Wharton MENA Conference 2015

From MENA to the World

Saturday, March 21, 2015 - Wharton Campus


Joe Saddi

Joe Saddi

Senior Partner and Chairman, Middle East
Strategy&, formerly Booz & Company

Joe Saddi is a Senior Partner and Chairman of Strategy&’s Middle East business. He has over 25 years of consulting experience in strategic, organizational, and restructuring services.

Over the years, he ‎has led major privatization programs in such sectors as oil and gas, mining, steel and electricity; advised Middle East governments on sector ‎deregulation and sector policy; and led the reorganization of national oil companies and large corporations. He also works closely with large family-owned ‎companies to help design governance and portfolio strategies.

Mr. Saddi holds an MBA from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from ESSEC in France.

Mohammed Abdul Aziz Alshaya

Mohammed Abdul Aziz Alshaya

Executive Chairman
M.H. Alshaya Co.

Mohammed Alshaya is Executive Chairman of the Alshaya Group, a family business founded in Kuwait in 1890, and has played an integral part in the development of the company. He was appointed CEO in 1990 and Executive Chairman in 2007. He holds positions on a variety of boards: he is a member of the Supreme Council of Planning and Development and the Supreme Council of Education for the State of Kuwait; a member of the Board of Trustees of the Arab Thought Foundation. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and is a member of the Wharton Board of Overseers. He is also an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of his services in developing British-Arab business and in December 2013, was invited by The Mayor of London to join the International Business Advisory Council. He is chairman of Mabanee Company SAK and he is a member of the Foreign Direct Investment Council of Turkey.

Alshaya is recognised as one of the most dynamic trading businesses in the Middle East, and increasingly internationally, employing over 44,000 people and operating across the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, Turkey and Europe. With interests in real estate, hotels and hospitality, entertainment & leisure, automotive, manufacturing and general trading, Alshaya partners with some of the world’s leading brands including Starwood, Mazda and Michelin. Through its retail division, Alshaya is a leading international retail franchise operator for over 70 of the world’s most recognised brands including Mothercare, H&M, Debenhams, Victoria’s Secret, Harvey Nichols, Boots, Starbucks, The Cheesecake Factory and Pottery Barn. The company operates 2,800 stores across 7 divisions: Fashion & Footwear, Food, Health & Beauty, Optics, Pharmacy, Home Furnishings and Leisure & Entertainment. Alshaya is also a major shareholder in Mabanee Company SAK, the development company behind Kuwait’s leading mall, The Avenues.

Dr. Saad Al Barrak

Dr. Saad Al Barrak

Former CEO, Zain Group
Founder and Chairman, ILA Group

Saad Al Barrak is a distinguished engineer and businessman. CEO of the Zain Group from 2002 until his resignation in February 2010, Al Barrak in seven years transformed a moribund, state-controlled telecoms operator (known then as MTC) with 500,000 customers in Kuwait into the international giant Zain, a company that reached over 72 million customers across 23 countries. Over the same period, revenues leapt from $570 million to $8 billion, while the company’s market capitalization went from $2.5 billion to peak at $32 billion, creating enormous wealth for many stakeholders. Al Barrak also masterminded the creation of the Zain brand, which two years after its launch in 2007 was valued at $2.9 billion, the 2nd most valuable brand in the region.

Al Barrak has received many distinguished leadership awards throughout his professional career: in 2009, he was ranked the 20th most influential telecoms executive worldwide by Global Telecoms Business Magazine. His entrepreneurial taste for risk and his understanding of emerging markets led Zain to expand rapidly across the Middle East and in a single breath-taking and multi-billion dollar takeover to expand into sub-Saharan Africa, where other CEOs were afraid to invest.

At the end of 2010, Al Barrak founded “ILA”, an advisory firm capitalizing on the emerging opportunities arising from the convergence between IT and telecoms.

Al Barrak earned a double major in Electrical Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Ohio; he undertook Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development (PMD) in 1999; and completed his PhD in IS/IT Management from the University of London in 2001.

Shehab Mohamed Gargash

Shehab Mohamed Gargash

Founder and Managing Director
Daman Investments

Shehab Gargash is the founder and Managing Director of Daman, a non-bank financial services company based in his home town of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Established in 1998, Daman Securities began as a small brokerage company with a conviction that the financial services industry in the UAE will inevitably evolve and prosper in the Emirates, one of the Middle East’s most dynamic economies. The Company expanded and reorganized in 2006 as Daman Investments, a private joint stock company, offering brokerage, asset management, venture capital and advisory services throughout the GCC and the broader region. Today, Daman is considered one of the most respected private sector companies in its field and has returned an impressive 35% annualized IRR to its original group of investors in its first 15 years.

Prior to establishing Daman, Mr. Gargash enjoyed a successful 12-year banking career in the UAE, initially with Citibank and later on with Emirates Bank International (now Emirates NBD).

Mr. Gargash serves as a Director on several regional boards. Mr. Gargash is Vice-Chairman of Burj Bank in Pakistan. He also serves as a Board Member of the Commercial Bank of Dubai in the UAE. Mr. Gargash is a member at the Coutts & Co. Middle East Advisory Board and is a Board Member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Awqaf & Minors Affairs Foundation.

Mr. Gargash is a member of Dubai’s Gargash family, one of the leading business families in the UAE actively in business since 1918 with multiple interests including real estate, investments and automobiles. In this capacity, Mr. Gargash enjoys executive as well as supervisory roles at Gargash Enterprises. As the General Distributor for Mercedes Benz in Dubai and the Northern Emirates since 1957, the Gargash name has inevitably become synonymous with the Mercedes-Benz brand in Dubai.

Mr. Gargash is a frequent public speaker and a commentator on regional socio-economic issues and trends. He wrote a popular daily column in the UAE’s Al Ittihad and Al Bayan newspapers from 1997 to 2008. Mr. Gargash is also an enthusiastic art collector and has established the Daman Middle East Art Fund which invests in Middle Eastern contemporary art and supports regional artists.

Born in 1966, Mr. Gargash is married with four children. He holds an MBA and a BBA, both from the George Washington University in Washington, DC, USA.