept jewellery store at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Devi Jewels is expanding its footprint with three additional stores in the UAE. In April 2015, Devi Jewels launched its presence in Abu Dhabi’s Mushrif Mall, Fujairah’s LuLu Mall and Ras Al Khaimah’s Al Hamra Mall. Sanghvi is also open to bringing the Devi Jewels brand in other parts of the 38 GCC region and even beyond. Considering his company’s growth trajectory, the managing director seems unfazed by the relatively tough competition in the UAE’s diamond jewellery industry. “There is definitely competition, but I believe there is a market for everyone. In order to survive today’s cutthroat industry, your business must be more knowledge- than price-based. Discerning customers appreciate the keen attention to detail and the quality of a product. They value pieces of jewellery that are second to none,” he said. ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT  Sanghvi’s foray into the jewellery business is a result of the entrepreneurial streak that runs in his family. But while the Indian clan may have carved out a niche in the fields of shipping, logistics and construction, jewellery – specifically diamond and precious stones trade – remained an unchartered territory until Sanghvi stepped up to the plate.  “In our family, diversity is encouraged so it comes as no surprise that we have interests in several ventures,” he said. “I did work in the family business for two years and then decided to tread my own path.” After earning his MBA degree in the United Kingdom, Sanghvi worked for a finance company for four years. However, he was quick to admit that “the corporate environment does not suit a businessman’s son”, and found himself considering the prospect of jewellery retail. “Traditionally, getting into the jewellery business is by default – a trade passed down from one generation to the next. But in my case, it was by design. I chose to enter into this industry and go through the process of learning everything there is to know about the business,” he explained.  His decision saw him in a four-year apprenticeship with one of India’s most prominent and established jewellery companies, which boasts a history spanning 65 years. He immersed into the trade and even the recent global financial crisis was not enough to dissuade him from setting up the first Devi Jewels shop in Dubai. BUCKING THE TREND “It was difficult. The recession and I started at the same time. We went hand in hand,” Sanghvi jokes, while recalling how he tried his hand at the jewellery business just when the world’s worst financial crisis was unfolding. When asked about his impeccable timing, he answered that he just had to take the bull by the horns. “To me, there was no turning back. I told myself that as long as I keep my head down and my overheads low, and take each day as it comes rather than worrying constantly about the state of the global economy, I will survive. And I did,” he proudly said.  More importantly, Sanghvi attributes

GULF CEO 2015 “There is definitely competition, but I believe there is a market for everyone.” his company’s success to a set of guiding principles that shape the way his company does business.  “Integrity, accountability and transparency are very important, especially in our field of business. Unethical behaviour is prevalent in the diamond industry and keeping your brand’s name untainted can spell a big difference between success and failure,” he commented.  As a result, all diamonds sold by Devi Jewels are graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, coloured stones and pearls. Sanghvi also develops ties only with partners who share his business philosophy in order to safeguard the Devi Jewels brand.  GLITTERING FUTURE As part of its efforts to promote artisan designers in the UAE, Devi Jewels will hold a series of exhibitions at the DIFC. The latest of which was Masterstrokes, held on April 20, featured the collection of 174-year-old jewellery designing firm Jewels Emporium, based out of India since 1841. Sanghvi said 2015 will see “phenomenal growth” for the company, with the opening of its new stores. But in May this year, it is also expected to receive its ISO 9000 certification. The accreditation will further cement Devi Jewels’ profile as a business entity with an effective quality assurance system and internationally recognised standards. ◆  Nirav Sanghvi, Managing Director of Devi Jewels LLC. 39

GULF CEO 2015 RIVERBED: The Enabler for Hybrid Enterprises’ Optimum Application Performance Riverbed Technology is a leader in application performance infrastructure. The company has been present in the Middle East since 2008 and from its regional hub in Dubai, manages an extensive network of expertly enabled ‘focused’ channel partners who serve enterprise and public sector customers across the METNA region. Riverbed® now boasts over 25,000 global customers which includes 97% of the Fortune 100, 98% of Forbes Global 100, and 86% of Forbes Global 500. I n December 2014, the company announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by leading private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo, and Teachers’ Private Capital, the private investor department of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Thoma Bravo is a highly regarded private equity firm with deep experience in the technology industry and a 30-year track record of helping companies like Riverbed flourish. With the benefit of Thoma Bravo’s knowledge and insights, combined with the added flexibility as a private company, Riverbed will be able to focus on reaching the next level of growth across the world, including the Middle East region, which will benefit its employees, customers and partners. Riverbed has traditionally been seen as the global leader in WAN optimisation but today lays emphasis to its comprehensive ‘Application Performance Platform’. What has prompted this transformation? It is true that Riverbed’s heritage is WAN optimisation and since our establishment, Riverbed® SteelHead™ has been, and continues to be, the industry’s number one WAN optimisation solution. The expansion of our product portfolio has been a natural evolution and Riverbed remains the performance company. Our vision is to give customers the tools to create the highest performing IT environment possible, enabling users everywhere to be more productive while giving IT teams greater control over their enterprises’ technology resources. And this is where the Riverbed Application Performance Platform™ fits in. It is a suite of inter-related 40 solutions, which deliver optimisation together with visibility and control across the entire enterprise network irrespective of where the individual components are situated. Aside from the traditional three-fold benefits of bandwidth reduction, delivering LAN like performance and data centre consolidation, optimisation is now an architectural design element that shapes the very performance life-cycle of IT. Visibility is essential to providing high-level information “The expansion of our product portfolio has been a natural evolution and Riverbed remains the performance company.” for business managers and technical leaders to understand performance and how it may be impacting the organisation. This visibility must then be combined with control which gives IT departments the ability to deliver optimal utilisation of often limited resources while accounting for risk management requirements. Our transformation from being a monoproduct company focused on WAN optimisation to the provider of the most comprehensive solutions for addressing application performance has been driven by the desire to help businesses leverage the latest technology trends and initiatives, so that business objectives – not technical constraints – drive how applications and data are delivered. Riverbed has been talking about its vision for powering the ‘hybrid enterprise’. What is the hybrid enterprise and is it a message that resonates with Middle East businesses? The Hybrid Enterprise is a powerful message because, whether they know it or not, it’s something that all large organisations are geared towards becoming. Enterprise data centres today live with one foot on-premise and one in the cloud. Networks are going hybrid too, with private multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) links for mission-critical apps and the public Internet for non-critical traffic. Two years ago, 30% of companies were using an Internet connection in place of a traditional WAN link in at least one location. The number rose to 50% in 2013, and was expected to reach 55% in 2014. It is this combination of private and public assets delivering essential business services that defines the hybrid enterprise. The reason this is something that is so important to businesses in the region is because the hybrid enterprise is the new normal. The hybrid approach brings significant benefits to organisations, allowing them to leverage the agility, flexibility and cost effectiveness of IT. Businesses employing the hybrid model can turn CapEx into far more manageable OpEx while reducing their dependence on fixed infrastructure. However, it also brings with it challenges which call for visibility, control, and optimisation to be

GULF CEO 2015 delivered across hybrid clouds and networks to ensure that all on-premises, cloud, and SaaS applications perform to the SLAs determined by the business. Cloud computing and cloud services are a key interest area for Middle East businesses. How does Riverbed see itself being a part of the cloud equation? According to Gartner, the public cloud services market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is set to grow 17.1% in 2015 to total $851 million, up from an estimated $727 million in 2014. And it isn’t coincidental that the rise of cloud computing parallels the modern explosive growth of information – more resources are available to more people through more ways than ever before. However, for cloud services to actually contribute to employee productivity, they have to deliver the same degree of responsiveness as when the application is executed locally on the users own PC or hosted in a data centre that the user is connected to via their Local Area Network (LAN). Unfortunately, most businesses realise that distance and the hybrid environment injects time into end-users’ cloud sessions, often inhibiting the ability to work and creating frustration. So clearly, optimising and controlling applications is a key element of a successful cloud deployment. Integrating public and private services with optimised connectivity is the essence of the hybrid cloud environment. Riverbed enables this business agility with a comprehensive range of high performance solutions for the hybrid cloud including WAN optimisation, network and application performance management, and branch converged infrastructure. How would you convince CEOs of the need to invest in IT networking technologies. How do these IT investments translate to tangible business benefits? IT investments should always be driven by business objectives and most organisations have three basic goals, which are to increase profits or productivity; reduce costs; and manage risk. IT continually works to support these goals and the hybrid enterprise addresses all three objectives in the following manner: INCREASE PROFITS OR PRODUCTIVITY The development and delivery of applications is today essential to discovering and supporting new revenue streams, which in turn drives profit expansion. But new applications and services require seamless delivery in order to maximise user productivity. Key enabling technologies, such as WAN optimisation and network performance management ensure applications perform without inhibiting user productivity. systems with many layers of redundancy. The hybrid enterprise model supports consolidation of resources, driving out underutilisation inefficiencies of a distributed environment. It allows for efficient, on-demand provisioning of resources, reducing the need for redundant, pre-provisioned capacity; and may allow for inter-cloud brokering models to further reduce per unit costs in the future. MANAGE RISK Unprotected systems and mismanaged, distributed architectures increase the risk of a negative impact on the business from data loss and system failures. Private and public cloud models support securely consolidating, replicating and automating systems management for reduced risk of unavailability, while also improving the cost and efficiency of broader system protection. The network is the backbone upon which all applications are delivered so justifying the need for network investments is simply a matter of making CEOs understand just how critical it is to achieving these business objectives. ◆ REDUCE COSTS IT procurement has driven over-capacity buying for three primary reasons: 1) to support a distributed, underutilised infrastructure that meets performance requirements; 2) to support peak demand for resources, and; 3) to adequately protect Taj ElKhayat, Regional Vice President, Middle East, Turkey, North, West, and Central Africa at Riverbed Technology. 41

GULF CEO 2015 Links Insurance Brokers THINKS BIG Personalised service, honest advice and transparency allowed the firm to achieve an 85% CAGR over the past four years, says General Manager Taline Vahanian. H ow did you start in the insurance industry? What was it like to be at the helm of a company such as Links Insurance Brokers for more than five years? I studied Finance at the University of Alberta and like many young graduates, I did not know exactly what career I wanted to pursue. I was, however, lucky enough to land a job as a sales assistant at Wehbe Insurance Services in 2006 and absorbed as much about the insurance industry as I could. When I started feeling that I could be more than an assistant, I challenged my boss to let me sell. The rest, as they say, is history! Helping grow Links Insurance Brokers has been a very fulfilling learning experience for me. We have a great team in place and we’re all very optimistic about what the future holds. How did Links Insurance Brokers come about? Our shareholders, Mohammed and Essa Farooq, acquired an existing broker’s licence in 2009 and recruited me to help set the company up. The economy wasn’t doing very well then, but we still believed there was an opportunity to offer corporate clients high levels of bespoke service. We started off by advising on employee benefits and general insurance and like any young company, we experienced (and still do!) our fair share of growing pains. We’re still very much an underdog, but today we offer a suite of products and services to a wide spectrum of corporate and individual clients. How do you see Links Insurance differentiating itself in a highly competitive environment such as the UAE? As a small company with a relatively small sales force, we have to play to our strengths, namely our ability to offer our clients a great customer experience regardless of how big or small they are. Personalised service, honest advice and transparency in everything we do all play important roles in this and we’ll continue to push ourselves to do better in these respects as we continue to grow. Since the company was established, what has been your average annual growth rate? What are your major achievements in the industry? In 2009 when we took over this business, we only had four corporate clients. Today, this number is an order of magnitude bigger, and over the last four years we have achieved a compound annual growth rate of around 85%. The achievements we are most proud of are the fact that we now compete with top industry players, we employ 60 people and we have made our first moves into the retail insurance space. How do you plan to further grow the company? The use of technology is going to be a major driver of efficiencies and growth for us because the insurance industry is, in a lot of ways, still very traditional in nature. We will also start investing more in marketing our brand because all of our growth to date has been through word-of-mouth and referrals. Finally, we will be making a concerted effort to diversify our client base and grow the consumer retail insurance side of the business. Our presence at two ENOC Tasjeel vehicle registration centres is a good example of this. It is certainly not going to be easy, but I’m confident that we have the team in place to make good things happen for Links Insurance Brokers. ◆ 42 Taline Vahanian, General Manager.

GULF CEO 2015 "ONLYGLASS" offers a fresh take on ADVERTISING Eng. Khalid El-Borno, Head of ONLYGLASS’ Regional Office, says their technology has given media façade a more striking appeal. M edia façade is nothing new in the advertising world. It’s what gives New York’s Time Square, London’s Piccadilly Circus and Las Vegas’ The Strip the oomph that makes them dynamic, colourful and bright destinations. Simply put, media façades turn buildings into landmark advertising medium, transforming the urban landscape and gives architecture a fascinating interface. But German-based ONLYGLASS, the creator and manufacturer of this innovative hightechnology product that is integrated LEDs into glass façades, is redefining the way building owners, investors, advertisers and consumers view media façades. As Eng. Khalid El-Borno, Head of the Regional Office of ONLYGLASS, explains, “Our solutions address advertising in a unique way. By integrating LED lights into the cavity of an insulating glass panel (such as in a double-glazed glass), we are able to transform an entire building façade into a giant LED screen.” A screen that is invisible when shut off; therefore it would not affect the aesthetic look of the building or its architecture in any way, shape or form, and has negligible weight, meaning it would not require any particular structural support. The ONLYGLASS Media Façade product incorporates long-life LEDs. They offer highresolution images, consume less energy, can be customised into any dimension and are IP68 certified, which is an International Protection code that guarantees the material can withstand any weather condition. Most importantly, El-Borno says, because the ONLYGLASS Media Façade panels are built to be transparent, they do not distract or obstruct the view of the building inhabitants even when the advertisement is switched on. Natural light can also enter the building. With this technology, which took ONLYGLASS few years to develop, the building glass façade becomes not only a reflection of good aesthetic and stylish look, but also a major revenue-generating unit rather than just being a cost centre for building owners. This medium can also be used to give the façade a different colourful decorative look as often as the owners want, Eng. Khalid El-Borno, Head of OnlyGlass’ Regional Office. obviously during the times the screen is not used for advertising. All this makes the building a well-observed landmark that gives a boost to the value of the property, El-Borno adds. to investors across the GCC is the convenience of maintaining and operating the technology, which can be performed remotely. WARM RECEPTION El-Borno forecasts that the company’s regional office looks very promising in 2015 and 2016, and that ONLYGLASS will acquire few contracts, that would bring this eye catching product forward as a new very powerful Media tool for advertisers, a tool that creates a landmark and brings revenue to the investor and/or to the building owner. He admits that 2012 and 2013 have been difficult in terms of timing for launching this unique product, as the effect of economic crises were still affecting advertising budgets and hence preventing investors in investing in new media tools. “It is a very niche segment. In places like Dubai or Abu Dhabi, for example, it would be considered a major success to fill 7-10 buildings with our panels. If we reach that level, our manufacturing facility in Germany would have to play catch-up with the demand,” he enthuses. ◆ Since launching the product in the GCC, ONLYGLASS has received very encouraging feedback from regional investors. El-Borno confirms that the company has a number of obligations coming up in the UAE and Qatar in the coming months. As part of the company’s end-to-end solution to customers, the regional head says that they have partnered with some of the region’s major advertising companies, which will work towards maximising the full potential of the media façade for the building owners. “Our advertising agency partners can guarantee building owners get a return on their investments within a maximum of 1.5 years, which obviously is a very promising proposition for investors,” El-Borno mentions. Another feature that has made the ONLYGLASS Media Façade panels attractive BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD 43

GULF CEO 2015 THE NETWORKED SOCIETY: Transforming the ICT landscape In 2015 Ericsson further commits to exploring new avenues for connectivity where everything that can be connected will be, while enabling industries to transform their products and services in order to offer their customers better connectivity and optimised performance, ensuring a more robust ICT infrastructure. A cross the Middle East, governments have launched initiatives to explore the potential of a connected society through e- and m-Government programs and smart city projects. Could you tell us how you’re partnering with the region’s private and public sectors in promoting Ericsson’s Networked Society concept? At Ericsson, we believe in the Networked Society in which everyone and everything will be connected in real time. We also believe that we are at an inflection point of an ICT transformation and together with our partners we strive to lead on this transformation. All this brings tremendous opportunities where ubiquitous connectivity has the potential to revolutionise the provision of public services such as energy, water and sewage – commonly referred to as utilities. As a contribution to the smart city vision, Ericsson has partnered up with Philips to create smart LED street lighting, thus enabling network providers to offer improved citywide mobile broadband and app coverage. Furthermore, utilities in the Middle East are set to benefit from our state-of-the-art smart metering solutions designed to create smart grid environments in cities across the region; smart energy networks capable of handling large amounts of data resulting in an efficient grid with lower energy consumption. In February 2015, we have partnered with Landys+Gyr, global provider of energy management solutions, to address the Middle East’s Smart Metering and Smart Grid transformation projects. In addition, in 2014 we have partnered with the Ministry of Electricity in Egypt to provide end-to-end telecom solutions and services for 180 electricity sites in Upper and Middle Egypt on a turnkey basis. Our biggest efforts can be seen across the 44 Automotive, Intelligent Transport system and Utilities industries; however, we have identified a need for improved solutions in the Education, Health and even Citizen Engagement sectors. The smart cities of tomorrow, will require more open innovation and bridges have to be built between the corporate world, government, municipalities and startups. “At Ericsson, we believe in the Networked Society in which everyone and everything will be connected in real time.” Smartphone and Internet penetration rates in the Middle East, especially the GCC, are some of the highest in the world. What opportunities do you see in a thriving market such as the Middle East and how can Ericsson exploit these prospects? IT and telecoms are already rapidly combining to transform all areas of citizens’ lives, affecting people, business and society. For example, the number of UAE mobile subscribers grew by 50%, from 9.4 million to 14.8 million, between 2009 and 2014, and mobile broadband networks account for 55% of total mobile connections. In addition to this growth, the expansion of high-speed data accessibility, mobile communications, cloud computing and sensors across the city will increase citizens’ proximity to government agencies as well as foster urban inclusion. With an increase in connectivity, we will see improvement in convenience, as citizens are connected to everything important to them through the smart devices they carry. Homes, buildings, entire districts, government facilities, utilities, roadways and more will all be connected in a society that is transformed through being empowered by convenience. This will drive competitiveness by increasing productivity and fostering a knowledge-based environment in which everyone wins. Opportunities are endless and we can exploit those prospects by partnering with operator and non-operator customers. For this reason, we say we are enabling change makers in a rapidly transforming industry. Last year, Ericsson acquired three ICT companies (Apcera, Metra Tech and Sentilla). How do you see these recent acquisitions helping to raise Ericsson’s profile in the Middle East enterprise cloud management market? Our focus so far has been mainly on achieving overall acquisition targets and providing support to operator-led incubators. Today, Ericsson is heavily investing in cloud acquisitions – these, in turn, can help us ensure a safer and more robust cloud infrastructure. Last year, in partnership with Facebook, we inaugurated an innovation lab that focuses on application performance. We have also supported operator-based initiatives such as AT&T Foundry or AT&T Drive studio, which offer an operator-based incubation environment for new technologies and solutions. More recently, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona we announced a strategic partnership with chipmaker Intel, we want to help network operators build data centres that will put them on a more equal footing with big cloud companies such as Google and Amazon. We plan on building data centre equipment, which will perform at the same level as many

GULF CEO 2015 Rafiah Ibrahim, President of Ericsson Region Middle East and North East Africa. of the big cloud providers.   What are your biggest growth markets in the MENA region? This year has seen an enormous growth in LTE (4G) in the Middle East. The GCC has especially seen this exponential growth with shipments of 4G LTE enabled technology. We are addressing this by partnering up with various network providers in the GCC, like Ooredoo in Kuwait, and introducing out integrated LTE advanced small cells into the LTE network. We also see tremendous potential when it comes to operations support systems/ business support systems (OSS/BSS), managed services and machine-to-machine (M2M). In fact, we can witness a growing trend with operators shifting their strategies from network-centric to consumer-centric, putting a greater emphasis on user experience and customer relationships and enhancing innovation, agility and speed. We believe that managed services will optimise networks and customer experience, and that solutions such as M2M will provide alternative revenue streams for operators. At the same time, and in light with the ICT convergence between telecoms, media and other industries, Ericsson is uniquely positioned at the centre of this convergence. We are currently working to support the different enterprises, broadcasters and service providers in the region with our innovation in this area. There is so much more going on and these are just a handful of areas that we cover.  How do you, as President of Ericsson’s operations in the Middle East and East Africa, plan to further strengthen the company’s position in the regional ICT sector in the coming years? Our focus continues to be on driving the transformation towards the Networked Society through mobility, in the region and beyond. In order to achieve this, however, we need to continue to work hand-in-hand with our customers to further develop their infrastructures and provide them with cutting-edge network technology solutions. We will continue our transformation into this new era of ICT. We still want to improve, expand and excel our core business; telecom services and radio, core and transmission. However, this year we are looking to establish and cement ourselves as the leaders in various sectors of ICT including industry and society, TV and media and IP networks. Finally, we want to expand into new areas such cloud computing and the emerging multi cloud. Ultimately, our goal is to cement our position as a leading network equipment and software provider as well as continue to deliver operational and service excellence. ◆ 45

GULF CEO 2015 Directing EFFICIENCY! Founder and CEO, Office Direct, Vishal Mahtani explains the importance of keeping companies fully stocked and supplied for business success. T ell us about Office Direct? Office Direct was founded in 2010 in Dubai. We realised at that point in time that there was no proper stationery business in this country. Every time, a company needed office equipment and stationery, they went to ten different shops or had to run to small shops in Bur Dubai or Deira to get them. Following a concept out of the UK with a similar name to ours, we came up with Office Direct. It is a one-stop online shop for office supplies and stationery that offers convenience and ease of mind to company owners big and small, who can concentrate on their business without worrying about the basic running of their office. Now people can visit our website, order online and get a fast, efficient delivery within 24 hours, without the hassle of actually going out and spending a day scouting for office supplies. So we help businesses save money through our highly competitive rates, without employing manpower and, most importantly, enable them to save time. What are your core areas of expertise? We provide convenience as much as we provide products. Our core areas of expertise would be convenience and logistics that we offer to our customers. If we receive an order before 11am the morning, we deliver on the same day. So if we consider a company located in Jebel Ali or JLT, it will take them more time to buy supplies from say Bur Dubai without the guarantee of products arriving on the same day. In contrast, we deliver exactly what is ordered with less time and greater efficiency. So more than anything else, our expertise is the convenience that we are providing to our customers. What are Office Direct’s biggest milestones? We have moved up from 20 odd clients in the first year to having over 700 regular clients. We do almost 35 to 40 deliveries in a single day. We cover all the way from Jebel Ali to Al Nahda, virtually including the entire length of Dubai, 46 incorporating Dubailand, Silicon Oasis, etc. I would say the biggest milestone that we have achieved is the highly positive feedback from our returning clients. “Our competitive edge over others is price, efficiency and speed.” What are your plans for expansion? We plan to expand because of the increased demand of customers and the rising numbers of our clientele. Strategically targeting areawise, we are currently focusing Sheikh Zayed Road as it has more than 7,000 offices. There is absolutely no office supply office catering to this area, JLT or Media City. Basically, all office locales are our main focus as there is a complete void as far as office supplies are concerned. Comment on the UAE market as far as your industry is concerned? We started at a time which was the dead center of the recession so we have only seen an upsurge from that moment onwards. I see a very positive vibe in the market. How do you see your business in light of the Expo 2020? Dubai Expo 2020 will definitely have a long term impact on Office Direct. The World Expo is poised to bring in more business to Dubai and as a consequence, it is sure to make a significant impression on Office Direct. I believe being in the market, it will enable us to get more clients. Moreover, with international businesses coming in they will seek local services such as ours to support them logistically and efficiently. They would rather opt for Office Direct to help them in the most basic running of the offices, lowering costs and elevating efficiency. ◆ Vishal Mahtani, Founder and CEO, Office Direct.

GULF CEO 2015 Eng. Saif Ahmed Kameel Al Blooshi, Chief Project Officer, Tamouh and Acting General Manager at Wadi Adventures. WADI ADVENTURE: Redefining a Healthy Lifestyle Wadi Adventure is a fun-filled adventure park that invites people of all ages to activate a healthy and more wholesome lifestyle, reveals Eng. Saif Ahmed Kameel Al Blooshi, Chief Project Officer, Tamouh and Acting General Manager at Wadi Adventures. T ell us about Wadi Adventure, when was it established? Wadi Adventure is the Middle East’s first manmade white water rafting, kayaking, surfing and wakeboarding facility, which officially opened doors to the public in January 2012. It is ideally located in the garden city of Al Ain at the base of Jebel Hafeet. Only an hour and a half away from Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi, Wadi Adventure is truly a unique entertaining destination for the local and international communities. What is the idea behind Wadi Adventure? Here at Wadi Adventure, we believe leading a healthy, wholesome and active lifestyle can be fun. In this day and age, when we sit all day in front of our computers, it has become critical to activate and transform a sedentary lifestyle by introducing vigorous activities that are both entertaining and healthy. This goes for kids too who are either glued to their seats watching TV or playing the XBOX. The UAE is ranked amongst the top four countries for diabetes. We believe we can change that number for the better by encouraging our population to come and have fun in order to stay vibrant and fit. There is no other facility across the Middle East that can be compared to Wadi Adventure. What does Wadi Adventure offer to its guests? Open every day of the year, this adrenalinefilled adventure park features a variety of activities to satisfy adventure enthusiasts as well as families. Our well-prepared and trained team can also organise corporate team building events, birthdays and large events. Three world class whitewater rafting and kayaking runs with a combined length of 1,133 metres, making it the longest man made river in the world, guaranteeing excitement. Thrill seekers can experience a fully customisable, state-of-the-art surf pool that generates waves every 90 seconds up to 3.3 metres high with a manmade beach puts it second to none. In addition to this, a newly-added Wake Park has been launched in one of the parks’ lakes built to give a unique and uplifting experience that no other park in the world. What has been the most memorable moments in Wadi Adventure’s history? It is a matter of immense pride to say that we have successfully created a world- class brand and have been honoured with a number of awards including the SPIA Silver Award. It is a great achievement for Wadi Adventure to compete and be at par with some of the biggest names globally within a very short span of time. We have established our brand as a leading international sports hub, attracting the best athletes and events from all around the world, who come here to enjoy some of the finest facilities on the planet. What is the role of enterprise like Wadi Adventure in the business and tourism landscape, especially in the Middle East? The Middle East has recently witnessed considerable progress in the parks and entertainment sectors, quite evident by the number of mega-theme park projects either in planning, construction or near completion mode. This endeavour marks a new era for the region, pushing competition to a higher level. Talking about Wadi Adventures in particular, we are different from the rest because we believe in activating a fun-filled, safe, and most importantly, a healthy lifestyle for adults as well as kids with a range of activities unlike any other. ◆ 47

GULF CEO 2015 Palm Marina. Port Louis Marina. Villa Hotel project. Marinetek FLOATING JETTIES Simon Arrol Group Marina Consultant. H eadquartered in Finland and with a track record spanning 25 years and 35 countries, Marinetek has made a name for itself in the Middle East during the past 10 years. Based in Dubai, it launched its operations in 2005 by providing marina pontoons for Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah. Yachtsmen on the Palm enjoy what are believed to be the first ever 6m-wide marina pontoons. Simon Arrol, who is the company’s Group Marina Consultant and also their Technical Manager for MENA operations, gave Gulf CEO some insights into the products. For the uninitiated, please would you explain what you mean by a “pontoon”? Pontoon is the name commonly given to one of the units that goes to make up a floating jetty. In our case, the pontoons are made of reinforced concrete and come in lengths of between 12m and 20m, and widths of between 2m and 6m. But how do your pontoons float as concrete is heavier than water? A ship is made of steel, which is even heavier than concrete, yet a ship floats! Inside the concrete outer layer of our pontoons is a huge volume of expanded polystyrene foam and this provides the buoyancy and makes the units unsinkable. 48 Please describe the traditional applications of Marinetek’s products. Our traditional business is providing pontoons for yacht marinas, and we have completed more than 2,500 projects worldwide. In addition to the Palm Island marinas, some notable projects in recent years include Grand Harbour Marina in Malta, Port Hercules in Monaco, and Port Louis in Grenada. These marinas differ greatly from one another but share a common ability to berth superyachts up to about 100m in length. In the Gulf in particular, government departments and consultants have increasingly recognised that a Marinetek pontoon jetty is much cheaper and faster to build than a fixed jetty. A floating jetty also has the massive advantage that it rises and falls with the tide so that embarkation and disembarkation from a boat is much easier and safer than climbing up a quay wall. So for berthing applications like Coastguard, Navy, harbour tugs, and fishing boats the pontoon jetty is nearly always the most costeffective, most convenient, and the safest solution. And some non-traditional applications? We have seen an increasing regional interest in floating facilities. Just before the 2008 recession, we had a number of exciting projects on the drawing board, including a floating villa-hotel complex. In Europe we, design and build floating chalets, swimming arenas, bridges, breakwaters, and rowing courses. How would you define the advantages of your pontoons? Like almost all businesses, we find ourselves in a competitive market, but our pontoons do offer a number of advantages compared to those made from different materials. Firstly, our concrete pontoons are extremely heavy and this makes them ultra-stable. In fact walking on our jetties is almost like walking on dry land; they hardly move! Secondly, due to their massive weight and strength, our floating jetties can berth large vessels. Marinetek’s marinas routinely berth 70m - 90m superyachts, and also Coastguard vessels, fishing boats, etc. Thirdly, concrete is a material that requires almost no maintenance, and it is unaffected by the strong sunlight and damaging Ultra-Violet rays we experience in this region. And fourthly, the concrete deck is a highly slip-resistant surface, and this absolutely minimises the risk of any accidents. ◆

GULF CAVOTEC CEO 2015 Inspired Engineering Across the Middle East Cavotec is a global engineering group that enables industries worldwide to improve productivity, safety and sustainability. T he group delivers power transmission, distribution and control technologies that form a seamless link between fixed and mobile equipment in the Ports & Maritime, Airports, Mining & Tunnelling and General Industry sectors. One of the Group’s regional arms, Cavotec Middle East, is headquartered in Jebel Ali, Dubai, and works closely with customers in the Middle East and beyond to improve operational efficiency in a variety of sectors. “Cavotec Middle East is one of the very few companies that was established in Jebel Ali. We currently own a 3,600-sqm warehouse and have offices in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar, enabling us to cover the entire wider region. Our regional operations are supported by 80 highly experienced personnel,” says Juergen Strommer, Chief Operating Officer, Cavotec EMEA, (Europe, Middle East & Africa). The company places very strong emphasis on innovation and quality, ensuring that its solutions help customers improve their operations in terms of safety, efficiency and environmental impact. “Cavotec has nine Centres of Excellence, where we develop new technologies and products, and have a truly global presence through our sales companies located in 35 countries worldwide. The Group is divided into four market units: Ports & Maritime, Airports, Mining & Tunnelling and General Industry. In the Middle East, we focus primarily on the aviation, maritime, and oil & gas sectors. The majority of our systems are used to power and operate mobile equipment. In the airports sector, we provide innovative turnkey ground support equipment, which supply aircraft with essential services such as pre-conditioned air, electrical power, water and fuel,” adds Strommer. Cavotec has a clear vision for success. With a global network of highly experienced engineers, backed by local expert knowledge, the company works closely with customers and industry bodies. “Having started its operations with a strong ports focus, Cavotec Middle East has since successfully diversified into a variety of other segments such as construction. Fundamentally, however, the company has always remained close to its core clients such as DP World, Dubai Airports, the Port of Salalah and Abu Dhabi Ports. We are the only company in the region that offers a complete turnkey service for the aviation sector – right from the design phase, production, delivery, installation, commissioning and after sales service. With our engineers across the region, we are ideally placed to service new and existing installations,” explains Strommer. Elaborating on Cavotec’s state-of-the-art systems in the region, Strommer says: “We have successfully installed our vacuum-based MoorMaster™ automated mooring system at ports in Lebanon and Oman.” MoorMaster™ is a vacuum-based automated mooring technology that eliminates the need for conventional mooring lines. Remote controlled vacuum pads recessed in, or mounted on, the quayside, moor and release vessels in seconds. The technology dramatically improves safety and operational efficiency, and also enables ports to make infrastructure savings. It has performed more than 100,000 mooring operations at ferry, bulk handling, Ro-Ro, container and lock applications around the world. Cavotec also supports its customers to reduce environmental impact. “The Airports and Ports & Maritime segments are both actively taking steps to become more ecofriendly. There are dual drivers here to progress: Firstly the willingness to reduce environmental impact itself, and also the economic arguments associated with improving fuel economy and improving turnaround times. We are working closely with customers, understand the challenges that they face and are tailoring our offering accordingly for these segments,” he explains. The airports, ports and energy sectors have grown substantially in recent decades. In addition, the Middle East has not only invested heavily but has also experienced an upward trend as far as infrastructure development is concerned. “If you look at UAE , KSA, Oman,, Qatar and Kuwait, all are expanding their infrastructure to cater to growing demand. This is an area where we are especially strong. We see this as an area with considerable potential and we will continue to focus on it in future,” says Strommer. Cavotec’s success is, in part, based on investing in long-term relationships “that drive projects forward and help improve safety, efficiency and sustainability at a vast diversity of applications worldwide.” Strommer concludes: “The Middle East market has provided ample opportunities, especially for Cavotec. It is a buoyant market despite all the challenges and difficulties affecting the region. Considering this, I feel that the Middle East is doing well, and we hope to see the region develop strongly over the next few years.” ◆ Juergen Strommer, Chief Operating Officer, Cavotec EMEA. 49

GULF CEO 2015 Appetite for Gold REMAINS STRONG Interview with the Chief Executive Officer, Andre Gauthier T ell us something about GOLD AE how was it started? GOLD AE was initially started as a family business in 2008. The business was introduced with the concept to integrate trading in precious metals with latest IT applications. Through this model, the customers are able to trade through online trading platform directly from where ever they are. This concept was new to this market and was appreciated by both corporate and individual customers. Today, the current position of business is an evidence about the success of this idea. At present the society is present in various countries including Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and Switzerland.  What are your core areas of expertise and your main offerings? We have expertise in two main sectors. The first is, trading expertise in precious metals with specific focus on Gold and Silver bullion trading. We have chosen this 50 sector proactively with an experienced team of highly skilled professionals.  Secondly, we have expertise in IT with an electronic platform developed according to state of the art Information Technology platform that allows customers to conduct trading on real time basis “This concept was new to this market and was appreciated by both corporate and individual customers.” and on international active prices directly managed by London Bullion Market Association. Through the unique combination of bullion trading and IT management, we offer competitive services and products to our customers and contributie in this economy consistently.   Comment on the Middle Eastern market and by extension the UAE as far as your sector is concerned? There is no doubt that the future of the economy lies in the Middle East and in the Asian region and Dubai is a favorite hub for gold and silver bullion trading. Further, it is clearly evident that the center of Middle East is the UAE, due to its strategic location and economic contribution. Dubai, for this type of business, because it has an appetite to earn customer confidence over new methods of business. Currently, 50% of world’s gold trading is routed through Dubai, which makes this state an unavoidable icon in the core circle of gold industry in the world. We believe that initiatives of Dubai Multi Commodities Authority (DMCC) and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in collaboration with Dubai government would allow this sector to flourish with leap and bounds. ◆

GULF CEO 2015 A Subsidiary of Gold Holding Ltd. Office Suite 1506, Saba Tower-1, Cluster E, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, P O Box 53509, Dubai - United Arab Emirates. Tel: +971 4 4473635, Fax: +971 4 4473634, Email: 800 465323 UAE | KSA | QATAR | KUWAIT | JORDAN | TURKEY | EGYPT | SWITZERLAND 51

GULF CEO 2015 VingCard Elsafe THE WORLDWIDE LEADER IN GUESTROOM SECURITY AND ENERGY MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS FOR THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY VingCard Elsafe isone of the world’s leading provider of electronic security solutions designed to keep your facility, staff and surroundings safe, while making your operation more efficient.  S ince introducing the world’s first recordable lock in 1979, our decades of experience and expertise in the hospitality industry has equipped us with the extensive, specialised knowledge and global resources to meet the security technology needs of any large commercial facility in a variety of industries. With products installed in more than 42,000 properties worldwide, securing in excess of 7 million hotel rooms, VingCard Elsafe continues to offer advanced technology solutions that provide security and peace of mind for both hospitality providers and their guests. With the industry’s largest, most advanced selection of electronic locking solutions, VingCard offers a choice of magstripe, smartcard, and RFID locks that are compatible with the main ISO standards, as well as NFC-compatible locks and fully integrated PMS interface solutions. VingCard Elsafe is also a world leader in mobile access solutions, and is now revolutionising the market with the first BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) solution for mobile phone-based access control. This innovative solution allows you to stay ahead of market trends, whilst providing convenience and security for guests and hotels. The smartphone has become a central part of our lives, and hotel guests increasingly expect smart mobile devices to be the basis for their travel experiences. Studies show, for instance, that more than 70% of hotel guests would prefer to use their mobile phones to check-in and securely access their hotel rooms. Mobile Access solutions from ASSA ABLOY Hospitality, are designed to help you to address these needs by making VingCard RFID locks at your property operable with mobile devices through BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology. This adds great value to the guest experience by removing queuing for check- in and keycard encoding, and it also has the potential to boost your overall profitability by adding value and relevance to your hotel’s general app-based and mobile communication strategies. Supplying over half the world’s in-room safes, Elsafe offers the most advanced audit trail, modular design and upgradeable technology to suit any budgetary requirement, and provides the industry’s only UL-listed (1037) hotel safe series on the market today, in both keypad and card-based models. Orion by VingCard Elsafe is the new Energy Management Solution (EMS) that offers savings by degrees, while ensuring guest comfort. Orion detects guest presence in the room and allows you to control and manage your A/C cost while rooms are unoccupied, monitoring and maintaining the same temperature comfort level when they return to their rooms. Orion by VingCard Elsafe dramatically helps you improve your environmental and green initiatives and contributes to the reduction of global warming.  VingCard Elsafe is your true global partner, dedicated to providing advanced security systems and peace of mind. As part of the ASSA ABLOY Group, a publicly listed company on the Swedish stock exchange, our extensive international service and support network spans more than 166 countries. ◆ 52 For more information, please visit Manit Narang, Vice-President Middle East, Africa, and India.

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GULF CEO 2015 Accurate, Updated and Consistent, Local listings and smart city map with 2GIS.AE Y ou have recently launched a project called ‘2GIS’ in Dubai. Most people in Dubai are aware of your product. Could you tell us all about the company and product 2GIS to our readers who are still not familiar with it? Product 2GIS is a business listing, integrated into 3D card. Or more simply, it’s like combining Google, Apple and Nokia maps with directories like Yellow Pages and adding in much more and detailed information to it. We have created a unique and united geoinformational product, 2GIS. Now residents and visitors of Dubai can find any service, institution, a company location and even the entrance to it, the beach, cafe and restaurant, public transport stops etc, plus get directions to it. You can figure out companies and services along with locations in a click or simply type in the name in the search. It is convenient to search by category too. (ATM, restaurants, hotels, pharmacies, companies, etc.). Brand 2GIS is a fast growing international company, that covers more than 300 cities in 8 countries and has more than 50 million regular users worldwide. What are the problems 2GIS is solving for Dubai residents? Out of all the cities in the world, Dubai and its residents have to assess 2GIS to the fullest extent. Do you know any city in the world with such a growth rate, the volume of construction and specific gravity of visiting expats and tourists? New street names, buildings and towers, new restaurants, services and companies. How do people navigate in the ever-changing city, and where to get information? Fortunately, now the answer is obvious – its 2GIS Dubai. So 2GIS knows everything about Dubai. Where do you get all this information? We collect Information and construct maps in-house, all by ourselves. As part of our production department, we have a mapping and information department as well as a call centre. Employees of these departments provide 2GIS with all information, collect data on each building and the companies inside it. All the ground work is done manually by visiting each building. Then our call centre 54 verifies this information for further usage. The purpose of these departments is to collect all the data to update it four times a year. It is a very important process as Dubai is a fast growing and changing city. Every month we make changes to the database and if you use our mobile application, you need to update the database in settings once every month. Currently, our listing contains over 100,000 companies in Dubai. One of the main benefits of 2GIS is providing accurate information whether it’s concerning information on companies (contact details, location, working hours, etc.) or the map. Our product users get the latest of information absolutely free and the 2GIS application is available across all platforms (Online/Mobile/PC). One of the biggest benefits is that all 2GIS products work offline too. What are your plans for growth and development 2GIS for the nearest future? We have a two-way approach to it; a quality product growth and geographic expansion of our service. In the next few months we will release a new version of mobile application. Our users will get a new interface, improved search, and a full navigation system. We are working on improving the quality and the quantity of information in our product. We are also working on the possibility of developing indoor navigation for malls and airports, exhibition centres and possibly Expo in our application. As far as growth plans are concerned, in the nearest future we will launch Sharjah and Ajman and by next year we will open in Abu Dhabi. The next 5 – 7 years will witness robust growth plans to cover all the countries in GCC. Over the next 12 – 18 months what challenges do you see for 2GIS and the tech industry in the region? Our objective is to be the leading firm in the region providing business listings and smart maps along with an objective to acquire substantial market share. In this respect lot of efforts, product developments, and constant interaction with our users will be needed as to develop what will meet and even exceed their expectations. Besides, the technology keeps on developing and changing, hence while we will strive to lead the market, we need to keep a close eye on the various technological developments and trends. What is regular day at work like as the President of 2GIS? My days are never the same. But I do ensure to have a morning meeting with the various heads of departments, as well as a monthly brainstorming session to explore the best means of developing the business. What concerns me the most is to ensure that my vision is being translated into proper strategies and plans, and these plans get in a timely manner implemented. ◆ AKOP OVSEPIAN PRESIDENT OF 2GIS.AE.


GULF CEO 2015 BANK OF BARODA Banking Beyond Boundaries An interview with the Chief Executive, GCC Operations, Lalit Mohan Asthana. W hat are your core areas of expertise and your main offerings? Bank of Baroda started its operation in the year 1974 since then; bank has established various specialized outfits like Retail Banking Shoppe, SME Loan Factory, Corporate Banking Unit, Syndication Centre, Centralised Trade Finance, state-of-the-Art Treasury Operations and special NRI desk to offer entire gamut of financial services to its customers. Bank of Baroda is a one stop shop for all banking solutions. Syndication and trade finance are our main focus areas however, now we have added more focus on SME and retail finance as well. What are your expansion and growth plans over the next couple of years? Presently, Bank of Baroda has 5194 Interconnected Domestic branches in India and 104 overseas offices in 24 countries across the globe. Bank of Baroda Lalit Mohan Asthana, started its Chief Executive, GCC overseas Operations. journey by 56 opening its first branch way back in 1953 in Mombasa, Kenya. Since then, the Bank has come a long way in expanding its international network to serve NRls/PIOs, Indian Corporates around the world and to meet the banking requirements of the local population in the country of operation. Bank is willing to expand in the Gulf, Canada, Brazil and SAARC nations. Comment on the Middle East market and by extension, the UAE as far as your sector is concerned?  Middle Eastern region is based on hydrocarbon and best known for producing and exporting oil. The oil industry significant impact on the entire region. Most of the countries in the region have undertaken efforts to diversify their economies in recent years; the UAE is one of the greatest examples of that. The UAE economy is growing at a pace of more than 4.5% over a period of the last three years. As far as banks are concern, the UAE banking system remains amply capitalized (capital adequacy ratio of 18.2% percent as of December 2014), and stress tests conducted by the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) show that the domestic banking system could absorb significant capital and liquidity shocks. The UAE has 28 foreign banks with 170 branches/offices and 23 local banks with 1014 branches/offices and Bank of Baroda operates in the UAE, Oman and Bahrain with total branches/ offices network of 21. Banking sector is wellcapitalised and wellregulated. Most of the banks have more than adequate liquidity and are coming up with innovative products in a highly competitive market. Do you think the Expo 2020 has / will have an impact on your business? How? The UAE has strengthened domestic confidence, which is associated with a rebounding real estate market, announcement of some megaprojects after winning the bid for hosting Expo 2020. The UAE economy is diversified and is supported by tourism, hospitality, and real estate, manufacturing, trading and service industries. The UAE is offering various facilities to investors like 0% tax, 100% repatriation of investment and 100% ownership in free zones etc and banks in turns will ultimately benefit by the overall development of the country. Expo 2020 is expected to give a quantum leap to economic activities and banking sector is obviously going to benefit. What competitive edge do you have over your competitors and what are the significant challenges you have faced over the past few years? Indian expatriates of around 2.4 Mn residing in the UAE and involved in various activities like business, professional and service industries. Bank of Baroda is the only Indian bank with the privilege to obtainad licence in the early 1974 to start its operations in the UAE. The bank has emerged as a key market differentiator in the banking landscape of the UAE. It is one of the major connecting forces between the UAE and India in facilitating and promoting the bilateral trade. In fact, Bank of Baroda is acting as a banking bridge and is truly aligned to the economy of these two great nations. However, Bank of Baroda has to make deeper inroads in to the business activities of entrepreneurs of different nationalities. What is your vision for the bank over the next 10 years? Presently, we are the third largest foreign bank in UAE. If our expansion plans fortify in future coupled with our plans to have greater share of business with our existing clientele base and acquisition of clients of different nationalities through cross border business activities, we would like to be the number one foreign bank in the UAE. ◆

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