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ceos ETISALAT About Mohammad Omran Omran leads Etisalat, which is now one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world with a market value of approximately $25 billion. Under Omran’s leadership, revenues increased at a compound annual growth rate of 24 per cent between 2005 and 2009 to reach Dhs30.8 billion. Net profits increased by 20 per cent in the same period. Through Omran’s strategy which is based on deploying international best practice, thorough market analysis and selecting opportunities based on stringent criteria, the number of Etisalat’s customers increased from only four million in 2004 to 107 million customers in Q1 2010 across 18 markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Mohammad Omran The chairman of UAE telecommunications company, Etisalat, says social networking will become the norm for work decision making.


he telecommunications sectors are developing at a relentless pace. Competing for market share, delivering innovative solutions and keeping pace with technology were just some challenges that faced the telecom industry in the past couple of years. As global markets evolve, converge and grow, there is a need for operators to be constantly updated with capabilities and talents in order to keep pace. Etisalat excelled in its operations and has continued to spend where needed, whether it is on infrastructure such as the fiber optic network, which will be accomplished in UAE in 2011 making Abu Dhabi the first city in the world be fully connected by this network, or in maintaining the quality of services and networks upgrades. In a world where seamless connectivity will be far more

important in the future, whether between people or machines, we hope to position Etisalat to profit from rising demand for machine-tomachine connectivity. The internet will become much more about

creating on-the-move avenues for easy access to e-mail and business applications; on the other, the same proliferation and growing reliance on mobility is creating higher stress for the CIOs who have an additional task of integrating and controlling mobility to obtain optimum workforce efficiency. This is where organisations need to collaborate with solution partners, such as Etisalat, who understand every component of the mobility ecosystem. In addition, the trend of social networks will spread further in the workplace. As the lines

Growing reliance on mobility is creating higher stress for the CIOs who have the task of integrating efficiency. connectivity for the customer, whether it is customers with networks, or machines. There are now more machines than people and this will be a major area of future growth in the telecom market. Mobility solutions have created a paradigm shift in the way businesses are conducted in the region. While, on the one hand, proliferation of mobile devices are helping to liberate the workforce by

between professional and personal communications become increasingly blurred, the industry will need to incorporate enterprise social networking into their overall unified communications and strategy. Enterprise-grade versions of Facebook, Twitter and Wikis in the workplace will begin to be as common as e-mail and will change the way business is conducted. As a result, the decisionmaking process will be accelerated. n December 2010 gulfbusiness

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ceos Mashreqbank


t’s important to state that 2010 is the year where the banking industry has settled, after two years of trying to emerge from the financial crisis. Now, we can say that the market is stable and there is no fluctuation. The UAE banking industry has been through the worst and it’s recovering now, slow but steadily. In the region, the crisis has been dealt with very cautiously to limit damages and operate at the same time. Financial institutions now are more vigilant and decisions to lend are led by a concrete business plan. Lending never stopped in such a tough environment, however, it has slowed down because certain measures are taken before such a decision is made. We have observed how banks are focusing on risk management now more than ever, as it is the backbone of any business. Seizing of opportunities with no planning is a trend that has changed as well, forcing companies to analyse and identify the consequences towards their performance. In the past, we have noticed the lack of planning across various organisations and how it has impacted their business. It’s imperative for every organisation to acquire a solid plan with detailed processes on how its goals will be accomplished. This year was also a year of steady jobs in the banking industry, where

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair The chairman of Mashreqbank says better risk management will lead to growth and diversification in the industry. There will be more focus on customer retention, while developing attractive products that accommodate customer requirements and market conditions. In today’s volatile and uncertain markets, where the crisis is redefining the industry and its competitive environment, banks need

In the past, we have noticed the lack of planning across various organisations and how it has impacted their business. previously shift of jobs used to vary between 20 per cent, however, the scene has changed with the financial crisis taking place. Shifting of jobs in the industry plays a major role in effecting a business and customer relations. We anticipate 2011 to be a year of further growth and diversifying of investments and stable revenue streams. Small and medium business will be an attractive segment for banks to extend their facilities to.

to concentrate on managing their capitalization and liquidity, realigning their strategies and business models, focusing on innovative solutions; and managing increased regulations. As a national financial institution, we are committed to UAE’s economic growth and we are strongly moving towards our expansion strategy in the UAE and the region. Mashreq continues to develop innovative and convenient products based on

customer requirements and offer unmatched services to maintain our leading position in the banking industry. In spite of the difficult global financial environment, we continue to grow and invest in strategic projects. Over the years we have succeeded in launching innovative products and services in order to offer convenience to customers. In line with our strategy to be a regional financial institution, we are exploring opportunities to tap into new markets and complement our network of branches and representative offices around the world. Today, we are present in Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Hong Kong, India, Bangladesh, USA, Pakistan, Sudan and United Kingdom. In the UAE, we have 54 branches and 242 ATM’s and we look forward to further expand in 2011. Our primary goal is to offer a comprehensive banking experience, whether it’s offering products or customer service. n December 2010 gulfbusiness

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Samer Majali CEO of Bahrain-government owned airline Gulf Air says there will be turbulent times ahead for the industry, with brighter skies to come.


omeone once said the only way to make a million dollars in the airline business was to start with a billion; somewhat ironic considering that the aviation industry is the greatest catalyst of the global economy, driving more than a trillion dollars in economic activity. The problem facing airlines is their susceptibility to external factors; no industry in the world can be more volatile than the aviation industry. If 2009 mauled the industry with economic recession, 2010 punished it with rising fuel prices. Yet commercial aviation has demonstrated resilience in the past and will continue to do so in the future. This year is a perfect example; despite difficult operating conditions, the industry is set to return to the ’black’ this year, expecting to post an estimated $8.9 billion in profit and

record 11 per cent growth. Leading this growth is the Middle East which set for a 15.2 per cent increase this year. This remarkable progress is driven by the region’s oil wealth, its unique geographical position making it a

they compete aggressively for the same traffic. How does Gulf Air position itself in this scenario? We have a clear mandate from the airline’s ownership – to make Gulf Air a commercially sustainable business that adds value to the kingdom and people of Bahrain. Therefore, in 2010 Gulf Air launched a new strategy to achieve this: our vision – to create a commercially sustainable business through identifying niche markets, where we could exploit a leadership position while raising the levels of product and service delivery to higher quality and greater consistency. For the first time in the region, we introduced regional jets to connect underserved and niche markets. We opened 11 new destinations, 10 of which are within the MENA region. We brought in 12 new aircraft and phased out 12 older aircraft, reducing the average age of our fleet to just 6.8 years. Financially, our costs have come down and losses have reduced while our load factors and punctuality have improved significantly. Our ultimate goal is to continue to improve our customer travel experience with superior and more consistent products as we continue implementing our strategy through 2011. Though our strategy has seen us stay on in the right track during 2010, we are approaching 2011 with

I believe that, despite all the positive signals, full recovery in the industry will not come until after 2014. transit hub between the East and the West, improved airplane and airport capabilities and the owner countries ambitious growth and investment plans. Despite all the positive investment, operating in the region is far from easy. Planned aircraft purchases of $200 billion over the next decade will flood the market with over-capacity, resulting in the more generouslyfunded carriers subsidising fares as

cautious optimism. We will continue to maintain our leadership position in the ME region, but will also connect the region with the key financial capitals of the world. Coming back to my 2011 predictions for the industry in general, I believe that despite all the positive signals, full recovery will not come until after 2014. But 2014 is not far off and I am optimistic that the coming years will be bullish. Maybe investing a billion may be a wise idea now! n December 2010 gulfbusiness

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11/29/10 9:46:38 AM

ceos shuaa capital


he closing months of the year look to be bringing some relief to the financial services industry and we will enter 2011 with cautious optimism. Without question, 2010 had a profound impact on our industry. We have seen many of our smaller competitors fall away and industry consolidation increase. In brokerage, we have seen a reduction of the number of securities firms by a third to around 70 and predict this will continue into 2011. For larger players such as Shuaa, this consolidation, along with flight to quality, will benefit our business and help increase our market share. The financial crisis has forced leadership teams to reassess their strategy and to refocus on core strengths. This has also been the case at Shuaa, where we spent the last 12 months rebuilding the business and implementing a more focused fee-based strategy, developing our management, governance, internal processes and systems and positioning ourselves for the eventual recovery. We went into 2010 with over 100 business improvement projects, of which two thirds have already been delivered and are now part of ‘business as usual’. As a result, we have become more efficient and better-positioned to compete across our core markets.

Sameer Al Ansari CEO of investment firm Shuaa Capital says the Dubai World restructure will usher in a more positive financial year in 2011. launch of a number of important transactions. Dubai’s successful sovereign bond launch reassured markets that Dubai was over its credit difficulties. This was followed by several successful key Dubai

Firms have been strengthening their finances, improving working capital and reducing balance sheet liabilities. Many companies have been strengthening their financial position, improving working capital, tightening costs and reducing balance sheet liabilities. This has been a major focus for Shuaa and we leave 2010 with a much stronger balance sheet and more focused business than when we entered it. Since September, we have seen a pick-up in market sentiment with trading volumes increasing and the


corporate bond offerings, a clear testament to the positive sentiment that Dubai is receiving from regional and international investors. Additionally, we saw a number of IPO launches across the Gulf, including Axiom Telecom, the first in the UAE for over two years. Shuaa has been working on several IPOs which are to launch shortly and expect defensive sectors, including consumer and food products, as well as healthcare, to

emerge with the first IPOs in 2011. Acquisitions have been few and far between in recent years as buyers and sellers have remained resolutely far apart on price. This looks to be changing slowly as asset valuations fall and financing for good transactions in certain sectors becomes available. Organic growth has been hampered by reduced access to capital and we expect sources of bank funding to remain tight into 2011. Although there are signs of a shift back into equities, investors remain primarily interested in lower risk fixed income products. Since I joined Shuaa Capital just over a year ago, I have led a major change programme. We also have a strong view that the GCC region, and the UAE in particular with strong fundamentals, will be clear winners in the medium to long-term. n

gulfbusiness December 2010

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ceos difca


ver the course of 2010 we have seen an important shift in sentiment towards the economic climate of the GCC. This time last year we were facing significant challenges, with regional economic confidence at possibly its lowest point since the invasion of Kuwait in 1991. However, decades of careful planning, investment and guidance by our governments have ensured that the long-term fundamentals of our economies are strong, resilient and capable of withstanding the worst economic crisis the world has faced since 1929. Dubai International Financial Centre was established with the aim of being a leading international financial centre, serving not just Dubai and the UAE, but the entire region. Since its inception in 2004, DIFC has become recognised as the gateway connecting the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region and the world. Today, DIFC, with its modern infrastructure, free zone status and self-governing laws and courts, is the pre-eminent and favoured financial centre in the region. These facets have enabled DIFC to continue to make a major contribution to the UAE’s economy throughout the global economic crisis. Despite the testing times, DIFC now comprises of 760 active registered companies, with 299 regulated and 384 non-regulated

Abdulla M. Al Awar The CEO of Dubai International Financial Centre Authority is hopeful for a shift in confidence going into 2011. growth of our clients as it is this which determines our success. By working closely with our clients we are able to tailor DIFC to their specific needs, allowing them to use

Equity markets are picking up as liquidity eases and firms are looking to deploy dry powder, this will inject life into the economy. companies and 77 retailers. We are able to count 16 of the world’s top 20 banks, 14 of the world’s 20 largest asset managers and four of the world’s five largest insurers as members of our community. We at DIFC are committed to supporting and encouraging the

DIFC to grow their businesses and be as competitive as possible. Perhaps the most significant case of working with our clients was in the first half of 2010 when DIFC’s senior management, in consultation with its clients, completed a comprehensive strategic review

and analysis of the core business proposition. This included extensive analysis and benchmarking of costs. Accordingly, DIFC is currently reducing the cost of doing business from the centre and will enhance its client services. As we look to 2011, we can expect the region to continue on its path to recovery. I firmly believe the worst is behind us. Equity and debt markets are picking up as liquidity eases and firms are looking to deploy dry powder, this will inject life into the wider economy. DIFC will continue to work closely with its clients throughout 2011 as we strive towards developing not just our own businesses, but also the region’s. n December 2010 gulfbusiness

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Dave Lesar The chairman, president and CEO of Halliburton predicts growth for the energy sector in 2011, particularly for unconventional resources.


alliburton and other integrated energy services companies provide the well construction and reservoir evaluation services our customers need to create producing oil and gas fields. We go where the work is – wherever national oil companies, international oil companies and independents are exploring and developing fields. We have more than 55,000 employees working in more than 70 countries; managing that vast infrastructure so we have the right technology, equipment and expertise where our customers need it most is one of our greatest challenges. Being in the right place at the right time demands close cooperation with our customers so we can anticipate their needs, and it demands flexibility and quick responses, because even slight

changes in the relative demand make us redeploy assets. The most important phenomenon shaping the energy business in 2011 and beyond is the dramatic rise of unconventional resources,

undercapitalised from an equipment standpoint. As unconventional projects take shape, we will be investing in equipment to meet that demand. Our global infrastructure and technological leadership in horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing will make this a major opportunity for Halliburton in the coming year. Overall, growth in the Eastern Hemisphere has been uneven since the 2009 trough – five countries represent 70 per cent of the rig count increase. We expect growth to become more evenly distributed throughout the hemisphere as the global economic recovery develops during 2011, and we expect global energy demand in 2012 to exceed the peak of the fourth quarter of 2007. In North America, the primary fact is relatively stable prices for oil, but soft prices for natural gas. This is causing operators to invest more heavily in oil and liquids-rich plays, causing us to position our resources in those basins. Weak natural gas fundamentals will likely restrain dry gas directed drilling and completions next year. However, we believe strongly in the long-term prospects for the North American gas market, and we are working with our customers to create new business models that will keep the rigs working in those basins even if short-term gas

Unconventionals depend on horizontal drilling and completions technology – both areas of strength for Halliburton. especially shale gas. Unconventionals depend on horizontal drilling and sophisticated multi-stage fracturing and completions technology – both areas of strength for Halliburton. These advanced technologies are also finding increasing application in conventional oil developments; this will be positive for our future business and for energy supply. Across the Eastern Hemisphere, unconventional basins are

fundamentals decline. We anticipate 2011 will be a year of solid if not spectacular growth in the energy industry and for Halliburton. Most importantly, the fundamental trends in energy demand, combined with our constantly improving technical ability to develop oil and gas resources, point to a continued strong demand for our services around the world. n December 2010 gulfbusiness

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Gulf Business December 2010 | CEO Letter  

Gulf Business December 2010 | CEO Letter