- BBC Television Presenter, and Chairman,
Andrew Neil is a newspaper editor, publisher, broadcaster and business consultant on media matters working out of London, New York, Edinburgh and France. A veteran television presenter, he has fronted both The Daily Politics show on BBC Two, and This Week on BBC One since January 2003. His varied career has included stints as a political advisor, as UK editor of The Economist, editor of The Sunday Times, executive chairman of Sky Television, executive editor of Fox Television News of America and an anchorman on British political television. Neil remains chief executive of The Spectator and chairman of ITP Group, the publisher of Arabian Business. A Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Neil has honorary degrees from Napier University in Edinburgh, and the University of Paisley. In the autumn of 1999 he was elected Lord Rector of the University of St Andrews, UK, which is recognised as one of the world’s oldest and most distinguished universities. On stepping down from that post in the autumn of 2002 he was made a Doctor of Laws by the university.
- Former chief economist, DIFC, and former Minister of Economy and Trade, and Minister of Industry of Lebanon
Dr. Nasser H. Saidi is the former Chief Economist and Head of External Relations of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Executive Director of the Hawkamah-Institute for Corporate Governance and The Mudara Institute of Directors at the DIFC between 2006 and 2012.
In these capacities he conceived and developed the role of the Chief Economist of the DIFC providing strategy & advice to the DIFC and Dubai Government; acted as spokesperson & developed a series of broadly disseminated publications, and promoted the DIFC internationally. He established and developed the external relations of the DIFC with international financial institutions (IMF, OECD, IFC, World Bank, MIGA) and international financial centres. Dr. Saidi designed and set-up DIFCSTAT, a secure, inter-active, on-line, web-based, registration, reporting and statistical system for DIFC entities. As founder and Executive Director of Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, he developed the regional institute to bridge the corporate governance gap through advisory services, research and advocacy.
Dr. Saidi is a member of the IMF’s Regional Advisory Group for MENA and Co-Chair of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) MENA Corporate Governance Working Group. He is a member of the Private Sector Advisory Group of the Global Corporate Governance Forum, an institution of the World Bank driving global corporate governance reforms. He is also Chair of the regional Clean Energy Business Council.
In 2012, he was named among the 50 most influential Arabs in the World by The Middle East magazine, for the fourth consecutive year.
Dr. Saidi was the Minister of Economy and Trade and Minister of Industry of Lebanon between 1998 and 2000. He was the first Vice-Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon for two successive mandates, 1993-1998 and 1998-2003. He was a Member of the UN Committee for Development Policy (UNCDP) for two mandates over the period 2000-2006, a position to which he was appointed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his personal capacity.
He has written a number of books and numerous publications addressing macroeconomic, capital market development and international economic issues in Lebanon and the region and is the author of, “Corporate Governance in the MENA countries: Improving Transparency & Disclosure”. His research interests include macroeconomics, financial market development, payment systems and international economic policy, and information and communication technology (ICT).
Dr. Saidi was a private banker and served as an economic adviser and director to a number of central banks and financial institutions in Arab countries, Europe and Central and Latin America. Prior to his public career, Dr. Nasser pursued a career as an academic, serving as a Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics in the University of Chicago, the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales (Geneva, CH), and the Université de Genève. He also served as a lecturer at the American University of Beirut and the Université St. Joseph in Beirut.
Dr. Saidi holds a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester in the U.S.A, a M.Sc. from University College, London University and a B.A. from the American University of Beirut.
- Head of Research, Jones Land LaSalle
Plumb has over 20 years experience providing clients with quality advice on real estate market conditions in the UK, Asia Pacific and Middle East. With a background in urban economics and spatial planning, he has particular expertise in the areas of property market research, development consultancy, transport related infrastructure projects and corporate real estate. Since moving to the UAE in 2006, Plumb has authored over 30 articles / research reports on different aspects of the MENA real estate market. He has also provided market research and consulting services to major investor, developer and government clients and has appeared as an independent real estate expert before the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC). Plumb holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Geography from Lancaster University and an M.Phil in Environmental Planning from Reading University (UK).
- Managing Director, McDonald’s Middle East Development Company
Abdulghani is the managing director of Middle East Development Company (MMEDC), a wholly owned subsidiary of McDonald’s Corporation, based in Dubai. Abdulghani started his career with McDonald's in Bahrain in 1994 as a managing partner before moving to McDonald's Corporation in late 2000. In January 2001, he took on the position of deputy managing director in McDonald's Egypt, where he was in charge of restaurant operations and development. After his success in growing McDonald's business in Egypt, Abdulghani was offered the position of managing director in Malaysia in 2004, where he played an influential role in building the brand and growing the business in Malaysia. Two years later, he returned as a managing director for McDonald's regional office in Dubai, where his office is responsible for all McDonald's operations in the Middle East and Africa, and provides support to McDonald's master franchisees in 17 different markets in the region. Born and raised in Bahrain, Abdulghani holds a Bachelor's degree in Architectural Engineering from the United Sates, and a Master's degree in Surveying Engineering & Digital Mapping from France.
- Co-Founder, Insight with Passion
Woman of Inspiration, Innovation, Influence & Outstanding Business – the force that is Kate Hardcastle has been crowned them all. The TV business & retail commentator is in high demand and is creating an exciting new format for business, community & beyond. As the co-founder of the business transformation organisation, Insight with Passion, Hardcastle has satisfied clients around the globe, all able to visulaise a strong & positive future thanks to working with her team. Hardcastle lives life to the full, with passion & drive – and as well as her array of accolades for business success, she is also non-exec director for the Bradford Bulls (the only woman in SuperLeague) & the Tesco Enterprising Mum of the Year, 2013. Hardcastle's heart and soul is to ensure the opportunities for future generations – and Kate is founder of the Positive Image campaign, a campaign to inspire confidence. She speaks all over the world on best business practice & inspiration as a keynote alongside prolific other speakers including Bill Clinton. Hardcastle is the founder of the charity Dreamgirls – an organisation raising awareness for lesser known/supported charities & has encouraged many of the local community into volunteering. She is a regular commentator across all TV channels – and has presented a variety well received documentaries on business and retail.
- Chief Executive Officer, Better Homes
Mahoney is CEO of Better Homes. He is responsible for the overall corporate strategy and planned growth of the Better Homes brand worldwide. Mahoney joined Better Homes in 1999, and began to streamline the processes that drive sales, leasing and property management. Mahoney honed in on technological innovation as a key driver for the brand’s success. He introduced the region’s first real estate technology, Masterkey to manage the company’s CRM, inventory transactions and referrals. This focus on technology has made Better Homes a leader in online property services in the UAE, and enabled buyers and renters globally to connect to the Dubai property market.
Mahoney became CEO of Better Homes in 2005. His aim was to continue the growth that his mother Linda Mahoney, Managing Director of Better Homes, had achieved since 1986, building the business from a one-woman operation into a leading Dubai agency. As CEO, Mahoney has steered a family-owned business into a leading full service property agency, a regional and international property player. Mahoney demonstrates a progressive leadership style, and continues to embrace market-leading technology and tools. He was the force behind the Better Homes customer ratings tool for agents, a world first for an agency. Reviews are user-generated by previous clients and are accessible on the Better Homes website, demonstrating leadership in ethical business.
Over the last 10 years Ryan has also played a key role in co-founding and seed funding a number of successful businesses in Dubai. Mahoney was born in Canada and moved to Dubai when he was 8. He grew up in Dubai before the property boom, and has seen the evolution of the Dubai from sea side town into an international hub of business and investment. Having lived in the UAE 30 years, and speaking fluent English and Khaleeji Arabic,
- Managing Director, iProspect
Fredrik Schauman is managing director of iProspect, Middle East and North Africa; a global digital performance agency that is Google’s biggest client in the world with an advertising spend of 1.2 Billion USD. It has over 50 offices across the world and provides the biggest brands with digital marketing strategies that maximise ROI through SEO, display media, PPC, mobile marketing and attribution modelling. Prior to iProspect, Schauman was chief operating officer at BPG which was part of the WPP network and back in his homeland of Finland, group COO of TBWA Helsinki. He also managed two local search companies that hosted over 50,000 websites with 1.5 million unique visitors per month. As such Schauman has a very strong track record in marketing, sales, organisational change and operational efficiency. In addition to his executive experience, Schauman has worked as a management consultant involved in four intensive “turn-around projects” acting as an interim CEO to either upsize, downsize or re-structure the respective companies.
- PARTNER, Latham & Watkins LLP
Andrew Tarbuck is a capital markets, regulatory, restructuring and M&A partner based in the Dubai office of Latham & Watkins LLP. Mr. Tarbuck specialises in both the transactional and regulatory aspects of capital markets, as well as all of the elements of corporate finance, including flotations and secondary equity fundraisings for listed companies. In the 2013 Chambers Global legal guide, Mr. Tarbuck is recognised as a Leading Lawyer for Capital Markets: Equity and sources quote that he “gives really high-quality advice [and they are] very impressed with him." In addition, he is praised for his "knowledge of the local regulatory regime and good understanding of local practices.“ Mr. Tarbuck was also ranked in The Legal 500 EMEA for corporate and M&A transactions and is described as a “strong capital markets partner.” Mr. Tarbuck is a member of the NASDAQ Dubai Practitioners’ Committee and Chairman of the Regulatory Committee of the Middle East Investor Relations Society. In 2013, he advised Asiacell on its US$1.3 billion IPO and listing on the Iraq Stock Exchange (the largest IPO in the Middle East since 2008), Doha Bank on its US$425 million rights issue and Ooredoo on the establishment of its 144A GMTN programme and US$2 billion of issuances.
- general manager, independent finance
Sam Wani is currently running Independent Finance, the largest mortgage brokerage in UAE. Recently established in November 2006, Independent Finance
takes pride in providing mortgage facilities accessible to first home buyers, investment home buyers, professional borrowers and self employed borrowers.
Before joining Independent Finance, Wani worked as a business developement director at John Charcol Middle East. Prior to that he worked as a mortgage advisor in the United Kingdom with leading networks like the Tenet Group and Zurich Finance Services. Wani holds an MBA from Leicester Business School in the United Kingdom.
- managing director, cb richard ellis middle east
Nick Maclean joined St Quintin as a graduate in 1987 and following qualification specialised in providing local real estate taxation, landlord and tenant and valuation advice. Maclean was appointed head of the firm’s professional services department in 1995 and made partner in 1996. Following St Quintin’s merger with Insignia Richard Ellis, he became head of the rating and taxation department and a member of the city business team management board. In 2001 he left the City of London Office to take up an international role within the firm, concentrating on the development and expansion of cross border European valuation advisory services. In 2004 he was appointed managing director of CB Richard Ellis Middle East and he and his family relocated to live in Dubai. He is leading the firm’s initiative to grow the company operations in the Middle East, and its integration with the remainder of the group’s network. Maclean is a pension trustee and was chairman of the employees forum and sits on numerous in-house committees. He travels extensively and manages international assignments for a number of prominent real estate investors and occupiers. He is the firm’s client relationship manager for HSBC and is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Institute of Rating, Revenue and Valuation (IRRV).