Page 1



Pioneers in Bollywood Entertainment Zeeshan Sajid Amin – Page 6

Foundation built on trust

Dr. Manoj Sharma – Page 10

© M LINK 2017

Taking the automobile industry by sandstorm Dr. Majida Alazazi – Page 8





BUSIN ESS R EV IEW 2017 PRADEEP K. HANDA Chairman, Royale Hayat




DR. MAJIDA ALAZAZI CEO, Sandstorm Automotive DR. MANOJ SHARMA 10 CEO and MD, Genius Business Consultancy

Editor-in-chief: Humair Siddiqi Contributors: Fatima Abbaas, Anam Salim Photographers: Mansoor Mughal, Noora Saif, Shahbaz Badshah Art Director: Hammad Sheikh


BENOIT HONNART International Director Legendre Group


AMENA BAIG Managing Director, UHRS


B. S. MOTWANI VARSHIK MOTWANI Equinox Global RASHID MOHAMMED Project Manager, Vertex

14 18

FOR KHALEEJ TIMES Editor: Vaman Vassudev Kamat Supplements Editor: Suchitra Steven Samuel Reporters: Farhana Chowdhury, Deepa Narwani, Ishtiaq Ali Mehkri Advertising Director: Mukhtar Qureshi Asst. Ad Manager (Supplements): Bilal Saeed


12 IN ASSOCIATION WITH DISCLAIMER The opinions and views expressed in this publication are not endorsed by the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transferred in any form without a written approval of the publishers. Exemptions are granted for drafts used for the purpose of fair review. The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused.


GULF CEO Business Review 2017


Redefining Hospitality in Hospitals WE MET WITH PRADEEP K. HANDA, CHAIRMAN OF ROYALE HAYAT, A MULTI SPECIALITY HOSPITAL IN KUWAIT THAT INCORPORATES SPECIALIST MEDICAL SERVICES AND LUXURY TO PROVIDE AN EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR THEIR PATIENTS. ROYALE HAYAT HOSPITAL IS SYNONYMOUS WITH LUXURY AND PROVIDING HOSPITALITY TO THEIR PATIENTS. HOW DID YOU RECOGNISE THE REQUIREMENT FOR AN ELITE LUXURY HOSPITAL IN THE MARKET ? Our main purpose was to build a hospital with International Medical Standards, high quality and experienced medical experts. These combined factors provide a unique journey for the patient, therefore we embraced five star luxurious hospitality services within our hospital’s concept. This was to create a one of a kind experience for our patients, so they get a real feel of hospitality. Royale Hayat is where they can experience the quality and the comfort they need with assurance that they are given the best medical treatment. We created a unique concept in the market by providing comfortable and upscale services catered towards mothers, children and all family members, which was followed by expansion into other specialties and departments based on the need of the market. TELL US ABOUT ROYALE HAYAT'S JOURNEY. WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES AND TRIUMPHS OF INTRODUCING A LUXURY HOSPITAL IN THE KUWAITI MARKET? SINCE ITS OPENING WHAT SERVICES HAVE BEEN PROVIDED AND INTRODUCED? Our concept was unique, therefore introducing it was a challenge as many individuals were not conversant with it, especially in relation to the medical sector. We wanted to focus on creating an unforgettable experience for our patients and our goal was to combine International standards with luxury services. We began as a mother and child hospital, as we recognised a need for providing our services to these divisions. We gradually expanded to serve all members of the family. We are famous for our Obstetrics and Gynecology And Pediatrics


strive to be the prime example of combining quality healthcare with luxury. AS A PATIENT, WHAT CAN ONE EXPECT UPON VISITING ROYALE HAYAT ? Our patients will receive international standards of medical care provided by our European, American and Canadian board certified consultants & specialists from different departments. Moreover, our highly qualified nursing department that will be with our patients at every step. In addition to exclusive hospitality services from top notch staff. All these elements combined together give our patients a unique experience in Royale Hayat Hospital.

Departments but within 10 years we have expanded to Family Clinic, Surgery, Internal medicine, Bariatrics, IVF, Radiology, Cosmetics, Pain management, Endoscopy, ENT, Dental , ICU and SCBU. ROYALE HAYAT HAS "REDEFINED HOSPITALITY IN HOSPITALS", COULD YOU ELABORATE ON THIS STATEMENT? For the first time in Kuwait, we have introduced a five star hospitality concept within a hospital. Our hospitality services include the 'welcome and greet' from guest relations personnels, floor coordinators for each floor, event halls for baby receptions which are inclusive of all event services, a luxurious F&B for our inpatients and visitors, in addition to special Butler services for our VIP suites. We were determined to introduce a unique experience for our patients from the minute they enter till check out. COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF ROYALE HAYAT IN THE INDUSTRY OF HEALTHCARE? Royale Hayat was established in 2007, and during our ten years in the Medical Industry we have achieved numerous notable recognition for our services. We were awarded the Best Hospital in Kuwait by Service Hero for continuous six years, from 2010 to 2015. Our Lab has also been CAP Accredited for three years and our Bariatric Center has achieved the


International Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery. These are just few of our accomplishments and recognitions during our ten years of operating in Kuwait. WHAT ARE THE MISSION, GOALS AND VALUES OF ROYALE HAYAT ? Royale Hayat promises to deliver safe, modern and quality medical care and services to society in an environment of compassion, comfort and care. We will achieve this by redefining and setting global benchmarks in hospitality and through providing a culture of continuous learning, innovation and excellence in healthcare. Our Group had a vision to develop a healthcare institute that would blend quality medical care with luxurious hospitality services with a focus on Women & Child Health Services. The Royale Hayat Hospital was established in 2006 and quickly became known as the standard of excellence for women, children and all members of the family healthcare in Kuwait and our aim is to continuously

WHAT ARE THE SPECIALIST SERVICES THAT ROYALE HAYAT OFFERS? WHAT GIVES ROYALE HAYAT THE COMPETITIVE EDGE FROM OTHER HOSPITALS IN THE REGION ? We stand out in the market for our Highly qualified Consultants, medical team and our experienced staff from different departments. Our team constantly preservers to meet and exceed our patients’ expectations. Our specialty is mother and child (Obstetrics & Gynecology and pediatrics) but we specialize also in pain management and endocrinal services. In 2009, given our rapid growth in both medical expertise and customer care, we decided to expand our medical services to include multi-specialties that we felt would best serve our customers and benefit overall health services in Kuwait, such as our new Obesity Surgery Center. In addition, we have our ENT program, which complements our Obesity Program in the treatment of Sleep Apnea. Our emphasis on minimally invasive techniques has led to further development in Laparoscopic Programs, Reproductive Medicine and Pain Management. Our partners in Dental and Cosmetic Surgery have also stepped up their operations in 2011, with large and luxurious facilities and to include many visiting, internationally acclaimed experts. WHAT ARE THE FUTURE GOALS FOR ROYAL HAYAT? IS EXPANSION ON THE CARDS ? We have already expanded and launched our Royale Hayat Clinic in AlMahboula Area in Kuwait; it is a polyclinic that offers cosmetic, dentistry and family clinic services to our patients. We have added services that we think best encompass our customer’s holistic health and we hope to add many more specialties that continually drive our excellence as a luxury healthcare provider. We understand that there is nothing more important than the health and safety of you and your family. That is why we promise to provide you with modern and quality medical services in an environment of compassion, comfort, and care


GULF CEO Business Review 2017



B4U MIDDLE EAST delivers content in line with consumer demands

Pioneers in Bollywood entertainment ZEESHAN SAJID AMIN, BUSINESS HEAD OF B4U MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, TELLS US HOW BOLLYWOOD HAS BECOME A REIGNING SOURCE OF ENTERTAINMENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST. EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW: WHICH KEY ELEMENTS ARE INTRODUCING REFORMS IN THE BROADCASTING AND TELEVISION INDUSTRY? HOW DOES THIS POSE A CHALLENGE FOR MODERN DAY BROADCASTERS? Today’s television experience bears little resemblance to the television our parents or grandparents watched; just as tomorrow’s television experience will look very little like today’s. We are no longer in era where the television networks dictated what, when and how we watched, to a time where consumers are firmly in control. It is no longer only about the brand name of the channel, but the content which is on offer by the channel. Viewers are clear on what they want and when they want it, and if one broadcaster fails to give it to them, they will find a broadcaster that provides them what they want. COMMENT ON THE MENA MARKET AND THEIR VIEWERSHIP TRENDS IN CONTRAST TO OTHER REGIONS. MENA is a unique market when it comes to TV consumption habits. We have 70-80 per cent of the viewership happening through free-to-air channels hence the business model is ad sales driven. Moreover, the average per day viewership in the two most important countries of the region, Egypt and KSA, is almost double than general worldwide standards. Apart from Egypt and KSA, MENA region compromises of four to seven more key markets and this is a unique challenge for broadcasters as planning needs to be done on vast geographies. The fact that planning alone on two countries, KSA and Egypt, having lot of cultural differences, has to be tackled with extreme sensitivities. THE TELEVISION INDUSTRY IS CONSTANTLY GROWING DUE TO CONTEMPORARY SHIFTS IN TRENDS, HOW ARE BROADCASTERS RISING TO THE CHALLENGE? I always say, there are four important R’s of broadcast business — Research, Reach, Ratings and Revenue. The two important “R’s” of business — Revenue and Ratings — will be strictly driven by two important questions:


(a) Are broadcasters showing what consumers want? (b) Are broadcasters communicating that they are showing what consumers want? For instance, when an Indian broadcaster launched a movie channel to customise Bollywood content for Arabs, the idea clicked because it was a consumer demand that was never addressed properly by any broadcaster. Another excellent example of addressing the wants of consumers is the launch of a tier 2 movie channel carrying Arabic movie content by a leading Media Groups. There was a gap in the market for an Arabic movie channel carrying a mix of commercial, short and non-conventional movies. Similarly, B4U Aflam has always been a trendsetter in the way it communicates with consumers about its programming line-up. It was the first channel to advertise on one of the world’s largest LED displays in Jeddah and was the first-ever Pan Arab Bollywood channel to negotiate with top Arabic radio stations in KSA, Alif Alif FM and Mix FM, to play Bollywood songs that were sponsored by us. DO YOU FEEL TRADITIONAL TELEVISION IS NO LONGER DESIRED BY MODERN DAY AUDIENCES DUE TO THE RISE OF THE DIGITAL AGE? I remember couple of years back when digital media was introduced in the region, everyone said that newspapers will die, and with the invention of TV, it was predicted that radio will be obsolete. I believe any matured media platforms; Print, Radio, Outdoor, TV and now Digital will never die – but with time the consumption habits of each media will keep on evolving. For instance, many media plans that happen today include Newspapers to target the key decision makers. This was never

the case couple of years back and the medium was only used to target masses. Moreover, Mobile is the latest key emerging media platform and there are already talks that mobile and social will take over the regular digital media in terms of spends and consumption, which in my experience will never happen. Any new media platform, when launched, eats up from the existing matured platforms and affects their consumption and spends, until the total pie re-adjusts and the new media reaches maturity. Having said that, I believe all broadcasters need to align their strategies with the emerging “second screen concept” in the region, as it will be key to engage audiences and increase time spend. HAVE THERE BEEN ANY SHIFTS IN CONSUMPTION PATTERNS DUE TO EMERGING TRENDS IN BOLLYWOOD? Bollywood is being continuously evolved and with every passing day the penetration of Indian movies is becoming stronger amongst the Arabic audiences. The latest trend is that mega Bollywood movies have started releasing Arabic versions of their best songs to promote themselves among Arabic consumers. The latest one is the song Jabra from Fan and Gerua from Dilwale, which was followed after the successful launch of the Arabic version of Dhoom Machale when Dhoom 3 was released. The fact is that the three Bollywood channels operating in Pan Arab space, carrying customised Bollywood content with aggressive strategies has attracted the attention of masses, and in consumers’ minds Bollywood is now perceived as something “worth watching” and “worth admitting” from being an extreme “taboo” in just couple of years. As per the official research agency today, one-third of the

viewership in amongst the Pan Arab Movie channels is being contributed by Bollywood content. HOW DOES B4U CONSTANTLY REINVENT AND INTRODUCE INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS TO BOOST VIEWERSHIP? We clearly understand that our business will be driven by ability of broadcasters to understand what consumers need and ability to communicate to viewers effectively. Research, innovative marketing and the desire to establish ourselves as one of the strong contender brings out the best in each one of us, which also summarise the 4 R’s of our business — Research,

Reach (Distribution), Revenue and Ratings. COULD YOU COMMENT ON HOW 2017 HAS BEEN IN THE WORLD OF TELEVISION? WHAT DO YOU FORESEE FOR THE NEXT YEAR? I can see that in 2017 and 2018 the expansion of Pay TV will be one of the most exciting things to look at. It will be interesting to see how the existing and new players attract new subscribers. I am expecting the Reach pattern of TV to be changing in next five to seven years in MENA. However, penetration of HD will still take another five years to mature


GULF CEO Business Review 2017



WITH THE SUPPORT of a visionary government, Sandstorm Automotive is all set to introduce the UAE’s very own vehicle brand

Taking the automobile industry by sandstorm DR MAJIDA ALAZAZI IS THE BUSINESS MAVEN BEHIND SANDSTORM AUTOMOTIVE FACTORY, WHICH WILL PRODUCE THE FIRST LOCALLY MANUFACTURED CIVILIAN CAR (4x4) THAT IS LOCATED IN RAHAYEL CITY, ABU DHABI. With an Industrial Engineering degree to her credit, Dr. Majida’s impressive portfolio of endeavours encompasses education, beauty, furnishing, and most recently, automobiles. The multifaceted entrepreneur’s career has spanned over a decade with experiences in various sectors, including healthcare. Through her professional journey, Dr. Majida noticed a lack of understanding and importance of implementing supply chain management in businesses, especially in the industrial sector, which became a catalyst in her pursuit. “I was completing my Master’s Degree at UAEU, after receiving my DBA, Doctorate of Business Administration, during which I was approached to take on the role of Senior Manager in different national factories. My responsibilities included handling the contract logistics, procurement and the warehouse as well. During that time, I discovered that many firms were lacking in their knowledge of supply chain management and made it my goal to find solutions that would enrich the overall industry. To succeed, I believe


we need to address the underlying issues. Supply chain management integration is therefore extremely crucial as it optimises operations to maximise both speed and efficiency. Currently, all operations that should be under one umbrella of supply chain management is fragmented. There should be correlation between departments within a firm to establish smooth supply chain management. My thesis proved that sharing information between departments established cooperation, resulting in profitable turnovers and increased competition power in the market,” she says. Dr. Majida relays that she has been able to embrace various opportunities due to the example being set by the visionary government. As an Abu Dhabi National, she feels strongly about Emiratisation and values the support of the government, which is encouraging towards entrepreneurs and development of niche services. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, has been quoted in a section of the media that around 23,000

Emirati businesswomen run projects worth over Dh50 billion, and occupy 15 per cent of the positions in the boards of chambers of commerce and industry nationwide. Also, according to the recent regulation by the UAE's Securities and Commodities Authority, the requirement is that at least 20 per cent of the board of any listed company should be composed of women, which has empowered and boosted the morale of female leaders and entrepreneurs. Various government bodies, funding institutions and consulting firms have been set up, such as Sheera and the Emirates Foundation, to offer training and support to female entrepreneurs. In addition, the UAE is also ranked first among Arab countries to enable women in leadership and in parliament, according to the Women Studies Centre at the Arab Women Establishment in Paris. With a supportive government to facilitate female leadership, Dr. Majida felt she could pursue her dreams without any hesitation. “When I began my career, I felt it was a challenge especially as a woman to prove myself. However, with a visionary government that is encouraging women to join the workforce, I was confident to succeed. It is important for us to be able to make our mark and not be afraid to overcome obstacles. Stereotypes do exist in society; however, the Government is breaking them by employing women in different sectors, giving us the right opportunities to embrace our strengths. This has been a driving force in my development and conception of Sandstorm Automotive, the first locally manufactured civilian car,” she adds. The government of Abu Dhabi’s announcement of a long-term plan to transform the emirate’s economy, entitled 'Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030', inspired Dr. Majida to collaborate with leading international automotive manufacturers and bring the Sandstorm

project to light. “Through these collaborative partnerships, I’m aiming to achieve a long-standing dream of producing the first locally manufactured civilian car (4x4) off-road in the UAE and in the Middle East by the year 2018. The UAE is at the forefront of innovation and is developing products that are gaining international recognition. With the announcement of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision, I was encouraged to turn my unique concept into a reality. Sandstrom Automotive will fulfil the demand not only regionally, but also appeal to GCC and African markets. It is the opportune moment for us to source local talent and expertise to execute our concepts and add value to our community,” expresses Dr. Majida. Sandstorm will be shifting the UAE market’s gears by being the first local automobile manufacturer with fully customised systems, “The UAE is recognised for its innovation and excellence, and a customised car will add value to our regional and international presence. There is an internal and external demand for the UAE to produce a vehicle that is incomparable to anything released in the market. Most importantly, we are sourcing local expertise and talent to execute our vision, which truly embodies the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. As an Emirati, I believe we should enrich our community and society through our enterprises, and execute our niche concepts. An idea should materialise and not just remain a potential concept. Perseverance is key, and I wish to set an example that you can turn your dreams into a reality through sheer determination and hard work.” Dr. Majida is relentless in pushing the boundaries set by society, by scaling new heights of success with passion fuelling her determination. “If an individual in any position believes they have amassed complete knowledge, that is when you

have started to undermine yourself, as you limit yourself from learning what you have not discovered yet. There is a great deal to be learnt from people who belong to different levels of the corporate and tertiary hierarchy, as their perspective differs from your pre-set notions regarding certain values. Being exposed to different people and their outlook gives you an opportunity to learn and become selective. Being pretentious is toxic, not only as a quality of a person who wishes to succeed in business dynamics, but also in life,” she says. “With Sandstorm, I aim to not only launch a national vehicle for our region, but also set a new benchmark for our market and our society. We are the first civilian factory in the GCC and I am proud to be an Emirati following our great leaders' steps The President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, whose insightful vision and future focus to push the country to assume vanguard and foremost position amongst advanced countries. ‘We don’t accept but the first place’, Sheikh Mohammed had said. This motto encouraged me to create this car and be the first in the region. Our unique selling point is not only that it is a product from the UAE, which is synonymous with excellence, but the vehicle can adapt any system inside it. I have been involved in every aspect of the development intensively — from design to assembling. With our launch expected in 2018, we already have a positive response from Egypt, Africa and Yemen,” she concludes



GULF CEO Business Review 2017



Genius Business Consultancy supports international and local business set-ups through dedication and commitment

Foundation built on trust Enriching Industries with a winning formula of commitment, Manoj Sharma is the maven behind Genius Business Consultancy, the powerhouse organisation facilitating diversified set-ups. Experts in business set-up and advisory services, management consultancy, education consultancy and corporate documents legalisation services, and many more types of consultancies, Genius provides comprehensive, in-house solutions to their clients. Their trusted partners include the RAK International Corporate Centre, Creative City Fujairah, and Distance Education Quality Assurance Commission. Genius Business Consultancy is an ISO 9001-2008 certified company. Excerpts from the interview with Sharma: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE NICHE CONCEPTS THAT HAVE FLOURISHED AND GAINED PROMINENCE OVER THE YEARS? The UAE is a country that is constantly evolving, and the markets within are setting benchmarks globally. Guided by a visionary leader and a government that embraces and promotes innovation, the UAE has become home for many niche concepts. The year 2017 has been the year of businesses, with focus on customer service. With the socio-economic changes within our market, consumers have become extremely informed about standards and trends, therefore, they are very specific


about their requirements and extremely selective. Previously, clients were easily satisfied due to the benchmarks in the market, however with time, standards have risen and so have the conditions set by the client. We operate in a very competitive market, and it is crucial to offer our clients comprehensive services within an economic budget. Genius has stood the test of time due to our ability to adapt to the inevitable changes that take place over the course of time and with our core values guiding us. We have not only made agreements, but have also built relationships with our clients since inception and never compromised on our ethics. Trust is just not a component of our values, but also one of the cores of our foundation, hence our clients always feel secure and supported throughout any shifts in the market and are able to adapt seamlessly. WHAT TRENDS HAVE YOU OBSERVED IN THE MARKET, AND AS A CONSULTANCY, IN 2017? WHAT INDUSTRIES HAVE BECOME MORE LUCRATIVE? Currently, we are thriving in a market, which is overflowing with unique concepts. Ideas have materialised into businesses, and the UAE is a perfect base for entrepreneurs, as it embraces innovation. The UAE has also become a popular region for international companies and entrepreneurs to expand and set up their operations due to many positive factors. When you are based in the UAE, the Asian, Middle Eastern and European markets are easily accessible, therefore, a majority of our clientele is

before the result, there is struggle and many failed attempts that push you towards attaining your goals. Dr. Manoj Sharma, CEO and MD; CAMC Certified Anti Money Laundering Consultant™ from GAFM®; CCO™ Certified Compliance Officer™ from GAFM®; CFC Certified in Financial Crimes™ (Economic Crime and Fraud Prevention)

international, with a small fraction being regional. DO YOU FEEL THAT ENTREPRENEURS ARE DEVELOPING MORE INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS? HOW DOES THIS CHANGE ALIGN WITH THE UAE MARKET? Numerous concepts that address the needs of individuals are becoming popular among the masses, such as home services. We live in a fastpaced society, juggling careers and our personal lives, so making services accessible at home has addressed the needs and requirements of consumers. The competition will only enrich our economy, as it will be the driving force for entrepreneurs and existing businesses to strive to improve themselves. The challenge of new businesses to make their mark will help them rise as they will become more innovative. However, with new businesses, perseverance is key as success is not achieved overnight. HOW HAS GENIUS ENCOURAGED ENTREPRENEURS WITH THEIR UNIQUE CONCEPTS? For Genius, our clients are our priority. We go beyond providing them the set menu of services, and support them through advice and guidance. If our clients are successful, so are we. All our clients have remained on board since they have signed with us, and remained a part of the Genius family. We respect our client's interests; therefore, they trust us. For clients that are new to the market, and are unsure whether their concept

will be successful, we offer complete assistance, from conducting market researches to creating a business plan from their input, and work according to their budget. Once we have prepared a comprehensive report, it is passed down to the best lawyers and accountants for review before the plan can be executed. WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR 2018? WILL THERE BE NEW CONCEPTS INTRODUCED? WHAT CAN WE EXPECT AS CONSUMERS AND ARE THESE CHANGES ALREADY IN MOTION? As we near 2020, our expectations are running high. There will be positive outcomes in terms of businesses. It will not only enrich businesses, but also every industry. There will be a boom in the construction sector, hospitality and tourism, which will in turn boost the requirement for customer service professionals. There will be numerous

agencies set up, and many are already operational, which will supply the manpower to various industries. HOW WILL INCEPTION OF NOUVEAU BUSINESSES/ CONCEPTS ENRICH THE SOCIO AND ECONOMIC GROWTH OF THE UAE? HOW WILL GENIUS SUPPORT THEM IN THEIR ENDEAVOURS? For our clients who are keen to enter the UAE market, we are dedicated to deliver every solution possible to enable them to achieve their goals and reach their full potential within the region. Our hospitality and guidance will never make them feel that they are away from home. It is important and normal to experience challenges on your pathway towards success; it only prepares you and educates you on how you can excel. People only see the success, however

WHAT DOES GENIUS HAVE IN STORE AS WE LOOK AHEAD? In 2016, we expanded our organisation with the addition of Genius Facility Management services, and in 2017, we initiated another company in the U.S. We have also partnered with a law office in Cyprus, and are the associate partners for each other, taking care of our combined clients. Lastly, Genius has exciting new ventures and partnerships in the pipeline, which will further enrich many operations within the region and expand our reach. The chain reaction of tapping into different industries, takes the organisation forward and diversifies our operations. With almost 16 years of experience in the sphere, Sharma has a Doctorate in Business Management (MA, MTA, MBA, MPHIL and PHD) with fellow membership of American Academy of Financial Management, U.S. Besides being proficient in his field of practice, Sharma started his career in the year 2001 and served big business houses in India and MNC banks in Dubai, UAE. He has rich knowledge in the fields of Sales and Marketing Management, Risk and Compliance Management, Customer Service Management, Relationship Management, AML, CDD and KYC specialities


GULF CEO Business Review 2017


Fuelling growth through innovation




OBS AND LEGENDRE GROUP’S JOINT VENTURE MAKES THE COMPANY A GLOBAL PLAYER IN THE TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS SECTOR. The UAE has become a phenomenal logistics hub, and today it is difficult to bypass Dubai, as it is a big trading, logistics and financial destination. Keeping this in mind, the UAE-based OBS Group teamed up with Legendre Group of France, a renowned global player in the transport and logistics sector, last year for a joint venture headquartered in Dubai. From the hub, which operates across the UAE, the Group also handles projects in Saudi Arabia and Oman, as well as in Egypt and Lebanon. Benoit Honnart, International Director at Legendre Group, tells Khaleej Times: “Both OBS and Legendre Group are family businesses and that was one of the primary reasons we’ve decided to enter partnership. The Legendre Group have been operating in the region for nine years through various partnerships, but last year, decided it was the right time to invest and proceed with this joint venture. “We wanted to have a proper set-up in the region and develop our activities, not only in the GCC, but also in some other countries in the Middle East. Wherever we are outside of France and Europe — be it in China, Africa, or Vietnam — we tie up with a local partner and combine our expertise to make it a success. We have had a good start with significant projects in water treatment, green energy sector, street furniture, etc.” One of the Group’s main activities is water treatment, and over the past couple of years the GCC has seen an increase in such projects, Honnart highlights. “We have been working with our partners, for example, in one of the water treatment plants in Fujairah. We are currently working on several new projects including Liwa, Oman and Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia. We have our logistics warehouse in Jebel Ali where we consolidate all our clients’ equipment coming from Europe and Asia and distribute it to the entire region. It could be heavy or small equipment that is prepared


here and shipped to different countries. We also provide equipment for the oil and gas sector,” he adds. Logistics is a competitive field and Honnart explains that the company aims to be better than the rest through constant innovation. In France, for instance, the Legendre Group has a dedicated team of 10 people that specialise in IT systems and create new methods of treating the products. “We want to fight competition through innovation. We are a diversified group that offers services that range from industry to art. We have developed state-of-the-art tracking system and specific systems to optimise warehouse. All these are ways to improve efficiency as well as quality,” he says. FINDING THE NICHE The Group also provides services to the niche sector of fine arts and events logistics. “We feel this niche activity has great potential with big projects such as the Louvre and Guggenheim coming to Abu Dhabi, the Expo 2020 coming, and with Al Serkal Avenue under development, we have increasing demand in this sector,” says Honnart. “We have worked with Design Days last year and we hope to work on the event this year as well on a bigger scale. We have our own teams, who have been trained in handling such material, and we have our own trucks and warehouses, so we are ready to provide a variety of solutions to the market.” The company offers something known as the nail-to-nail where they take paintings, sculptures, etc., and pack, unpack, install it at exhibitions and ship them back to wherever it has to go

TELL US ABOUT THE COMPANY AND ITS JOURNEY TO SUCCESS? Ultimate HR Solutions is a specialized HR service provider that focuses on two main areas – recruitment and outsourcing. Fifteen years down the line, we are proud to say that we have over 2500 active outsourced employees all over the UAE across various clients and industries. Our employees are professionals from over 50 different nationalities and work in over 40 business functions. Due to our client-centric culture, transparent pricing structure, and professionalism, we have achieved a bottom line growth of over 85% in the past five years. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES THE COMPANY HAS ENCOUNTERED SO FAR? The biggest challenge Ultimate HR Solutions encountered was during the 2008 recession. After many years of constant growth, the uncertainty in UAE’s market was visible as the banking industry was severely hit and many HR consultancies went under. Naturally, during a recession, companies start to lay off employees and pause all recruitment. At Ultimate HR Solutions, however, we took this as an opportunity to diversify into other non-banking industries and became more competitive. The recession actually served as a learning experience and has taught us to cope with business fluctuations quickly and efficiently. Even though the economy has slowed down since the last quarter of 2015, we are still on target to achieve a growth of 25% in 2016. BEING AN HR SOLUTIONS FIRM, HOW CAN COMPANIES LIKE YOURS EMPOWER WOMEN FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT? Some of Ultimate HR Solutions’ best employees are women. The only way that women like myself or other female employees at our firm can empower women and commit to their development is by making them realize that their dreams and ambitions can be turned into reality. The notion that a

woman cannot be a successful part of the workforce and a successful mother must be dispelled. By virtue of being a HR company, we are in a very powerful position to inform and educate women – be it during interviews or training programs – about the importance of the woman in the workplace. It is very important that women support each other and provide mentorship whenever possible in order to help women grow in their respective careers. WHAT TREND DO YOU SEE IN THE GCC CORPORATE LANDSCAPE AS FAR AS GENDER PARITY IS CONCERNED? There is an observably upward trend in the GCC corporate landscape regarding gender parity. We have come a very long way. The UAE is a leader in the Arab World in general in terms of female educational and economic empowerment as well as any social or health benefits. There is no doubt that women do still have a long way to go especially in terms of female representation in the workforce. There are more women than men in government educational institutions in most of the Arab world, but we see the opposite in the workforce. This means that women themselves must let go of cultural norms that discourage them from entering the workforce and realize that it is possible to be a successful working mother. DO YOU THINK EMPOWERING WOMEN CAN SUBSEQUENTLY EMPOWER SOCIETIES? HOW? I am a big believer in female empowerment. It has been said that when you educate a man you educate an individual but when you educate a woman you educate an entire nation. This has been said because a woman traditionally raises children. Additional research has shown that the longer a girl stays in school, the healthier children she will have and the higher her family income will eventually be. It is absolutely essential for women to believe in themselves and prioritize education. Education leads them to be self confident and ultimately make the difference they want to see in their societies


GULF CEO Business Review 2017


Equinox Global: Offering comprehensive solutions through sustainable innovations. GROUP DIRECTOR B. S. MOTWANI AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR VARSHIK MOTWANI ARE THE DYNAMIC FATHER AND SON DUO BEHIND THE SUSTAINABLE AND SUCCESSFUL EQUINOX GLOBAL GROUP OF COMPANIES. Initiated in 2011, Equinox had a clear goal and vision of providing the market with superior engineered goods and tailored solutions. Combining decades of specialist experience of Group Director Mr. B. S. Motwani, with a dynamic management which is focused on steering the organization in the pathway of success, Equinox has created a niche market segment of their own by excelling in Application Engineering and supplying new technologies in an Eco-Friendly way. "The journey was challenging as we had to strive to generate volumes, like any new business at its inception. However, our path and direction was clear, and we moved forward with the focus on maintaining our values while maximizing our business. We evaluated our strengths and weakness and focused on improving on them. I believe that no individual can only have strengths, therefore one needs to be true to themselves and evaluate their weaknesses as well in order to work towards solutions. This very principle was applied to Equinox and we constantly reevaluate ourselves. Starting from a team of three individuals and realizing that meeting the demand and supply for all


products globally is an impossible feat. Therefore we focused on the products we can specialize in and merged it with the integral component of service, which the market was failing to provide to clients." Says Mr. B. S. Motwani. For Equinox, their niche is truly their ability to provide guaranteed client satisfaction, "One crucial element which is our constant focus is providing relentless customer service. There is an undying array of products

WE HAVE BEEN “GREEN” SINCE BEFORE IT WAS COOL. available in the market, however what is lacking is the knowledge and skill in selecting and suggesting the right product. By virtue of us being engineers, we provide specialist services which are technology oriented, which has given us the edge to delve into industries of Oil and Gas, Marine, Building Construction, Fabrication and Construction, Defense, Ship

Chandling, Marine Services, Ports and Jetties Sectors. We also have an edge as our team has been in the industry and the market for over three decades, and having passed through cycles to know what the customer requires. Our team are not the average employees, but have the skills of an independent Entrepreneur who can solve problems and give the best solutions to our clients. Our team of professionals are an extension of our brand, therefore they are trained intensively to work towards the goals of our firm and always provide excellent customer service" comments the Group Director. Equinox prides itself on providing the right product from the right source, with a diverse range of products and services. They offer engineered tailor made solutions for numerous industries such as Machine Tool and Fabrication Industry, which includes servicing of Metal Working Machines, Shot Blasting Machines and Painting Booths, Scaffolding Manufacturing Machines, Power Presses, Sheet Metal Working range and Material Handling Products. Distributors of finished products and consumables like Oil Absorbents and Oil Spill Response Kits, Hoses, Valves, Gaskets, Chain Pulley Blocks, Hoists,

Welding Equipment, High Pressure Washers, LV and MV Circuit Breakers, Earthing materials, Electrical Accessories. Products for the Oil and Gas industry such as Breather Valves, Safety Valves, Incinerators, Furnaces and Furnace Accessories. Over time, Equinox has diversified into various other sectors to be able to serve their customers better and now are one of the leading suppliers of Office Supplies, IT Products, Basic Life Support Services & Equipments and General Consumables among the products, services and technologies that they deal in. "Why should the client pay you if he can source it directly? Unless you add value or are able to give him a solution that he is unable to source, your service is not of merit. You need a knowledgeable person to scrutinize, select and segregate with a commitment that comes with a specific time" explains Mr. Varshik Motwani, Executive Director. With their diverse activities in numerous industries, foraying into the events sector was an organic step for the multi specialist firm. "We started as a small office in Ajman and realized to centralize, Dubai would be ideal. Now operating here we are trying to balance our roles and our organization to focus on the needs of the market. Events are one such element we have launched this year in January

says the Executive Director. "We acquired a company with 12 years in the market with the focus on projects that are related to Expo 2020. Our aim is to specialize into more niche and corporate oriented events which are not typical small scale or run off the mill. Given our background and expertise, we know the requirements of corporates and multinational firms, which typical event companies could not apprehend. Our back end team for purchasing, sourcing and procurement come into play for clients who want specialist services. The bigger picture is we plan on strengthening ourselves as a team for the next few years and then hopefully do something for Expo 2020." Adds Mr. Varshik Motwani. Sustainability has been a driving force for Equinox since inception. "Eco-Friendly and Green products are a primary focus of our group, because we do concept selling, we predicted that in the next few years this will become a need of the market. Innovative and sustainable products are seldom and therefore we have identified that there is a requirement for such products. The ease and ability is not there in the market hence that is a gap in the supply chain we are fulfilling. Our goals are numerous but a sustainable growth is a definitive standout. We have been “Green” since before it was cool.” says Mr. Varshik Motwani. Equinox believes that challenging themselves and expanding their horizons are crucial steps towards the future. "Operations are in many places as people are on the field from our organization. Diversification is another goal of Equinox, we will be looking at increasing our volume and growing out of the niche engineered equipment suppliers we used to be by exploring other arenas," adds Mr. B. S. Motwani. "Expo 2020 has given a lot of vibration in the market, with prospects of business opportunities, and growth for the market. The vision of the U.A.E Leaders to bring Expo to Dubai, which has a population of 10 Million, with an expected 35 Million visitors, is a huge milestone. The Leaders have bought this vision and given private entrepreneurs the opportunity to benefit and grow. As a firm we resonate with the goals of Expo 2020, to offer innovative solutions to our clients, and provide eco-friendly and sustainable solutions" concludes Mr. B. S. Motwani


GULF CEO Business Review 2017



Vertex: Dependable, leading, efficient. PROJECT MANAGER MR. RASHID MOHAMMED GIVES US AN INSIGHT INTO THE FORMATION OF VERTEX METAL CONSTRUCTION AND HOW THEIR CORE VALUES OF COMMITMENT, QUALITY AND EFFICIENCY HAS MADE THEM ONE OF THE TOP METAL CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES IN THE U.A.E. Vertex Metal Construction has cemented their status as one of the most prominent mechanical engineering and metal fabrication companies in the U.A.E. "Our firm is the sister concern of a parent company, Vertex Engineering, which specializes in Structural Steel. Our niche is decorative items which are installed in five star hotels, showrooms, shopping malls, high rise buildings and airports. We aim on providing quality in all our divisions" says Project Manager, Rashid Mohammad. Vertex Metal Construction are specialists in providing the finest metal fabrication solutions in terms of designs and manufacturing to their clients. With a team of reputed engineers who have 34 years of expertise, Vertex aims to provide client satisfaction. "My beginnings were at Vertex Engineering, which ignited my passion to develop Vertex Metal Construction. Since it was a family business, I learnt tremendously during my time at Vertex Engineering" comments Mr.Mohammad. "When I graduated in 2006, we opened our own shop, during that period I managed the marketing and started taking on projects through sub conracts to raise the capital to build Vertex Metal Construction. In 2006 there were only three employees, myself included. Now our man power has grown along with the project proposals we receive" says Mr Mohammad. However for the Project Manager, the Metal Construction industry was unknown, but promising. "We ventured into an uncharted territory with decorative steel. However due to the consumer demand for it, we were positive of the success it would have within this region," explains Mr.Mohammad. "

We faced initial challenges, as it was a relatively new industry to delve into, but we persevered with creating a focus on decorative steel through marketing strategies and registered with ISO and OHSAS which gave us reputability. Within a period of three years we started receiving proposals and helmed projects for major clients" he comments. Vertex holds a prominence in the industry due to their excellence and dedication. They offer various services, which includes maintenance to ensure durability and uninterrupted operations. "We offer maintenance services to the top universities in Abu Dhabi, top hotels, malls and other prestigious properties. Our aim is to provide solutions consistently to our clients. Receiving their positive testimonials is a driving force for us, as our priority is client satisfaction" explains the Project Manager. Other projects for Vertex include construction of fuel diesel tanks specialised for technical and industrial services, fabrication and erection of heavy steel structure, metal works for sign boards e.g. Abu Dhabi International Airport sign Supports, sheds, warehouses to name a few. "We undertake all and any types of metal fabrication work, there are no restrictions in any aspects" says Mr. Mohammed. Due to the range and expertise of being able to undertake all projects related to metal fabrication, Vertex has build a reputable clientele of corporations with oil companies, International main contractors, Facilities Management. "In 2008 we received one of our major projects which was through a subcontract, during that period we started the process of registering with ISO and OHSAS. Once we were certified, the projects started pouring in and we reached our milestone with our first big 7 digit contract with a reputed construction conglomerate which paved the way for many of our other projects. Vertex aims to diversify their range by exploring different materials and challenge their capabilities constantly. "We



started to experiment with brass, which was challenging due to its properties of atmospheric reactions and after a few months of understanding this metal we succeeded" explains Mr. Mohammad. Vertex never compromises on quality as they are committed to delivering the best solutions to their clients. "At Vertex we believe strongly in the deliverance of quality in all aspects. We value the time and trust of our clients and ensure that all projects are completed within the period that has been promised. Our commitment is projected in our work and a lot of our new clients approach Vertex due to referrals. Therefore 'trust' and 'honesty' are the core values we have been built on" says the Project Manager. Due to working successfully as a team, Vertex has acquired commendable success "Ten years ago, I asked myself where I would stand, and now we have developed Vertex Metal Construction, in the next ten years I want to see us grow as a team, as my team in the foundation of our firm and has been the

key to our success," Another component that has added to their success is their competitive edge. "The process of how we work is simple. We give our clients competitive prices without any sort of compromise in quality and at the moment we are targeting major projects as a turn keeper," explains Mr. Rashid. Vertex aims to constantly strive to challenge themselves and make their mark in the Metal Construction Industry. "In terms of diversification we have started another trading unit related to the construction industry, as we are passionate about it. Our major operations are happening through Vertex Metal Construction at the moment" he says. "We ensure that the direct contractor and owner of the project have a clear understanding of all the aspects. We get an approval from them on everything before proceeding and this applies to all the projects we undertake. Our core values are of honesty, quality and commitment and our work is product of that" comments the Project Manager.

The future for Vertex is strong, as they aim to expand into the GCC. "We have initiated our operations in Qatar presently and are working on project for Kuwait from our head office in Abu Dhabi. We aim to expand to these regions fully as they hold a lot of opportunities and scope for growth, especially for the metal construction industry" says Mr. Mohammad. "The Middle East is a great platform for us and our expansion is slowly, yet surely moving ahead. We have a range of projects under our belt at the moment, which we are optimistic about" he adds. Vertex aims to surpass their capabilities by taking on new challenges in the future and grow further within the Metal industry



Fast forward your career with International Qualifications

MBA & PG Diploma Courses Specializing in

International Business Supply Chain Management & Logistics Finance International Marketing Human Resources Big Data Analytics Project Management

Flexible Learning Onsite / Online / Weekend / Evening The perfect “Work-Study-Life� programs for working executives

Industry Expert Tutors Globally Recognized Programs

Affordable fees with easy installments schemes

Multicultural Peer Group

Real Life Case Study & Assignments

Enquire and Enrol:

Call: +971 50 6545234 Email:

Gulf CEO 2017